filthy trash 2020

about the project

Filthy Trash, nine dirty jokes

The collection was exhibited in 2021 at Shandy Hall, Laurence Sterne’s house in Coxwold, Yorkshire.( ). It was a project to make a collection of Staffordshire figure-type sculptural ceramics that together depict scenes, characters and ideas found in the 1759 novel ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ by Laurence Sterne.

Initial research for this project took the form of a trip to the Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent, which showcased a breathtaking array of Staffordshire figures of every imaginable kind.   I took the opportunity to closely study the finely painted motifs and decorations on Staffordshire wares.  I found a strong link with the equivalent pottery of the Netherlands of the same time period known as Delftware. (there is also a very fine example of a Delftware painted Bull at Shandy Hall). 

I  visited the Kunstmuseum at the Hague in January 2020 to see the Lavino collection of Delftware on display there.  I  was completely charmed by the lost 17th and 18th century world depicted with such humour, brio and skill on pieces in this collection, such as figures on horseback, urns in the shape of elegant ladies, inebriated men astride barrels, parrots, sheep, boys riding fish, tureens in the shape of melons, grapes, hares, eels and innumerable scenes of Dutch life painted on plates, plaques, vases and so on.  I got the feeling of being transported back through time exactly as I had when I read the 1759 novel ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’.  

This expression of lively, irreverent humour typical of Delftware helped me find a way in to the notoriously hard to interpret 'shaggy dog' novel that is 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy'. I decided to depict nine jokes found in the novel (to reflect the structure of the nine volumes published originally), and to focus on the dirty jokes, or innuendo, that Sterne was so fond of including. The nine jokes I chose were all recreated in three dimensions in the form of Staffordshire figure type ceramic sculptures. Please refer to my film on Youtube to find out more details of the filthy jokes!

To supplement these works I also made a collection of nine chamber pots that featured an enlarged version of Laurence Sterne's own nose, taken from the bust of the author sculpted by Nollekens and housed at Shandy Hall. This magnificent nose was also reproduced fifty times as an object in its own right, and presented in a gift box together with a large handkerchief, the box emblazoned with an apposite quote from the final section of the novel: 'blow your noses - cleanse your emunctories - sneeze, my good people! - God bless you.'

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A preoccupation with linking the European ceramic and decorative art styles of the past with the present day is very much in evidence with Katrin Moye’s ceramic practice. References to Georgian and Baroque interior design, Dutch still life and vernacular painting, Italian Majolica and European Delftware can all be detected in her work.  Wheel-thrown multi part compositions, triple handled baluster jugs, fluted candlesticks and hand-built lidded flower bricks are exquisitely hand painted with coloured slips and underglazes.  These traditional materials and techniques make her feel connected to the long and distinguished line of European makers of decorated earthenware that stretches back hundreds of years. 

Katrin's creative output is very much animated by her education in History of Art and English Literature. Her pieces effortlessly marry the two subjects together with humour, joy and great sensitivity.


A preoccupation with linking bygone European ceramics and decorative art styles with the present day is distinctly evident in Katrin’s ceramic practice. References to Georgian and baroque interior design, Dutch still life and vernacular painting, Italian majolica and European delftware are all revealed in her work.

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