After a career in marketing which spanned the globe, I decided to follow my passion for sculpting and ceramics and returned to the U.K. to study 3D Design specialising in Ceramics at the Richmond School of Art. After graduating I was one of 39 emerging artists to be selected for the Chinese Arts Centre’s Professional Artist Development Scheme, through which I received a training bursary as well as a mentoring grant. In 2011 I was one of six international finalists for Potclays Emerging Makers Award 2011, and in 2012 I was shortlisted for BBC Two's programme "Show Me The Monet."
Each sculpture that I create is inspired by my passions; the natural world and travel. My organic, smoke fired artwork has strong forms and several facets and all are highly burnished as this results in extremely tactile shapes and allows the detail of the smoke pattern to shine through – my pieces are meant to be touched!
As far back as I can remember I have always been drawn to the ancient method of smoke firing and how the smoke and flames paint designs on the ceramic canvas. I have taken these ancient processes and use them in a more contemporary way to create unique effects that have depth and fluidity.
In order to create a rich vein running through my work I break some of the wall hangings and dishes, either pre or post firing, and rejoin them with industrial resin which is then covered with either silver leaf or 22 carat gold leaf. More recently, I have started breaking them and then firing them in separate metal kilns, and using different oxides in order to have dramatically contrasting sections when rejoined.
Of course a considerable amount of planning goes into the decoration design of each piece, but by using smoke firing techniques there is also a significant element left to chance. For me that sense of surprise is definitely a large part of the attraction, especially as my final forms tend to be very controlled.
My work is in private collections around the world, and I specialise in creating works of art for specific spaces or people, incorporating some of their world (in the form of sand from their travels or gardens etc) in to the clay body.
I love the effects that are possible through the power of fire, heat and smoke on clay. In order to alter these results I attach various items to each piece including foil, banana skins, wire wool and copper, to name but a few. In addition, I also add different oxides and salt to the firing to add subtle colour. Of course, these are not the only things I take into consideration as the weather and the type of wood used will create varying finishes.
Each of my smoke fired pieces are individually sculptured and then burnished, polished, at least three times using a simple metal spoon or a polished pebble. This causes the clay to compress and gives it a mirror-like finish. It is then coated in terra sigillata and buffed. I bisque fire my art to a low temperature of about 900 °C before they are placed in a barrel for either a long or short firing. Afterwards, I clean the artwork and polish it with beeswax in order to bring out the stunning surface detail.
LONG BARREL FIRING
First, I place fireproof bricks on the bottom of the barrel and then layer sawdust on top. I stack my art in the barrel with sawdust, straw, newspaper and wood, before I douse it with lighter fluid and set it on fire, with the lid on but not completely closed. As the fuel consumes the oxygen a reduction atmosphere is created and this causes the blacker pattern on the surface. As the ash falls away the atmosphere is re-oxidised and this creates lighter colours. This process takes approximately four to five hours to complete.
SHORT BARREL FIRING
Similar to a long barrel firing but here I only use newspaper so it only takes about half an hour to complete and produces wonderful sepia coloured markings.
BORN Hong Kong
In my early thirties, I decided to follow my passion for sculpting and ceramics, which had been growing for a number of years. I left my career in international marketing that had included consulting with major technology, dot-com and cosmetics companies, in addition to renovating and launching hotels. In 2003, I went back to college to become a sculptor and installation artist using ceramics as my medium, and devote myself to creating beauty.
2005 – 2006 Higher National Diploma in Ceramics 3D Design, Thames Valley University / Richmond School of Art, Surrey, U.K.
2003 – 2005 Higher National Certificate in Ceramics 3D Design, Thames Valley University / Richmond School of Art, Surrey, U.K.
1991 – 1994 BSc Psychology & Management, Glasgow University, Scotland,
1987 – 1989 Four A’ Levels in Art, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Epsom College, Surrey, U.K.
2009, 22 - 25 May - Alternative Raku Workshop with John Evans
2007, 13 - 14 October - Smoke Firing, Saggar Firing & Pit Firing Workshop with Jane Perryman
2007, 16 - 21 April - “Creativity is Play” Course with Sandy Brown
2006, 2 & 9 December - Dreamweaver Advanced Intensive
2006, 16 & 23 Sept. - Dreamweaver Introduction Intensive
2006, 19 - 21 March - Heavy Metal Course with Pete Rogers
2006, 25 - 26 May - Heavy Metal Course with Pete Rogers
2006, Dec - February - Light Metal Course
2005, January - June - Photoshop Course
28 Jun - 5 Jul 2009 Assisted Tom Barnett with (Fire) Capsule at International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K.
23/24 October 2007 Assisted Tom Barnett during Theatre of Making - Fired Up at Milestones Museum, Basingstoke, U.K.
29 May - 3 June 2007 Assisted Tom Barnett during Appledore Arts Festival, Devon, U.K.
30 Jan - 3 June 2007 Sandy Brown’s Assistant, Devon, U.K.
3 - 10 January 2007 Assisted Françoise Dufayard with her presentation for the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K.
13 - 16 July 2006 Assisted Françoise Dufayard during Art in Action, Oxford, U.K
27 - 30 October 2005 Assisted Svend Bayer with a wood firing, Devon, U.K.
14 - 17 July 2005 Assisted Gilda Westermann prior to and during Art in Action, Oxford, U.K.
22-26 Oct 2014 Affordable Art Fair Battersea, Battersea, London, U.K
20-21 & 27-28 Sept 2014 Merton Arts Trail, Wimbledon, London, U.K.
28-29 June 2014 ARThouse Open Studios, East Sheen, London, U.K.
3-11 May 2014 St. Mary the Virgin, Merton Park, London, U.K.
16 Feb-1 March 2014 Skyark Galleries 1, Southbank, London, U.K.
11-25 Nov 2013 Skylark Galleries 2's Featured Artist, Southbank, London, U.K.
5 - 20 Nov 2013 Morley Gallery, Westminster Bridge Road, London, U.K.
24 - 27 Oct 2013 Affordable Arts Fair Battersea, Battersea, London, U.K.
21-22 & 28-29 Sept 2013 Merton Arts Trail, Wimbledon, London, U.K.
18-21 July 2013 Demonstrating at Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxon, U.K.
5-7 July 2013 Art in Clay, Hatfield House, U.K.
22-23 & 29 - 30 June 2013 ARThouse Open Studios, East Sheen, London, U.K.
1 June-27 July 2013 Riverside Gallery, Richmond, Surrey, U.K.
1-31 Dec 2012 Skylark Galleries 2's Christmas Show, Southbank, London, U.K.
July-Dec 2012 Lucinda Brown Gallery, Claydon House, Bucks, U.K.
12 Oct-2 Dec 2012 OneOak Project, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.
6-21 Nov 2012 Morley Gallery, Westminster Bridge Road, London, U.K.
25-28 Oct 2012 Affordable Art Fair Battersea, Battersea, London, U.K.
22-23 & 29-30 Sept 2012 Merton Arts Trail, Wimbledon, London, U.K.
Nov 2011-Sept 2012 Mid Cornwall Galleries, Par, Cornwall, U.K.
19-22 July 2012 Demonstrated at Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxon, U.K.
6-8 July 2012 Art in Clay, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, U.K.
22 June-1 July 2012 ARThouse Open Studios, East Sheen, London, U.K.
5-13 May 2012 Grand Designs Expo, London, U.K.
16-30 April 2012 Skylark Galleries 2's Featured Artist, Southbank, London, U.K.
1-11 March 2012 Neal's Yard Galleries, Richmond, Surrey, U.K.
2012 Tower 42, City of London, London, U.K.
19 Jan-11 Feb 2012 Contemporary Ceramics Centre's 'Funding for the Future,' Bloomsbury, London, U.K.
Nov 2011-Feb 2012 Southfields Gallery, Southfields, London, U.K.
2-4 Dec 2011 Access Art Fair, Southfields, London, U.K.
19 & 20 Nov 2011 Art in Clay, Farnham, Surrey, U.K.
31 Oct-6 Nov 2011 Morley Gallery, Westminster Bridge Road, London, U.K.
19-23 Oct 2011 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London, U.K.
8-9 & 15-16 Oct 2011 Merton Arts Trail, Wimbledon, London, U.K.
1-3 July 2011 International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K.
11-12 & 18-19 June 2011 ARThouse Open Studios, East Sheen, London, U.K.
12–15 May 2011 Affordable Art Fair Bristol, Temple Meads, Bristol, U.K.
25 Apri-8 May 2011 Skylark Galleries 2, Southbank, London, U.K.
3–6 February 2011 London Pop Up Gallery, Soho, London, U.K.
3-29 January 2011 Bluematchbox Gallery, Reading, Berks, U.K.
2 Dec 2010-23 Jan 2011 Neal’s Yard Galleries, Chelsea, London, U.K.
1-15 Dec 2010 Morley Gallery, Waterloo, London, U.K.
20-21 Nov 2010 Art in Clay, Farnham Maltings, Surrey, U.K.
21-24 Oct 2010 Affordable Art Fair Battersea, Battersea, London, U.K.
7-16 Oct 2010 Neal’s Yard Galleries, Chiswick, London, U.K.
2-3 & 9-10 Oct 2010 Wandsworth Open Studios, Southfields, London, U.K.
24-25 Sep 2010 Cannizaro Open Studios, Wimbledon, London, U.K.
29 Jul-15 Aug 2010 the.gallery@oxo, Southbank, London, U.K.
15-18 Jul 2010 Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxfordshire, U.K.
12-13 &19-20 Jun 2010 ARThouse Open Studios, Barnes, London, U.K.
24-30 May 2010 Art Pavilion Mile End, London, U.K.
14-16 May 2010 Affordable Art Fair Bristol, Bristol, U.K.
2 – 28 Feb 2010 Featured Artist, Skylark Galleries 2, OXO Tower Wharf, London, U.K.
2 – 16 Dec 2009 Morley Gallery, Waterloo, London, U.K.
21 – 22 Nov 2009 Art in Clay, Farnham Maltings, Surrey, U.K.
16 – 19 Jul 2009 Art in Action, Waterperry House, Waterperry, Oxfordshire, U.K.
26–28 Jun & 3–5 Jul 2009 ARThouse Open Studios, Barnes, London, U.K.
21 Mar – 16 Apr 2009 The Gallery at Southfields, Southfields, London, U.K.
29 – 30 Nov 2008 Studio Exhibition, Barnes, London, U.K.
17 - 20 Jul 2008 Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxfordshire, UK.
21-22 & 28–29 Jun 2008 ARThouse Open Studios, Barnes, London, U.K.
7 - 10 Jun 2006 Richmond School of Art, Thames Valley University, Surrey, U.K.
8 – 10 Jun 2005 Richmond School of Art, Thames Valley University, Surrey, U.K.
British Studio Potters Marks, 3rd Edition, Eric Yates-Owen and Robert Fournier, Updated and edited by James Hazelwood, February 2015
Holy Works, Absolutely Wimbledon, May 2014 (read online - p14)
LP Preview - Saint Mary The Virgin Church, London Potters News, April / May 2014
London Potter's Brochure: Promoting a wider interest in ceramics, 2014
The Art of Design Magazine, May 2012
The Ceramics Book, 2012
International Ceramics Festival, CPA News, July/August 2011
Cannizaro Open Studios, Darling, Winter 2010
The Richardson Mews: a village within a village, Prospect, October 2010
New Members, LP News, April / May 2010
London Potters Annual Members' Exhibition, LP News, February / March 2010
Skylark Galleries, Inner Design, November 2009
New Members, CPA News, July/August 2009
All Fired Up, The Green, page 65, November 2008
Preview – ARThouse Open Studio, The Green, page 49, June 2008
Gallery, Ceramic Review, Issue 231, page 24, May/June 2008
Taking Time to Learn, Ceramic Review, Issue 228, page 44, November/December 2007
Ceramics at Art School 2006, Ceramic Review, Issue 222, page 33, November/December 2006.
- January 2012 One of 300 artists shortlisted from 3,000 for the second series of BBC 2's 'Show Me The Monet'
- May 2011 One of six international artists shortlisted for Potclays Emerging Maker Award at 2011 International Ceramics Festival
- May 2007 One of 39 artists selected for the Chinese Arts Centre’s Professional Artist Development Scheme
- May 2008 Mentoring Grant from Chinese Arts Centre for one-on-one session with Peter Hayes
- Oct 2007 Training Bursary from Chinese Arts Centre towards attending Jane Perryman’s Smoke Firing Workshop
- 22 September 2012 Donated a personalised dish for auction to raise funds for The Wisley Foundation. Created using sand from a bunker on The Mill, one of the three 9 Hole courses at The Wisley.
- January 2012 Donated Sensual Abundance V to "Funding the Future" - an exhibition & auction featuring exclusive pieces from over 100 artists to raise funds for Craft Potters Association
- September 2009: Donated a personalised dish to The Skycar Expedition auction to raise funds for the African charity Alive & Kicking. Created using sand collecting from the Sahara during the expedition from London to Timbuktu.
British Women Artists
Chinese Arts Centre Online
Craft Potters Association
Crafts Council: National Register of Makers
EAST (East Asian Strategic Training Scheme) Online
Open House Art
Saatchi Gallery Online