I went to art college from Grammar School in the late sixties, much to the disappointment of my teachers who really only valued an academic path. Needless to say the teaching of art at school was rather perfunctory and I sometimes wonder how I ever ended up on an art course! I started a Pre-Degree course with a vague idea of studying graphics because I thought that was the surest path to employment.
However as soon as I started working in clay,I was hooked and so went on to apply for a degree course that included this discipline.I actually studied Glass with Ceramics on the Dip AD course at Stourbridge college of Art. I was lucky enough to be a student when art education was beginning to break away from the restraints of the past ,and before it became subject to the financial, intellectual and creative restraints of the present time.
The course was quite broad-based with a strong fine art influence, and the opportunity to work in a variety of materials including wood and metal as well as glass and clay.
After graduating I continued to work in a variety of materials, making sculptural objects such as wood and metal reliefs, which I exhibited ,but were not easy to sell. During the 70s and 80's I brought up 2 children, taught art in schools and colleges and continued to make work and exhibit, concentrating on ceramics.
During the 80's I started making the precursors of the trompe l’oeil work that I make now. The first pieces were clothed torsos that started off as rectangular pots,and gradually took on more realistic form I was probably influenced more by sculptors and painters than other ceramicists- Claes Oldenburg's soft sculptures; Rene Magritte's shoes with toes.
I then started making open bags-these were still loosely speaking pots as were the torsos. This, of course, opened up a wealth of source material in every day objects, that are part of every day life.
I usually tell people that I was influenced by the traditions of the Leach approach, in that I consciously rejected the idea of “truth to materials”, which although not considered relevant my many practitioners today, was still prevalent in the late sixties when I was at college.
My early sculptural ceramics were angular pieces based on architecture and machinery; My later and current work seeks to imitate leather and cloth - all ways of making clay into non-claylike forms.
I have always developed ranges of vessels alongside my realistic work. I have in the past made machine like forms, but at present am working on wrap around jugs , teapots, and vases.
Art in Clay - Hatfield House : Art in Clay 2015
July 03, 2015 to July 05, 2015
Trompe l'oeil sculpture and handbuilt vessels in stoneware.
Work generally available from:
The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber
The Biscuit Factory Newcastle
Byard Art, King's Parade, Cambridge
Marine House Gallery Beer Devon www.marinehouseatbeer.co.uk
Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley,Stoke on Trent
Gallery on the Usk, Crickhowell
Craft Renaissance Kemeys Commander, Usk. www.craftrenaissance.co.uk
The Brewery Arts Centre Cirencester, Brewery Court, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 1JH, www.newbreweryarts.org.uk
Ridware Arts, Blythe House Farm, Hamstall Ridware, Staffs
Tarporley Gallery, 105 High Street, Tarporley, Cheshire. www.tarporleyartgallery.co.uk
The Gallery Leek, 17a Broad Street, Leek, ST13 5NR
Firing is in an electric kiln to 1260 degrees.
A range of stoneware glazes is used including magnesium based glazes in several colours.
Low fired metal lustres are also used for details
I graduated from Stourbridge College of Art in 1970 with a Diploma in Art and Design(glass with ceramics).
I have been making work since then ,but also brought up two children and taught in schools and further education colleges for several years.
I am now working full-time as a ceramicist.
Craft Potters Association (UK)