The pieces that I make are ceramic illustrations of the colours and textures inherent in the wonderfully diverse geology of Britain, being made entirely from rocks, earth, clay and ash I have collected from various places around the country. The glazes and slips and, where possible, the underlying clay are all derived from geological samples obtained from specific locations. Each piece of work therefore illustrates the characteristics of particular places and comes with a CD containing images and geologic information about them.
Not only do I know the provenance of every ingredient, but have explored these areas, often on my hands and knees. There are no easy shortcuts in this process. Every visit is preceded by hours of research and much time spent gaining permissions to collect materials. Once home the rocks have to be crushed and ground to a powder, then blended with other rocks in countless tests to find just the right balances that will bring out their beauty. All the ingredients become extremely time rich and so gain a very high value. Nothing is wasted. Every spilt drop is carefully scooped up and retained. There is nothing slapdash about the way I work.
We live a life that is increasingly distanced from the physicality of the Earth and are in danger of losing understanding of our connection with and dependence on it. My ceramics invoke a new way of looking at our countryside, its history and our relationship to it. As a personal journey it has been, and continues to be, revelatory; profoundly changing my appreciation of the land beneath our buildings, roads and feet. This is my inspiration.
Softly thrown, fluid, functional pots made in porcelain and saltglazed
stoneware. Glazes and slips are used that that enhance the qualities of
the forms and try to capture the making process in the finished pot.
Work generally available from:
Contemporary Ceramics Centre, 63 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3BF (0207 242 9644)
Fibre and Clay 2006 34a King Street Knutsford Cheshire WA16 6DW www.fibreandclay.co.uk
Tracey Birchwood, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak St, M4 5JD
Jo Charles Arts & Crafts 163 Park View, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, NE26 3RF www.jocharlesgallery.com
La Poterie du Don, Le Don, 15 120 MONTSALVY, (Nigel and Suzy Atkins), France.
The Oakwood Gallery, Edwinstowe, Notts. www.oakwoodceramics.co.uk
Porcelain is fired in an LPG brick and fibre kiln to cone 9/10 in reduction. These pots are glazed with combinations of blue celadon. satin white, fluid blue, fluid yellow, crystalline white/blue and tenmoku glazes, though I am constantly researching new glazes. The current salt kiln is a raised catenary arch with internal fireboxes and can be fired with gas and/or wood. Pots are fired to cone 11 with reduction between 1000 and around 1150°C. Salt is introduced at cone 9. Both kilns are specifically designed and built.
1981-4 - BSc Psychology (2nd Hons) Southampton University, UK. 1991-3 - Diploma of ceramics (State Medal) Distinction. National Art School, East Sydney TAFE.
1991 - Set up a pottery shop/workshop co-operative called Glazed Expressions in Clovelly, Sydney,Australia.
1993-4 - Returned to England and worked for a potter in Devon called Colin Kellam for 3 months.
Then helped set up a pottery workshop at an Arts and Crafts centre in Buckfastleigh, Devon.
1995-6 - Worked at the Ross St. potters studios,Sydney.
1996 - Moved from Sydney to the mid-north coast with my wife and children,
where I built a workshop and adjoining gallery,an LPG gas kiln and a bourry box wood fired salt kiln.
1998 - Professional member of the Potters Society of Australia.
2000 - Produced catalogue of work and created website.
CraftMark Accreditation and membership of Craft Australia.
2002 - Returned to the UK and set up a workshop in Lode, Cambridgeshire, building LPG porcelain
and wood/gas fired saltglaze kilns.
2003 - Professional Member of The Craft Potter Association.
I have taught pottery to adults, children and adults with an intellectual disability in a variety of situations, including Tertiary education college, evening classes, day courses, playschemes and sheltered workshops.
Currently teaching at Wysing Arts cntre and Hills Rd. Sixth Form College, Cambridge.
June 1995 - Alumni Exhibition, Cell Block Theatre, East Sydney TAFE.
June 1995 - Winner of Tableware Section, Port Hacking Potters Competition, Sydney.
May 1996 - Tea For Two Exhibition, Canberra.
July 1997 - Joint Exhibition with Trisha Dean, Mura Clay Gallery, Newtown,Sydney.
November 2000 - Exhibiting with The Potters Society Australian Craft Show, Homebush, Sydney.
April 2001 - ‘The Great Aussie Cuppa" Mura Clay Gallery, Newtown, Sydney.
April 2001 - Winner of the Wheel Thrown Section, Coffs Harbour Art & Craft Competition 2001.
August 2001 - The Sydney Teapot Show, Inner City Clayworkers Gallery, Sydney. A selective competition.
April 2002 - Munich International Craft Fair. Selected to exhibit with Craft Australia.
April 2002 - Birthday Exhibition. Group Show. Mura Clay Gallery, Newtown, Sydney, Australia.
19th Sept 2002 - 'Satisfaction'. An exhibition combining ceramics from some of Australia's leading potters food prepared by some of Australia's top chefs.
Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, touring NSW, Queensland and Victoria until 2004.
8th June 2003 - 'Pots In the Kitchen' Exhibitition at the Rufford Craft Centre, curated by Josie Walter. Work selected to be shown in Denmark 2004.
Pottery in Australia Vol 39 No.4 ‘Pots to live with'.p50-51
Pottery in Australia Vol 40 No.1 Glaze page
Pottery in Australia Vol 40 No.2 Showcase. Image.
‘Interiors' CD Rom Showcasing 100 Australian crafts people and designers.
Published by Object Magazine, The Australian centre for Craft and Design. August 2001
Featured in ‘Pots In The Kitchen", by Josie Walter (UK) published by the Crowood Press September 2002.