I am inspired and excited by Japanese ceramics and the natural world - geological formations and the colour and form of primitive plants, especially lichens and mosses.
I make mainly individual functional pieces by combining throwing, hand-building and carving techniques to create pots that reflect Oriental styles and the natural origins of the materials I use. Coloured slips create a warm base layer before applying my own wood ash glazes made from a variety of local woods including apple, pear, oak, yew and cedar.
Firing with a naked flame from gas or wood ensures an endless variety in the finished surfaces and the resulting pots have a tactile and rustic appearance that beckons the viewer to hold, touch and use them.
Red Lion Pottery : Alan Birchall, Christmas Open Studio
November 01, 2017 to November 30, 2017
My current work is gas fired stoneware. At the moment I am focussing on making slab-built dishes and thrown and hand-built wedding cogs using a variety of wood-ash glazes and slips. The cogs are inspired by the wooden ceremonial wedding drinking vessels used on the Orkney Isles.
Availability of work
My studio, Red Lion Pottery
Roundhouse Gallery, Foston, Derbyshire.
I enjoy demonstrating hand-building techniques and happy to give local talks/demonstrations about my work.
Active supporter of Adopt-a-Potter
New website now available - check it out
My work is reduction fired to approx 1280 C in either a propane gas kiln or my own wood fired kiln.
Glazes are based on traditional oriental recipes - celedons, kaki, tessha and shino but my principal glazes are made from wood-ash which I prepare from locally sourced wood. I use local red clay slip, a variety of commercial slips and wood-ash for decoration.
Most of my work is incised or rouletted to achieve surface effects which are enhanced by glaze pooling.