Hilary Simms

British ceramics Raku art

Hilary Simms, a talented ceramic artist, recently joined the ICAS Vilas Art Gallery in the UK, showcasing her stunning pieces inspired by British sculptors like Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Her love for art began during a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where she was captivated by the tactile qualities of the sculptures.

Hilary’s passion for ceramic art led her to specialise in raku pottery, a traditional Japanese technique that originated in the late sixteenth century. This technique involves creating small-scale vessels for the Tea Ceremony, which reflects an enlightened life as the process of creating a piece goes through the firing process derived from the earth.

Creating raku pottery involves all four elements – earth, fire, water, and air. Water is used during the forming process to keep the clay damp, and after firing, the piece cools in the air. The firing process involves:

  • Heating the pieces at high temperatures.
  • Quickly remove them from the kiln.
  • Placing them in a container filled with combustible materials.

The rapid cooling of the piece in this container results in unique and unpredictable patterns on the surface, making each piece one-of-a-kind.

Hilary’s raku sculpture inspiration is from the beauty of the nautilus, a pelagic marine mollusc of the cephalopod family Nautilidae. The nautilus has a spiral shell with intricate patterns, and Hilary has captured this beauty in her ceramic art. Her sculptures are visually stunning and have a tactile quality that draws the viewer in, inviting them to touch and explore the piece.

Hilary’s ceramic sculptural art featured at the ICAS Vilas Art Gallery, UK, is an exciting development for ceramic art lovers. Her raku pottery reflects a deep understanding of the traditional technique while incorporating her unique style and inspiration from British sculptors. Her art will surely captivate and inspire anyone who enjoys experiencing it.


artist-hilary simms









“Each raku sculpture produced in her studios will evoke an emotional response from the viewer”.

ICAS art gallery 2020



Raku is a pottery technique that has its origins in 16th-century Japan. The firing process of “Raku” ware was first developed by Chojiro, founder of the Raku dynasty’s first generation, in the 16th century.
The Chojiro’s tea bowls produced using the Raku firing technique were brought to the attention of Emperor Hideyoshi. The Emperor was very impressed with the unpretentious and aesthetically pleasing tea bowls. As a result, the Emperor bestowed, in memory of Chojiro, a gold seal that bore the emblem symbolising “Raku” on Chojiro’s son Jokei.
“Raku” comes from the ideograph engraved on that gold seal. “Raku”, when freely and loosely translated, can mean joy, enjoyment, pleasure, comfort, happiness, or contentment. The word “Raku” thereby became Chojiro’s family name/title.


2011 Visiting artist at Harrogate Ladies College, demonstrating hand building and naked raku firing to GCSE students. Showed my Nautilus Collection at Open Up Sheffield, The Art Market Holmfirth, Art in Clay Hatfield House Hertfordshire, Art in the Pen Skipton, and The Huddersfield Art Gallery.

2010 Showed my Nautilus Collection of hand-built naked raku-fired ceramics at the Art Market in Holmfirth, Chatsworth Country Fair, and Simply Christmas Harrogate.

2009 An opportunity arose to take an 18-month residency at The Sculpture Lounge, where I have full-time studio space to develop my professional practice further.

2007 Showed my Volcanic Ceramics for Open Up Sheffield.

2005 I Set up my first studio to develop and pursue my professional practice as a full-time ceramicist.

1996 Several years of experience in an industrial ceramics workshop with our family-run business, trading throughout Europe.

1995-2009 Taught hand-built ceramics at a primary school part-time.

1990 Craft fairs in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire selling hand-built ceramics.

1988 Barnsley Art College for a part-time ceramics course.




For all private or corporate commissions by our gallery artists, please contact
Sunil Vilas. Call us
ICAS Vilas Art Gallery, 8,10 leys Avenue, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire SG6 3EU, United Kingdom (UK) - Phone: 01462677455 Email: info@vilasart.co.uk URL: https://www.vilasart.co.uk/


ICAS – VILAS FINE ART British ceramic Raku sculpture Collection From The Studios of HILARY SIMMS


  2014 Royal Society of British Artists exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, from 5th- 15th March
    Spring exhibition at Iona House Gallery, Oxford, from 8th March- the end of April
    BCTF 2014 Harrogate April 6th-8th
    Handmade in Britain, Chelsea Old Town Hall 9th-11th May
    Chelsea Flower Show from 19th-24th May
    Art Market, Holmfirth 29th June
    Art In Clay Hatfield House 4th-6th July
    Art in Action 17th-20th July
    Potfest in the Park 25th-27th July
    Art in the Pens, Skipton 16th-17th August
    Art Unequalled, Ely, Cambs  22nd-23rd October
    Art in Clay, Farnham 15th-16th November
  2013 BCTF 2013 April 7th-9th
    Potfest in the Peak 10th-12th May
    Sculpt Gallery Solo Show 18th May-30th June
    Craft and Design experience Henly on Thames 21st-23rd June.
    Art Market Holmfirth 30th June
    Art in Clay Hatfield House 5th-7th July
    Art in Action 18th-21st July
    Potfest in the Park Penrith 26th-28th July
    “Northern Sole” Solo Ceramics Showcase, Craft and Design Centre, City Art Gallery, Leeds. 1st August-26th October
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park Made Exhibition September – October
    Make It Up North-York 4th – 6th October.
    Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition at The Mall Galleries, London – 16th-27th October
    Art in Clay Farnham 16th-17th November
    RHS Wisley 27th November-1st December
  2012 The Sculpt Gallery, Tiptree, Essex 26th February-25th March
    British Craft Trade Fair, Harrogate 15th-17th April
    Sculpt Gallery “Woman Past and Present” in May
    Artspace, Barn Galleries, Henley on the Thames, 11th-27th May
    Mill Bridge Gallery, Tatham, Lancaster, in June
    Art Market, Holmfirth 24th June
    Art in Clay 6th- 8th July
    Art in Action Market, 19th – 22nd July
  2011 Open Up Sheffield May 7th-8th
    The Art Market, Holmfirth 5th June
    Art in Clay, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, 5th, 6th, and 7th August.
    Art in the Pen, Skipton, 13th and 14th August.
    The Art Market, Holmfirth 13th November.
    Huddersfield Art Gallery for The Art Market From December to January.
  2010 The Art Markets in Holmfirth, Chatsworth Country Fair, and Simply Christmas in Harrogate.
  2009 The Art Markets in Holmfirth.
  2008 Open Up Sheffield and The Art Market in Holmfirth.
  2007 Cooper Gallery in Barnsley for Open Up Sheffield.
  1993 Solo exhibitions at The Piece Hall Gallery in Halifax and Huddersfield Art Gallery.
  1992 Batley Art Gallery is a joint exhibition with Anthea Helliwell.

ICAS Vilas Art Gallery, 8,10 leys Avenue, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire SG6 3EU, United Kingdom (UK) - Phone: 01462677455 Email: info@vilasart.co.uk