Welcome - This is a Social Enterprise Business It aims to help potters and ceramic artists to become better known, to sell their work, to fill their courses and to provide a window into this fantastic world of 3D art!

New Members

Work for Sale

Ceramics by Jane Wheeler at Studiopottery.co.uk

Jane Wheeler

Ceramics by Philip N Wilks at Studiopottery.co.uk

Philip N Wilks

Upcoming events

Trelissick Christmas Craft Market at Trelissick Garden 15th - 17th December 2017
Janet Halligan - Christmas Sale at Old School, The (Nantwich) 16th - 17th December 2017 Janet Halligan - pre-Christmas clear out sale of old stock at greatly reduced prices
Emily-Kriste Wilcox in London at Contemporary Ceramics Centre 1st January to 1st April, 2018 New work from Emily-Kriste Wilcox for the show at Great Russell Street in London

Recently added Courses

Animal Sculpting With Celia Allen - 8th - 10th September 2017
Learn how to sculpt animals of various forms, with a possible Raku firing day to finish
Hand Building & Smoke Firing Course at the Moulin with Frances Marr - 11th - 17th June 2017
Over the the course of the week we will explore smoke-firing techniques resulting from the interaction of clay and fire. 
Residential Pottery Courses in France with Sylph Baier - 14th May to 14th October, 2017
It is mainly throwing based and would suit students with some throwing experience but other techniques can also be covered as well as glazing and firing in electric and gas reduction kiln
CHILDREN'S SUMMER POTTERY WEEK in East Sussex - 7th - 10th August 2017
Have fun and get messy discovering a variety of hand building, throwing and decorating techniques!

Nick Rees – 40 Years at Muchelney Pottery: 8 September 2012 to 10 October 2012

 

Celebrating 40 Years as a Potter – Nick Rees’ Solo Exhibition in the John Leach Gallery at Muchelney Pottery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone who’s ever tried throwing a pot by hand on a wheel will know how incredibly difficult it is to control that spinning lump of wet clay. Imagine then the challenge of hand-throwing fifty or a hundred pots, one after another, all to the same design.
But Master Potter Nick Rees, right-hand man at John Leach’s famous Muchelney Pottery, near Langport, Somerset has achieved that. And much more. As well as taking a major role in producing Muchelney Pottery’s renowned catalogue range of handmade kitchenware for the past forty years, Nick has been closely involved with the pottery shop and the business bookkeeping; managing the crucial and gruelling two-day firing of the pottery kiln, and explaining the workings of the pottery to visitors from all over the world.
John Leach is quick to acknowledge that the continuing success of Muchelney Pottery owes much to Nick’s deft hand, critical eye and potting skills. “He’s amazing. I feel we’re more like partners than employer and employee,” says John. “The shapes of Muchelney pots may be my designs, but Nick is fantastic at interpreting them. And, it may seem a small thing, but he is an absolute master at getting lids to fit! He could make, say, fifty garlic pots with lids – and the lids would all be interchangeable. Incredible.”
The pots that Nick makes range from mugs and bowls to jugs and plates. “Goodness knows how many I’ve made over the years – it must be tens of thousands,” he estimates.


Looking back over his forty-year career Nick, a highly intelligent but unassuming man, sums it up: “I’ve been so privileged to work with John at Muchelney. I love the pot designs and my nature is such that I positively enjoy the precision and the discipline needed to achieve and maintain the level of craftsmanship hand-made pottery demands.”
The physical toll of the work is demanding, he admits. Mixing the heavy clay; carrying boards of unfired pots from workshop to kilnshed; incredibly hot, back-breaking hours feeding wood into the kiln. But the rigours have always been immensely rewarding, not only in the satisfaction of mastering the required potting skills but in the excitement of discovery at each kiln opening and in the ultimate contentment of using one’s hands to produce desirable, useful objects.
Even in his spare time, Nick continues to make pots, but to his own personal designs. Pots which, although founded on his years of experience in the Leach tradition, are noticeably different from the sturdy, classic shapes of his “day job”. Nick’s decorative pots have an elegance and a subtle refinement in outline and their surfaces are accentuated by carving and fluting and experiments with slips and glazes.
“Making my own designs has been about finding a voice and making a spiritual statement”, he explains.
Most of his designs are fired in the Muchelney kiln which gives them the unique, organic signature of wood-firing. But two years ago Nick began experimenting with an electric kiln and this has led him to new exploration into the possibilities of oxidised firing, “a process that allows no hiding places.”
Since his first one-man exhibition at a prestigious gallery in Ringwood in 1990, Nick has established a laudable reputation for his distinctive personal work in stoneware and porcelain. More exhibitions have followed and his pots are now for sale in a selection of leading galleries throughout the country. They are also in the Leach Pottery at St Ives and in the gallery at Muchelney Pottery.
It is here that an exhibition is planned for September to celebrate Nick’s achievements over 40 years, with the launch of his latest collection of individual, signed pots.


Nick’s career could have been very different. Somerset-born in 1949, he initially trained as a teacher in creative design at Loughborough College of Education and spent two years teaching woodwork in a Coventry comprehensive school before deciding to change direction and train to be a potter.
But Nick’s teaching abilities have proved very useful at Muchelney. During public kiln opening events at the pottery, he is always on hand to answer visitors’ questions about the making process. “And he has been so good at running a practised eye over the work of students and apprentices who have trained with us over the years,” adds John.
Nick remembers his own 1972 initial “trial period” at Muchelney very clearly. John Leach set him the task of making 150 coffee mugs. After inspecting the finished work, John threw out 148 of the mugs and passed just two as saleable. “I didn’t think he’d keep any of them” was Nick’s reaction.
It was this reaction which helped to convince John that Nick had the right kind of temperament to become a potter and that they would work well together. “I really admired his patience – and I still do,” says John.
John’s confidence was fulfilled. With the aid of a government grant Nick successfully completed his five-year apprenticeship. Then, at John’s suggestion, he left Muchelney temporarily to experience work in Brian and Julia Newman’s nearby Aller Pottery. Three months later he returned and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1998 Nick was elected a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association and in 2005 was elected a Full Member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article written by Marian Edwards for John Leach Gallery, 2012.

 


Posted on July 19 2012 under Event Previews.