I learned the basics of pottery some thirty years ago and took it up again more seriously ten years ago, having studied with Su Rogers in Guildford. I am now based in York.
I specialise in stoneware slab work and, more recently, coiling. I use a Potterycrafts own recipe, which contains a red clay from Derbyshire and buff fireclays from Shropshire.
My earlier work was functional as well as, hopefully, aesthetically interesting. For example in 2014 I created a series of fruit trays.
Other functional work included slab-built vases:
In 2016 I developed a series of curved platters with a square base, exhibited at the Christmas show of the Kunsthuis Gallery.
In my 2015 work (for example the pieces that were shown at the Kunsthuis Gallery in November and December 2015) I started a trend that was to continue – displaying the work as duos and trios and becoming more interesting in the relationship between pieces.
From 2017 onwards, I have turned to the ancient skill of coiling. Trios of tall vessels were exhibited at the annual ceramics exhibition of the Kunsthuis Gallery in 2017 and in October 2018 were shown at the Craft Potters’ Association ceramics fair in the Hospiteum, Museum Gardens, York. In September 2019 my work was shown at the Morten Gallery, Bridlington. I have been accepted for the Hepworth Wakefield‘s Ceramics Fair later in 2020, and currently online.
Inspired by the still life painting of Bologna-born artist Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), these sculptural pieces are designed to be displayed together. Despite their identical and very basic beginnings – essentially a pinch pot – each takes on a life of its own and thus has a unique form. They look similar but they are not – as in a family.
Planning the layout of my Craft Potters’ Association display in Tim Pearce‘s studio in Warthill, North Yorkshire:
Each vessel, around 33 cms high, is finished with coloured slip in a narrow pallet of tones: grey, charcoal, cream and spice. These are pared-down forms, possibly reflecting the human body, although they are not age or gender-specific: they expand from a narrow base and back into a waist before moving out again and then back to a small opening, finished at an angle of about 15 degrees. The interiors of the vessels are in a contrasting tone of slip; I regard the interiors as almost as important as the exteriors.
A recent development has been to make similarly coiled vessels but in strata of four different clays (white, black smooth, black textured and a throwing clay that gives a spice colour when fired. This is technically challenging as each clay has a slightly different shrinkage rate. The photo on the Home page shows the result – the clay takes on the look of natural cork.
My latest pieces, developed in the ‘lockdown’ of 2020 are also coiled, but are rounded vessels, made with inserts of different clays, to show landscapes.
A video of this work is on the Home page. I work on a number of pieces at a time, adding one or two coils every few days. This method means that the developing piece can settle and firm, allowing for its form to be shaped in a controlled way. It also means that the pieces take a long time to come to fruition – typically around six weeks from start to finish when they are fired at 1220 degrees Centigrade. Usually I make about twenty-five pieces a year.
All proceeds from sales of my work go to IDAS, the North Yorkshire charity that supports those affected by domestic violence.