OCG Personal Statement
I first handled clay at an evening class in my first year of teaching and have been making pots off and on over the years ever since. I have taught hand building techniques with children and teachers. My ceramics throughout those years were mostly thrown on a wheel. On retiring I decided I wanted to explore the possibilities of hand building using stoneware clay. My constructions are mostly non -functional and often asymmetrical. There is a range of architectural bottle pots and flasks, though I am not sure when a bottle pot becomes a flask.
Having made a number of ship pots I have developed the theme further with hull shapes, some small enough to sit in the palm of your hand and all featuring brightly underglazed abstract superstructures. The most recent sit on top of compatible slab built pedestals.
I am also making a limited number of raku fired pots. The colour palette is similar but the effects of the firing are different, often bold and always exciting.
I exhibit during Oxfordshire Art Week and I am also a member of West Ox Arts.
I throw and turn my vessels on the wheel in my garden studio in Oxford. I use porcelain for its unique combination of delicacy and strength, and the wonderfully pure surface it provides for a glaze. My work is both functional and decorative; the bowls, cups, vases and jugs are thrown thinly and are often inspired by classic oriental ceramics, but they have a contemporary feel of their own. I hope they celebrate the subtle beauty in simplicity, elegance and harmony. I would like them to be a joyful communication between the maker and the user, who will enjoy the attention to every detail.
I relish exploring a palette of serene glaze colours and textures, a variety of surfaces to complement the simplicity of the forms. This is always an ongoing process; the thrill of experiment and discovery I find one of the most rewarding things in making.
Iain produces functional stoneware, most as one-off bespoke pieces. Iain throws stoneware pots with shino, celadon or ash-based glazes encouraging unpredictable surface colour influenced by the clay body and the firing techniques. Varying the clays and the glaze application methods constantly produce different and pleasing pastel tones with a satin-matte finish. Earth tones, satin sheens and texture from the clay body are qualities Iain enjoys in his pots.
Iain’s ceramic journey has evolved towards reduction firings with wood and or gas. His self-built gas downdraft kiln has enabled greater understanding of reduction firing schedules, process, and how this approach influences glazed ceramics. Firing with the Oxford University anagama project has furthered this understanding and he has progressed to leading firing teams. Recent work includes faceted bottles, shino glazes, ash and titanium glazes and iron slip textured forms.
I have been an animal artist for most of my life and have always had a great passion for animals and wildlife. I generally work from photographs and am often out and about in the countryside with my camera.
My sculptured pieces are all individually hand made from stoneware clay, each piece is unique. I like to add wood and metal to create a large exciting sculptural piece, I have recently taken up the exciting firing technique of “Raku” which I find can enhance my animal sculptures.
I am a full member of the Oxfordshire Craft Guild, The Wildlife Art Society International, where I exhibit regularly and have won awards. I also exhibit at the Woodbine Art Gallery, Middleton Cheney and the Dolphin Gallery, Wantage.
I teach a verity of ceramic workshops at my garden studio in King’s Sutton. Oxon.
I first became interested in ceramics after watching black and white footage of Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach wood firing a climbing kiln and started making pots at school in Barnes under a Korean potter named Yap then continued making mainly functional stoneware for several years.I have recently returned to ceramics after many years as a photographer. Becoming involved with the Oxford Anagama project and having a pot fired in the kiln in Wytham Woods rekindled my passion. I live in Cumnor near Oxford, England and work from my studio at home.
My current work is focused on the naked Raku process, so called because the pots do not have any glaze. After throwing and turning, the pots are hand burnished then bisque fired. A layer of slip and glaze is applied and then re-fired. When the pots are taken out of the kiln and immersed in sawdust the thermal shock makes the slip/glaze layer crack allowing carbon in through the cracks. This creates the crackle pattern on the surface of the pot.
I am working in raku and stoneware, using similar forms in both mediums. I love the bright colours of the raku glazes and the more subdued tones of stoneware glazes.
I started doing pottery seriously after retiring early from teaching. All of my pieces are thrown on the wheel and are designed to be both artistic and functional. Stoneware clay is ideal for such pieces as it is not only robust but lends itself to the subtle colours which I find aesthetically appealing.
My work is often inspired by vessels I have seen, some of them quite ancient ones in museums. Other shapes emerge in a more spontaneous interaction between wheel, hands and clay. People often comment on the quietness and “Japanese” feel of my work–something which perhaps comes from growing up in northern California next to the sea.
Recently I have enjoyed the challenge of making quite large plates and bowls and experimenting with imbedding a very thin strand of copper wire in a volcanic glaze. During firing the copper wire, though only about a millimetre in diameter, melts creating a rather dramatic band of black tinged with green and grey.
I regularly take part in Oxfordshire Artweeks and in Oxfordshire Craft Guild exhibitions. My work has been shown in various galleries including the Wiseman Gallery, Oxford; Bell Fine Art, Winchester; SOTA Gallery, Witney; and Junction Art, Woodstock. Visitors are always welcome at my home studio in Oxford.
I have a mechanical engineering degree from Belgium with a Masters in Thermal Power from Cranfield, UK. This helps me understand the combustion processes in the Raku firing, enabling me to finely tune the combustion process to repeatedly achieve good results. I also teach ceramics at the European School, Culham near Abingdon.
The age range for children is from 6 to 15 year old as well as evening classes for parents.
I started my artist career at Bradford College of Art, where I studies as an interior designer prior to starting work as such for Samuel Smiths Brewery in Tadcaster. After a spell of destroying the character of a multitude of pubs and clubs in the north of England I returned to University at Bretton Hall to retrain as a teacher. Then on to work as a full time potter. My ceramics are as varied as the British climate – work being both sculptural and functional, life size to miniature, raku to high-fired porcelain.
Being not only a pyromaniac but also a bit of a magpie, I often incorporate found objects in the sculpture – from ash from Mount St Helens in a glaze to stones washed up on the beach, each one telling its own story
I trained as a draughtswoman but my interest in potting started when i attended evening classes. After a while I enrolled on a morning class at Aylesbury College, eventually going on a Teacher’s Training course which enabled me to take evening classes. During this period I was also making pottery and selling it at craft shows including the Saturday Craft Market at the Old Fire Station in Oxford.
In 1984 I purchased a small shop in Buckingham and because I was making dragons and castles at the time called it the Dragon Gallery. I now make mostly decorative pottery which I throw in my studio at home. I then take the pots to the shop and decorate them while talking to the customers. I enjoy this method of working. I use an Earthstone Clay which I decorate at the green-ware stage with under-glaze colours.
I studied ceramics at Bournemouth before setting up my first workshop near Banbury in 1970. The present workshop was opened in 1999 after a break of nineteen years.
I throw using a blend of Etruria marl and Staffordshire fireclays from Valentines, and decorate when the pots are ‘leatherhard’. At college I fell in love with earthenware, especially slipware, and have always used slips for decoration. (Slips are runny clays, some coloured with metal oxides.) Leaves are a favourite motif, varied and beautiful, and emblematic of the cycle of life itself. I press them onto daubs of slip applied to the damp pots. A layer of black, white or blue slip is brushed over, covering the leaves. Strokes of contrasting slips may be added, before the leaves are carefully removed using a cocktail stick and tweezers!
This rather tricky technique produces both a print and a masked image at the same time. Sgraffito is another technique I use, on the fish dishes, for example. After bisque firing, the work is clear glazed and fired to 1100ºC in an electric kiln. I feel that the potter still has a place in the modern world as a producer of items that everyone can enjoy in their everyday lives. To this end I am always exploring fresh ideas for unusual, beautifully useable pots!