Clay Culture Trail

You are all invited to join us for the first ever Hasting Clay Culture Trail event. We have 13 talented ceramicists in 4 venues for you to visit. It’s an amazing range of work so there’s lots to discover!

My studio is one of the venues (no. 1 on the map) and I will be showing my new Dungeness series as well as my thrown tableware collections . I’ll also have christmas decorations, postcards and seconds at clearance prices and information about my forthcoming courses.

Guest artist Yvette Glaze will be showing with me and brings along hand-built forms that carry her distinctive print-making approach.

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We look forward to welcoming you for pot-talk, home-baked goodies, mulled drinks in handthrown cups and more.

For full details you can download the leaflet: inside / outside, or see the Facebook event listing.

Making the most of Yorkshire

Whilst I was up north I also squeezed in a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth Gallery, both of which I have waited a long time to get to.

YSP has of course many wonderful and striking pieces…

But after a full afternoon of roving the park, the pieces that stayed with me most strongly were not the massive monumental pieces, but those that rewarded a more engaged viewer prepared to be a bit more curious, a bit more mindful and be a bit more open to the unexpected.

I went to the Hepworth on my last day, after the end of the masterclass, and I think you’ll agree that the pieces I photographed there say something about the kind of forms I had been chasing in my own work!

And of course the Yorkshire landscape is stunning in itself! I certainly hope to be back there soon and could easily have started a whole new series of work inspired by what I saw…

An inspiring time with Rebecca Appleby and James Oughtibridge

In October I was fortunate to be able to spend 5 days in Yorkshire doing a handbuilding masterclass with Rebecca and James. It was great to be able to spend so much time playing with ideas, developing different surface treatments, making maquettes and thinking about creative processes to formulate ideas from source materials.

I came back with more confidence in my own process and giving it time to gestate, to play with components etc, a surprising new direction to explore and a car full of damp clay which is still waiting to be fired. A passing comment by Rebecca’s about ‘quality control at every stage’ also struck home as we saw them demonstrate the care they take in assembling their own work.

Here’s some pictures of the raw work. More to follow once it’s fired and finished.

This work is quite different again from the experimental Dungeness series I’ve been sharing recently and initially I was quite resistant to it because of the technical fiddliness, but both of them came by and said “ooh that’s interesting” so in the end I decided to listen to the feedback and rise to the challenge. It’s made me ponder the difference between the work we are drawn to as viewers that brings us something we’d perhaps like more of and that which we personally need to make and how to know which is which…


New exhibition at Gallery57 Arundel

Great news! My work will be featuring in a new still life exhibition at the wonderful Gallery57 in Arundel, opening on Saturday. When I was developing the Feast collection one of the things I paid particular attention to was the way in which my forms could contribute to an ad hoc still life tablescape as they were used or shelved, so it'll be fascinating to see it deliberately paired up and displayed in this way.

Gallery57 is genuinely my favourite gallery to follow on Instagram as they always show beautiful interesting work and curate it brilliantly, so I am beyond thrilled to have my pots included in their autumn/winter show. Do go along if you get the chance. Arundel may be a small town but it punches way above its weight for contemporary art with several good galleries so it's well worth a trip! If you can't get there in person you can always check them out on Instagram.

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Dungeness series, part 2

In this second batch of works I have been experimenting further with more graphic treatments and printing, to evoke the scattering of bold box forms in the shape of houses, sheds and shipping containers across the shingle, as well as more complex detailing in he surfaces through found materials, local slips, volcanic and matt glazes.

Autumn pottery classes

I'm offering an expanded programme of courses this autumn, with new one-off taster sessions for you to try your hand at clay plus the structured beginners/improvers course and a new improvers/intermediates course I'm very excited about which is more focussed on your creative intentions and uses skills development to achieve those goals. 

Full details and booking are online in the courses section. I hope some of you will be interested to find out more and come along to have a go!

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Lifting the lid on the new Dungeness series

Inspired by my time at I have been exploring some new forms.

Building up scuffed and stained and patinated surfaces.

Developing a new palette of glaze colours and finishes that draw on my experience of the ness.

Playing with happenstance impressions of found objects and textures.

Using drop moulding and composite forms to explore the irregular growth of the cottages with all their sheds and lean-tos.

Echoing the boat rails across the shingle in added ribs on which the finished pieces stand.

It's proving really interesting to work in this new way, developing a whole new creative vocabulary and making each piece a step forward into something new. As I write the kiln is firing up with a second load of new pieces and I'm full of eager anticipation to see how they will turn out and where this journey will take me next. Watch this space!

Dungeness inspirations

This spring I spent a few days on a kind of art retreat in Dungeness, staying in one of the original cottages at the tip of the ness, and focussing on simply walking, looking, experiencing, seeing what made my whiskers twitch, and then drawing, writing and photographing.

Here's a selection to show you some of the things that have stuck with me most and have been inspiring some new work that I will share with you in the next post.

The scattering of self-built houses and sheds

Trackways across the shingle

Debris equally and equivalently scattered with irregular shapes and fascinating finishes

the everpresent hum of power station looming above it all

Coastal currents 2018: my pick of the events & exhibitions

Coastal Currents is the massive arts festival for Hastings & St Leonards. I will again be opening my studio as part of the festival but I thought you might also like to see some of the many many other things that are happening to whet your appetite!

 NEW QUEERS ON THE BLOCK  performance

NEW QUEERS ON THE BLOCK performance

 Claudia Kappenberg  Shore Variations

Claudia Kappenberg Shore Variations

 Bernard McGuigan:  Solo Sculpture Exhibition

Bernard McGuigan: Solo Sculpture Exhibition

There's also an intriguing series of installations by Shopkeepers of the World exploring the idea of the charity shop as the archive of the community. The completed works are on display in a range of shops in Bexhill & St Leonards. Details on p53 of the printed programme, but I haven't managed to find them on the website so we may have to just go for a wander and see what we find!

Thinking things through with Tacita Dean

I was pleased to catch the Imagine episode about Tacita Dean last night.

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I was particularly struck by her comments on film as a medium with a process that has a gestation period, allowing time to think. It's easy with ceramics to get frustrated by how long everything takes and the dragging of time between starting and thinking, but I realise now that's another medium with a gestation period. Particularly with my newer more creative work, that reflecting & mulling & pondering what to do next time is turning out to be really valuable. I just needed to adjust my perspective to notice.

She also mentioned finding that she needed not to know the outcome of a project before it finished, to be 'blind' to the results until she had completed the journey. I have a tendency to live either in the future, in planning, and to imagine that I can work projects through entirely in my mind before I start - although I then have no interest in actually doing the work. Perhaps I too need that element of open exploration where the project develops it's own direction of steer as it progresses.

Thanks for the insights Tacita Dean! The programme is worth watching if you're able to.

The new art of cooking by Frankie Unsworth

This week my copy of the mouthwatering 'New art of cooking' by Frankie Unsworth arrived. Hooray!

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You may have seen her work on Khoollect, but now she's published her own book and I'm delighted to see some of my work making an appearance.

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Right now the watermelon and tomato salad with Sichuan salt and the easy aperitif spread for friends are looking very appealing, but I'm also looking forward to trying the one pan breakfast beans with crispy kale and goats curd once the weather cools down enough for something a bit more hearty.

Well worth checking out if you're looking for culinary inspirations.

An Orkney album

Last month we journeyed up to Orkney for a loooong awaited trip. We were only to get away for a week so just scratched the surface of these stunning islands, and were soon saying 'next time...'.

Here's a selection of tourist views plus some of the forms and textures that particularly caught my eye.

High temperature magic

I have been known to describe glaze chemistry as high temperature magic and nowhere is this more true than with my Evergreen glaze.

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All 9 of these tiles were made using the same clay and glazed with the same batch of glaze, dipped in the same way for the same amount of time and fired in the same kiln with the same firing cycle.

As you can see the results are surprisingly different!

It's a crystalline glaze so I expect to see time black and rust coloured crystals in the finished peices, but the amount and location of these sets of crystals vary depending on the thickness of application, the speed of cooling, where the item was in the kiln and what else was nearby. Every now and then a particularly heavy crop of crystals develops entirely hiding the green - for reasons know best to itself. Where the glaze is particularly thin it can yield a matt black, perhaps a thick layer of black crystals, and when even thinner shows up as a clear transparent. The depth of the green colour comes from the copper oxide in the glaze - as does the red where it was positioned close to the gas jet of the kiln and was effectively reduction fired in and oxidised firing cycle. All told it makes for an interesting but rather unruly glaze!

New designs for kitchenware in the pipeline...

Every now and then people make special requests for new designs. A recent flurry from friends and family is approaching critical mass and looks line turning into a new kitchenware collection. Here's some early trials for storage jars and pestles & mortars. Fermentation crocks and are also on the agenda. If there's anything your kitchen particularly needs that you think would be a good addition to the collection do let me know.

Some of the pieces feature water-etched detailing which will allow me to introduce some more variation which I do enjoy.

There's lots of work still do to refining each form individually and reviewing how they sit together as a group but it's nice to see an initial peek!