I had many different jobs before turning to ceramics, ranging from working in the music industry and running a wine bar to working in TV and video.
At 26 I decided to return to studying and graduated from Harrow College with a First Class Honours Degree in Workshop Ceramics in 1996. I spent 6 months of my degree studying in Jerusalem on an exchange programme and this experience had a profound effect on both myself, and my work.
One area I studied there was raku, which is where my real love for the technique took hold. It is from this time that my work has been influenced by this technique and has evolved into its present form.
All pieces are hollow, wheel-thrown forms, which are raku fired, a technique originated in Japan. Raku is a fast, dramatic firing technique where the pot is brought to 1000°C in less than 1 hour instead of the more usual 10 to 12 hours, then, whilst it glows red-hot, it is removed from the kiln with tongs and placed into a bin of sawdust. The thermal shock, as the temperature rapidly drops, causes fine cracking in the glaze on the surface of the body. As the sawdust smoulders the carbon produced is absorbed into the cracks in the glaze, staining the surface of the pot in a dramatic and distinctive pattern.
I have completely dispensed with the use of coloured glazes and rely on the effect that the intense heat and rapid change in temperature has on the clay surface and body. Colour and contrast is introduced into each piece by way of gold and copper leaf, which I use to emphasise preciousness and also as a response to the distinctly organic feel of the rims and flat surfaces.
The new work is based on the deconstruction of earlier pieces. By removing sections of the original forms, new planes are revealed and the form takes on a fresh perspective. I am using the slip resist technique, which stops the glaze sticking to the surface of the piece, and contrasting this with gilding and textured surfaces.
The intensity, immediacy and the surrender of control during raku firing has its pleasures and pains, but I know of no better way to be so closely involved with the progress of a piece at this most vital of stages. This involvement is what I love and some how more closely connects me with each piece that I make.
My studio is based in Surrey and is on allotment. I am a professional member of the CPA.
Pearson BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma in 3D Design with Emma Johnstone
1st September 2016 to 1st July 2017
Thrown, double walled sculptural ceramics. Work is raku fired using the slip resist technique. Some pieces are gilded using three types of gold and copper leaf. New work is monochrome and incorporates areas of texture and burnishing.
All work is thrown, then altered, and burnished. I bisque-fire to 1050°C. I use a resist' slip and apply glaze to specific parts of the piece. Work is then fired in a gas fired kiln to around 1000°C, before be placed glowing hot into a smoking chamber. The resist glaze is removed and the pot cleaned up and waxed. Some pieces are then gilded with gold or copper leaf.
My work has appeared in the following publications
House and Garden
Homes & Gardens
Saturday Times Magazine
The Telegraph Magazine
Live it - Conran Magazine
The Evening Standard
Mail on Sunday Magazine
Homes and Antiques
May 2003 Green Gallery
May 2003 Eton Applied Arts
Jun 2003 Ceramics in the City
Jun 2003 New Ashgate Gallery
Jun 2003 Wessex Fine Art
Jul 2003 Art in Action
Oct 2003 Chelsea Craft Fair
Nov 2003 Modern Collectables Olympia
Dec 2003 Midland Grand Christmas Exhibition
Feb 2004 Collect V & A Museum
Jun 2004 Design Front 04
Jun 2004 Earth and Fire X
Jul 2004 Art in Clay
Dec 2004 RBSA Christmas Collection
Jul 2005 Art in Action
May 2006 Project Workshops Andover
Jun 2006 Earth and Fire - Rufford Craft Centre, Nottingham
Jul 2006 Art in Action Oxford
2012 Open Eye gallery