My objective is to make pots to be used, handled, loved and cooked in. It gives me great pleasure to think that they will be enhancing an occasion or recipe in many parts of the world and I feel this is a great privilege.
Throwing is the process I most enjoy and the stillness and ‘centeredness’ that I receive from making becomes part of the pot itself. It also brings home to me a sense of continuity and of the history of potters.
For me, function combined with generosity and elegance of form is of supreme importance. If a pot does not function properly it takes away from the pleasure of using it. This is part of the ever- evolving art, experience and skill that keeps one vibrant and on one’s toes. Usually when I have a new idea for a pot it helps to have a function in mind -‘Shepherd’s Pie Pot’, ‘Whipped Cream Dish’ etc. This gives me the ‘go ahead’ and the pot emerges through a combination of some working out on paper and actually making it. I do like to keep the pots and glazes simple and uncluttered so that the food presented on or in them has a chance to sing. All my work is dishwasher and ovenproof.
I frequently use water as a theme. The ripples and patterns that water makes as it eddies and swirls around objects fascinate me. I am also intrigued by the stone mason’s chisel marks on Yorkshire stone barns and on standing stones. The endless colours of lichen, pebbles and shells are a wonder and a frequently recurring theme is the ‘cinatmani’ three-dot symbol, a decorative motif used in many parts of the world and especially in textiles, which I also love.
My interest in life drawing and print-making has led me to experiment with print-making techniques on paper porcelain. I also make beads from Precious Metal Clay which when fired, leaves pure silver. From these I make necklaces which also include porcelain, Egyptian Paste and ethnic beads. I love and collect world textiles.
Wighill House : Isabel Denyer's Annual Open House
November 11, 2015 to November 12, 2015
I make stoneware and porcelain pots mostly on an electric wheel but sometimes I use my Leach kick wheel if I feel I need a slower rhythm.
The pots are reduction fired in a gas kiln. I start the reduction process at about 900 degrees and finish at 1280C. I feel that this gives a richness and softness to my glazes.
The glazes are traditional, often with an Oriental quality, which although unintentional are the kind I am drawn to. Glazes are an on-going process of experimentation and testing.
The decoration and mark making is done either by painting with oxides, scraffito, wax resist or by sponging away areas on the porcelain pots to form bubbles of translucency. Sometimes I use an impression from an ammonite to provide interest. I try not to let the decoration dominate so as to allow the texture and colours of food to speak for themselves.
1965 – 1967: Two year Foundation course at Farnham School of Art.
1967 – 1969: Two year Studio Pottery Course at Harrow School of Art.
Summer 1969: Worked with Gwyn Hansen Piggot at La Bourne in France.
1972 – 1975: Potted in the USA.
1976: Sponsored by the Jamaican Tourist Board to teach pottery in Jamaica.
1987 – 1998: Served on the committee of the Northern Potters Association ,taking on the roles of Membership Secretary, Exhibitions Officer and Co-Chair.
2001 – 2005: Co Chair of the Members and Associates Committee for the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain.
2006: Ceramics Assistant to the Broughton Gallery, Broughton Place
By Biggar, Scotland for 6 months.
I taught for a year on the Jamaican Tourist Board Craft Training Scheme. I give individual private ‘throwing’ lessons to students and others wishing to improve their skills. I also give workshops for bead making with Precious Metal Clay.
I am a Professional Member of the Craft Potters Association
Since 1992 I have held an Open House event in the autumn, to which I invite other craftspeople to join me. This is a major selling event in my professional calendar.
2012 The Contemporary Ceramics Gallery, Great Russell Street, London
2012 Annual Open House, Wighill
2012 NPA selected exhibition at Rufford Gallery, Nottinghamshire
2012 Potfest in the Park. Cumbria
2012 York Open Studios
2011 Annual Open House, Wighill
2011 The Joy of Food’ at Lund Gallery, Easingwold, N. Yorkshire
2011 Potfest in the Park, Cumbria
2011 Flux at Thirsk, N. Yorkshire
2011 NPA selected exhibition at the New School House Gallery, York
2011 York Open Studios
2010 Annual Open House, Wighill
2010 NPA selected exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York
2010 York Open Studios
2010 11th Sept - 30 October NPA exhibition at the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe
2010 July Potfest in the Park
2009 York Open Studios
2009 Hot Pots at Belvoir Castle
2009 3rd & 4th November Annual Open House
2009 1 Dec -21 Jan 2010 ‘Vessel’, School House Gallery, York
2008 York Open Studios
2008 Earth and Fire at Rufford
2008 Annual Open House
2007 6th & 7th November Annual Open House at Wighill
2007 Oxford Ceramic Fair
2007 York Open Studios
2007 Clay Art Wales
2007 The Contemporary Craft Fair, Bovey Tracey, Devon
2007 Northern Potters Selected show at The Lund Gallery, Easingwold, North Yorkshire
2006 Christmas exhibition at The Lund Gallery, Easingwold, North Yorkshire
2006 ‘Winter 2006’ Broughton Gallery, Biggar, Scotland
2006 ‘North by North Wales’ at Rufford Crafts Centre, Notts (selected)
2006 North Yorkshire Open Studios
2006 ‘Rennaisance’ Broughton Gallery, Biggar, Scotland
2006 York Open Studios
2006 Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne (NPA selected)
2005 Manor House, Ilkley
2005 Oxo Tower ‘Northern Fire’ (NPA selected)
2005 Clarendon Cross Gallery, Holland Park, London
2005 York Open Studios
2005 North Yorkshire Open Studios and at The Folley, Settle (NYOS selected)
2005 Cliffe Castle, Keighley (NPA selected)
2005 Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxon
2005 Earth & Fire, Rufford Crafts Centre, Notts
2005 Broughton Gallery, Biggar, Scotland
2004 Mid Pennine Arts Gallery, Burnley, Lancs (NPA selected)
2004 European Ceramic Arts Festival, St Quentin la Potterie, Uzes, France
2004 International Ceramics Symposium, Serbia
2004 Manor House, Ilkley, N. Yorkshire
2004 Joanna Bird Gallery, Chiswick, London
2004 Pyramid Gallery, York
2004 Lichfield Festival
2004 Abergavenny Food Festival
2003 Tullie House, Carlisle (NPA selected)
2003 York Open Studios
2003 Hatfield House, Herts (CPA)
2003 Shandy Hall, Coxwold, N. Yorkshire
2003 Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxon
2002 Stonegate Gallery, York
2002 Tredegar House, Newport, Wales
2001 Shandy Hall, Coxwold, N. Yorkshire
2001 North Light Gallery, Huddersfield (NPA selected)
2001 York Art Workers at Early Music Centre, York
2000 ‘Harrow Graduates’ at Alpha House Gallery, Sherborne, Dorset
2000 Harris Museum, Preston (NPA selected)
2000 York City Art Gallery Print Fair, (lino on porcelain)
2000 SOLO at Shandy Hall, Coxwold, N. Yorkshire
2000 North Light Gallery, Huddersfield