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!