I make earthy, elemental ceramics influenced by landscape, nature, history and the clay itself. A blue summer sky will manifest in a glaze, a nature observation or a folk tale in a decoration, a historic pot in the shape of a piece. My pieces are often partially glazed to allow the clay to 'speak', they are tactile and decorative.
I love the limitless possibilities of clay and the way it can take many forms. I make my pottery mostly by hand building, rather than working on a wheel, and I feel a connection to all the potters who've gone before me. I hope my love for the craft comes through in them.
This exhibition will include a range of work I've made over the past few years. My vases, bottles and bowls are, on the whole, created by the slow process of hand building, usually coiling or pinching, which results in rounded, natural, organic forms. I decorate my work very simply with incised decoration, wax resist, partial or full glazing, and burnishing or distressing the clay. Colour and decoration are hugely influenced by the natural world, and I love the clays and glazes to speak for themselves in the finished pieces.
When I make a piece I want it to be picked up and experienced through touch as well as sight (though maybe this year only looking will be allowed, for safety’s sake!). I don’t make my pots to be fragile things in a glass case, but to be on display in a home. I like to think a pot is never happier than when it’s used to display a bunch of wildflowers or autumn seed heads, or used to hold favourite jewellery on a bedroom table.
This is my first year taking part in Artweeks and I'm delighted to be exhibiting ceramics at Liz Gascoigne's beautiful Clumps Orchard Studio in Little Wittenham.
I love the limitless possibilities of clay and the way it can take many forms. I make most of my pottery by hand building, rather than working on a wheel.
Maybe it’s working with such an earthy medium that I feel a connection to all the potters who've gone before me. I feel it stretch back to the long dead potters whose potsherds I dug up when on archaeological digs (there is no thrill quite as great as finding an ancient fingerprint when you brush away the earth!) and to those whose work, from the medieval to the modern, I’ve seen in museums and galleries. I realise now I soaked up such a lot through looking which now comes out in my making.
It took me quite a while to get back to making ceramics after the initial experience in the school art room. In the meantime, I never stopped making things; knitting, stitching, drawing, but never considered myself an artist. Then one day, around six years ago, I thought “if not now, then when?!” This realisation coincided with that year’s Artweeks, I found a brilliant pottery teacher via her Artweeks exhibition and I’ve been going to classes ever since. I can’t imagine a life without clay now! I’ve learned a huge amount in the past few years and I still feel like a real novice, but I love my involvement in a craft which is so wide ranging and exciting with ever more to learn.
When I’m not at my day job I work from my “studio” - which is actually my commandeered dining room. Last year we installed my kiln (it has its own little silver shed outside) which means I can now fire my work at home too. My dining room studio is a small space, but being able to make pieces at home is brilliant, I have a view of our tree surrounded garden and it’s often an inspiration to me.
Ceramics making allows me to express my creativity in a way that suits me - I work in an organic way, with very sketchy sketches and minimal plans. I’ll have an idea in mind, and go with the flow and see what appears – this can lead to some great pieces (and also, I admit, some which go straight into the clay reclaim bin!). I didn’t ever think I’d be where I am now as a maker, and look forward to growing as a potter over the years to come. I hope my love for the craft comes through in my ceramics.