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The Eeles Family *Image Gallery

Contact Details

Studio: Eeles Family Pottery, Mosterton, Beaminster, Dorset, UK, DT8 3HN. View in Google Maps
Telephone: +44 (0)1308 868257
Email:
Web-site: www.eelespottery.co.uk
Availability: Showroom open every day, 9.00am to 5.00pm. The pottery is open all year except Christmas day and Boxing day. With limited opening times in the winter, It is best to check these before you visit, please phone us on 01308 868257.
Last Updated: 2013-03-06

Current Work

Current Work

Woodfired stoneware, porcelain & raku.

Work generally available from:
Apart from our own Gallery at Mosterton, The Eeles Family have exhibitions running at various locations throughout the year - current year exhibitions are shown below and on our events listings.

Other information:
Each year we have open days at the pottery, with demonstrations & raku firings.

Pottery workshop visits - By popular demand, I am pleased to provide the opportunity for groups of between 10-25 people to have a guided tour of the workshop & kilns. Demonstrations can be provided.
These visits are by appointment only, at a modest charge per head.
The visit would normally be outside working hours, evenings or weekends by arrangement. For more information on pottery visits please call or write to Simon Eeles.

Current / Future Events

Current / Future Events

Technical Information

Technical Information

The pottery we produce is mainly woodfired stoneware with some marbled porcelain and raku.

The stoneware is a plastic clay comprising of a mixture of ball clays, one from Wareham in Dorset the other from Devon, plus China clay from Cornwall and fine silica sand from near Chard in Somerset. The clay arrives as dug, in lump form, we then  slake down the materials in water.  Then mixed in a blunger until it is the consistency of cream, sieved to remove any foreign matter and transported using an old swimming pool pump, into large troughs to dry. It can take up to ten weeks to mature, finally it is pugged before we use it. The pugging machine mixes the clay into a uniform state ready for the potter to shape into a pot.

The porcelain is mixed in a ball mill using: china clay, quartz, feldspar and bentonite. The ball mill is a large 20 gallon drum full of round stones, this rotates and grinds the clay or glaze being mixed. The marbled effect is gained by adding metallic oxides with the clay, chrome (green), Iron (Brown/Black), cobalt (blue) and rutile (gold). A small amount of each of the coloured clays are added together, the pot is thrown on a potters wheel producing the spiral pattern.  
The raku clay comprises 60% ball clay 30% grog 10% talc (grog is a non plastic ground fired clay). It is the additions of molocite (fired china clay) and talc that is important, these help the pots to withstand the tremendous thermal shock when put into a kiln at 1000 degrees centigrade.

The main difference between stoneware and porcelain is one of opacity in stoneware, and translucence in porcelain which has a more glass like structure. 

All of the pots we sell are made by one of the family. David, Ben and Simon throw their pots on a wheel, making small ring box using only a few oz of clay to large bread crocks that weight up to thirty pounds. 
Patricia has never used a wheel but she makes all the square and rectangular ware. These are hand built using slabs of clay and extrusions of clay from the pug mill. They are very complicated and can have four or five sections of clay joined together using a thick slip.

Once the pottery is made and fired to 960 degrees centigrade (biscuit temp) in an electric kiln, many different decorative techniques are employed. An application of glaze is put on to the biscuit pot. The designs are applied using ether paper cut, wax resist, glazed trailed, poured or brushed on to the pot to obtain the desired result. The inspiration for the decoration comes from many sources, landscape in it many moods, animal, floral and abstract. 

We use many different glazes Chun, Shino, and Celadon, some on their own or in combination with each other. A number of the pots are left unglazed apart from the decoration which is painted or trailed on with glaze and pigments. Wide expanses of raw clay take on a rich toasted colour where the flame encircles the pot depositing fusible salts to the surface of the pot during the wood firing. 
All the glazes we use are prepared from basic raw materials such as granite, basalt, limestone and quartz mostly from the south west of England. Some of the glazes are very simple , others are more complex in nature. Unusual materials are melted into a fritted glass, ground and refined to enable them to be used. 

History

History

David Eeles
Born 1933, Started potting in 1949, Workshop in Hampstead, North London from 1955-1961, moved to present address in 1962.

Patricia Eeles
Wife of David, born 1932, Started potting in 1962 to present.

Benjamin Eeles
Born 1959, Started potting in 1975 to present.

Simon Eeles
Born 1961, Started potting in 1979 to present

David Eeles trained at Willesden School of Arts & Crafts in London from 1947 until 1953, where he studied drawing & painting, architecture, anatomy, bookbinding, etching, engraving, lithography, lettering, terra cotta & ceramics. All of these studies have been useful in his long career as a potter. 

David met Patricia in art school, where she was also studying, they were married in 1955.  David started ''The Shepherds Well Pottery'' on the site of the old shepherds well in the artists quarter of Hampstead London.

The pottery he was making  at this time was traditional Slipware & tin glazed Majolica, fired to a temperature of 1100 degrees centigrade in an electric kiln.  The decoration was drawn with liquid clay slips, coloured with metallic oxides like Iron, Manganese & Copper. The colours achieved were predominantly warm in tone.   The first exhibition of work was held at the Heals Department store in London. Various shops & galleries in and around London were supplied with pottery between 1955  & 1961.

The family moved to Dorset in 1961 where they continue today. In 1963 the first of many students and apprentices arrived from around the world some stayed for a year or two, others for periods of up to seven years. Many now have their own workshops around the world. 

Earthenware production continued until a new kiln was built in the mid sixties. The new kiln was a single chamber down draught oil fired kiln of approximately one hundred and fifty cubic feet capacity. This kiln could be fired to stoneware temperature of 1280 degrees plus. So a new range of more robust pottery was made. For more information on the kilns used click on kilns in the navigation panel.

Benjamin  started potting in 1975. This coincided with the last of the students leaving.  In 1976 David & Benjamin built the large three chamber dragon kiln which is still used today.  Simon started in 1979 then straight away was left on his own for six months while the rest of the family went on a world trip. David & Patricia visited Canada, Australia and New Zealand holding workshops. Benjamin spent a Year working in Australia with some of the students that previously studied with David in the nineteen sixties.  In 1990 the partnership was formed called The Eeles Family Pottery.

One other member of the family needs a mention, Nelly, David's mother was a great help in the early years and after she retired in 1965, she would be off delivering orders from Land's End to John O' Groats.  She looked after the shop in Bridport where she would also make a whole range of slip cast pots. Then at Watergore on the A303 in Somerset until she finally retired, well into her eighties. Many an old customer still returns today reminiscing about the time they were treated to a glass of home made elderflower wine, and a five minute trip to look at the pots could last an hour or two.

Work Styles

Work Styles

Stoneware
Raku
Porcelain
Lustreware
Thrown
Handbuilt
Shino
Celadon
Ash
Vases & Bowls
Teapots
Kitchen & Tableware
Garden
Anagama