Pottery has always been a passion of mine, but it was only in early 2015, after a period of work related stress, that I decided to follow this path. There are challenges in my making that have shaped the way I work. Each pot travels almost 9 miles to the kiln, nestled securely in a bed of wood shavings. This has led to me once firing my work, glazing green ware to minimise trips to the kiln and reducing my carbon footprint. In an attempt to further reduce my carbon footprint I have chosen to fire my work to earthenware temperatures. As my work is purely decorative this lower temperature has no impact on the functionality of my work.
My studio is my small, spare bedroom, with all of my clay, glazes, and packaging tucked neatly in whatever gap I can find. This lack of space means that making my own glazes is not possible. So again I sought to find a way to create something unique, working within the bounds placed on me by lack of space. I started experimenting with bought glazes, mixing and layering to create glazes that are memorable and unique.
I've spent a lot of time visiting Cornwall over the last eleven years. It's the Cornish beaches, with all of their variety, that inspired my rock pools. My favourite beaches are Porthluney Cove and Kynance Cove. In fact the stones I use to create the textures come from the Cornish beaches I've visited.
Every piece is unique, due to the way I make them. With the rock pools, the clay is marbled together, meaning no two ever have the same exact colouring or pattern in the clay. The texture is created using various stones, applied at random, to create the spontaneous freedom of nature. The placement of the barnacles is informed by the shape and texture of the bowl. The glaze, though I can choose the order of layers, will make its own choice as to where to flow depending on the shape of the bowl, it’s placement, and the temperature of the kiln. My textured vessels have their texture applied using the same stones as the rock pools. However this texture is applied in a methodical manner, using only one or two stones per vessel, bridging the gap between the free spontaneity of nature, and the controlled expression of humanity. The patterns created are further enhanced by barrel firing, or occasionally glazing.
My potters stamp is a skull and crossbones. Having worked in a laboratory for over eight years, I saw the symbol every day. It was this job that led to a period of work related stress, causing me to re-evaluate my life and to seek the solutions to any problems that lay in the way of becoming a potter. As I was also inspired by the rugged Cornish coast, an area rife with stories of pirates, to create my pottery rock pools, a skull and crossbones pottery mark seemed an appropriate way to celebrate the beginning of a new career and the inspiration for it.