"My work has always been inventive and I work in an intuitive way, constantly sketching and experimenting with new forms and processes. My forms are strong and simple but have complex surface which draw the viewer to look more closely. Each piece should work as whole, combining harmony of form and pattern. My influences come mainly from nature and landscape - from shells, stones, plants, and the movement of water - to the bigger visual panorama." Peter Beard
Richard studied natural sciences at Cambridge and later engineering at Leeds.
His interest in pottery started at an early age, it came from his mother, the well known Lancashire potter Joan Bideau. Richard's interest in crystalline glazes came after an article which he read in New Scientist magazine. He was intrigued by the possibility of combining his knowledge of chemistry with the freedom of expression offered by pottery. Starting with a published glaze recipe, Richard embarked upon a journey of experimentation that has, after many thousands of test, resulted in a unique range of crystalline glazes. Richard now has an international reputation for the quality of his glazes and fine porcelain forms.
The crystalline glaze is one of the most challenging effects that the studio potter can strive to perfect. The spectacular appearance is due to crystals that form within the glaze during firing.
Like frost growing on a cold window pane, the crystals are formed at random, but unlike ice, they are created when the intense heat of the kiln transforms the initially dull glaze into a sparkling array of brilliant shapes and colours – a process which mirrors the formation of minerals within the Earth's mantle.
The crystals are three dimensional and as light catches them they shimmer like holograms.
Inspiration for Nicola’s work comes from feathers, shells, pebbles, driftwood, leaves and pine cones which she collects, and from family days out and walks with her dog. The ever-changing light of sunsets is the influence behind the muted palette which is found in her work.
Nicola hand-builds her ceramics out of porcelain clay. This is a process where the clay can be rolled out or manipulated to create textures, the form of the piece then taking shape. Her work is fired in the kiln up to three times, to 1250 degrees after glazing.
Alistair was born in a mining village in County Durham, surrounded by imagery of mining and the community life which gives him a rich source of inspiration.
Living in the Dales, Alistair says that he “finds the rural life full of characters.” Raku pottery is his main interest but he is also developing stoneware pottery.
Olivia graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1999 gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Contemporary Crafts.
Olivia creates a series of unique and distinctive hand-built ceramic dogs, along with textiles and paintings. The characters present in the animal kingdom provide a rich and unlimited source of inspiration for Olivia. Although dogs remain at the forefront of her work, she is particularly drawn to the unloved and ostracized members of the animal community. Capturing the essence of each animal is paramount in each piece Olivia creates.
As well as individual pieces Olivia creates large-scale installations and portraits.
Ruth is a sculptor based in Cumbria.
“I first discovered clay on foundation course at Portsmouth College of Art and Design in the late 70’s. After this, I was lucky enough to get a place on a ceramics degree course at Bath Academy of Art. My ceramic work has been based around the human figure. I now make detailed, small scale pieces and more symbolic, sculptural work. I try to capture expressions and character and, hopefully, produce precious objects that people will cherish. My latest project is a range of rock climbers, a popular activity here in the English Lake District.”
"I began making animals whilst studying ceramics at Lancashire Polytechnic, which to begin with was purely pig studies, spending alot of time at agricultural shows in the rare breeds tent. Many years later I'm still making pigs along with a whole host of other animals, source material is never far away - a cow in a field, a scratching chicken or a dog racing down the street. Sketching from life is a very big part of my work making me study the subject at great length."
Virginia Dowe, based in Warwickshire, presents a range of quality ‘one off’ hand built sculptural ceramics. Skillfully manipulating both extruded and slab forms, she is able to visualise and create imaginative animal studies. Virginia’s passionate and lively approach observes well the attitudes of these creatures. Their character is captured with a sense of fun and directness.
Earth-stone hand building material is employed mixed with varying consistencies of grog. This is then fired to 1160c in an electric kiln. A well practiced method of smoke firing is then used which provides the finished pieces with a very natural and unrefined aesthetic appeal.
Sally, based in Cambridgeshire, creates unique and individually handcrafted sculptures using a mixture of earthstone clay and porcelain. Each sculpture is constructed hollow using no moulds or interior supports, using small slabs of clay pieced together almost like a patchwork quilt. The individual pieces can be seen in the finished sculptures giving them a lovely, distinctive finish and tactile surface.
Sally’s love for art started at a young age, when she would spend hours creating models from fimo and fabric. Her first real introduction to clay came when she started sixth form college in Cambridge and was given a choice of media in which to specialise. As soon as Sally used clay she was hooked. She remembers carving into a block of clay to create her first figure, and her teacher saying to her “the figure is in there, you just have to discover it”. This has always stayed with her.
When Sally finished her degree at the University of Wolverhampton, she spent two years experimenting with a range of techniques. Towards the end of the second year and the duration of her third, her current style evolved and continues to develop to this day.
Sally enjoys working with a range of themes including figures and animals captured in a realistic way. Sally’s recent range is entitled ‘A moment with Mister Herbert’. Each unique Mister Herbert sculpture is handmade with a drop of humour depicting a range of adventures and sayings.
Nigel uses high fired, grogged clay to make a range of garden ceramics and some decorative domestic pieces. Much of the work incorporates architectural elements and reflects an interest in Islamic and Moorish decorative design.
Surfaces are decorated with impressed patterns and coloured slips. Matt finishes are preferred and most pieces are given an oxide wash.
Nigel Edmondson is a member of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain and is a member of the Northern Potters Association.
Liz Ellis was born in Cheshire. After studying science, then Three Dimensional Design (ceramics, wood, metal and plastics) she set up a design business and continued with sculptural projects. Later training as an osteopath she alternated working in this field with sculptural work. She retired from osteopathy to work full time in sculpture in 2006.
Liz says of her work: ‘Clay is one of the most fundamental of all materials. Working with clay we involve all four elements; we refine it from the earth, make it malleable with water, when formed we allow the air slowly to dry it until finally it is given up to fire to be transformed.’
‘Figures are hand built – form, balance, expression and the allusion to movement are at the centre of practice.’
‘The birds are a metaphor for the joy and beauty of the natural world – of which we are a part – but also a reminder of the poignant transience of existence and the imperilled state of the delicate balance that sustains life.’
Liz’s work is exhibited nationally and internationally and held in private collections in UK , Eire, France, Holland and Switzerland.
Lisa graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with Bachelor of Arts degree in Three Dimensional Design, Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Glass. She is a ceramicist based in the beautiful Peak District National Park. From her workshop she designs and hand makes sculptural vessels and forms inspired by the natural world. She has been a designer for nearly twenty years and has exhibited nationally and internationally.
“I have a love of nature and I am heavily inspired by the beautiful natural structures and textures found in plants, bark and corals, and it is this natural theme that forms the backbone of my work.Texture rather than colour has always been a key motif in my work and I utilize colour very occasionally preferring a soft wash of oxides.”
I started pottery as a hobby 40 years ago, I began with hand-building & then developed skills on the wheel. I worked a lot with red earthenware clay & developed designs using majolica glaze & oxides.
Since taking early retirement & moving to the North East I have bought a kiln & now work in stoneware & white earthenware clays & mainly hand build using slabs, coils & moulds. I love constructing forms / shapes with clay in various states, either soft coils or leather hard sections. I rely on decorating techniques rather than glazes, on most pieces. I use a clear glaze, as the decoration for me is the most important part. I have an interest in printing & textile design & use this as an inspiration for decorating my ceramics.
On stoneware clay I use coloured slips to decorate, sometimes in a very fluid way with brushes & sometimes in a more precise way using the scragfitto technique. I also use brush-on glazes with painterly oxide designs.
On white earthenware clay I make use of vibrant coloured underglazes to create designs inspired by textiles & photos taken on my travels.
I am a member of the Northern Potters Association.
Iveta, based in West Sussex, produces contemporary, handmade ceramics for domestic and decorative use, combining unique design ideas with traditional techniques.
All Iveta’s pottery is hand-made in white earthenware or stoneware. The pots are hand thrown on the pottery wheel or hand-built, using sheets of white clay, as well as combinations of both techniques. They are then engraved or carved and decorated with oxides and colourful glazes, although Iveta likes to decorate minimally to emphasize the natural colour and texture of the clay. They are finally fired in an electric kiln to 1020°C or 1240°C.
Clio is a potter and ceramicist living in Lancaster, having relocated from Somerset where she studied ceramics and gained her degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design.
Clio has been making slip-decorated earthenware, with wildlife and rural themes in a range of domestic ware for the last 22 years. More recently she also been making ceramic bird and animal sculptures, often mounted on driftwood and found materials.
Chris has been throwing & firing pots for over 40 years. His workshop is set in 6 acres of woodland on the banks of the river Tamar. Left untouched the land has water meadows and ponds, which has become a haven for the numerous wildlife in the area. The Tamar Valley has a long mining history and the workshop itself stands close to one of these mines. Tin, copper and tungsten were once mined here and the whole valley is rich in minerals, some of which are used in Chris's glaze. Chris's raku pots were recently featured in the first series of BBC'S 'Great Pottery Throwdown'. He is also featured in the newly published book 'The New Age of Ceramics' by Hannah Stouffer.
Raku is rapidly fired to around 1,000° C, it's then taken from the kiln whilst still red hot and placed in a container of wood shavings and sawdust: these instantly combust and the flames inside the container consume the oxygen causing the clay and the glaze to react. This reduction draws the metal in the glaze up to the surface creating the rich iridescent colours found on Chris's pots it is also what gives that distinctive wood smoke smell which dissipates over time. The chance occurrence of raku means that no two pieces are alike.
Jo Hearn is based in Staffordshire. “Following a Fine Art (Painting) Degree in London, I have worked as a painter using abstract /semi abstract subject matter. After obtaining my own kiln, I have been able to explore the medium of clay and glaze with great freedom. My wall plaques are based on images taken from my paintings and from photographs of landscapes. Using stoneware clay each piece is slab built, with relief, incised and bisque fired. I use a variety of underglazes, opaque and semi-transparent glazes and lustres, with 2-4 firings per wall plaque. The plaques are mounted on a sandblast glass backplate or on a white board. Each piece is unique.”
Shortlisted for the C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2017.
Winner at the New Light Prize exhibition 2017/18
Jan Huntley-Peace is an award-winning artist based in the South Lakeland in England. She started her career in couture dressmaking with Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and also in an international capacity for the Queens dressmaker, Norman Hartnell. She has a degree in Sculpture and Fine Art and it is this interface between creative inspiration, innovative techniques and exquisite detailing which make her work truly unique.
Jan specializes in figurative sculpture, vessels, portraits, and a unique collection of ‘Art to Wear’ jewellery using mainly porcelain, direct botanical print, found objects & bird imagery to express ideas of transformation and transition.
Jan exhibits widely and her work is in collections across the country.
“My studies of ceramics over the years have helped me develop techniques that create strikingly beautiful colours, textures and intense patterns. The simplistic ceramic forms I have chosen serve as a canvas for the naturally created images they carry." All of Dawn's work is bisque fired and then smoke/saggar fired. She has chosen not to rely on the usual ceramic slips, glazes and chemical treatments. Instead, Dawn incorporate natural materials in to the firing process, resulting in unique and unusual designs. "I also create my own types of 'glazes' in which my pieces are dipped and soaked. These are produced by, combining various materials and liquids."
Tony has been designing and making ceramics for over 25 years in Staffordshire. He works in hand thrown and slabbed porcelain, which is decorated using precious metal lustres with multiple refirings.
“I love things, which are interesting, varied, challenging and beautiful. So, I aim to achieve layers of interest in my work through the use of colour, texture and form. My current work explores the juxtaposition of precise, linear shapes with areas of loose, painterly decoration.”
Sarah creates unique contemporary handmade and hand decorated Porcelain inspired by the River Lune, Morecambe Bay and the beautiful Lake District.
Sarah originally trained as a potter and has had many different jobs since. She loves clay and always wanted to design and create with it. She studied at Chesterfield College of Art and is a member of the Guild of Craftsmen.
‘Porcelain has always fascinated me. It is so beautiful, delicate and special. I especially love the blue and white decoration. I have a lovely workshop based in an Old Mill on the side of the River Lune, so I'm surrounded by water, trees and wildlife. Very often I will go and sit next to the river and get inspired with designs that seem to come from nowhere. I get so much pleasure from creating these ceramics and i really hope you enjoy them.’
Syl creates her beautiful ceramic panels and vessel in her studio in North Pennines.
‘The constant factor in my work is the inspiration of pattern and texture in landscape. My College training in dual disciplines, ceramics and illustration lead to my fascination for the use of imagery in ceramics.
I spend periods sketching and photographing, before getting involved in a sequence of making derived from these observations. Living and working in the North Pennines has heightened my awareness of the changing moods and textures of the fells, woods and moorland.
The making process to create ceramic landscapes, is one of assembling areas of clay, which have previously been coloured, textured and patterned in a variety of ways. I use many techniques such as impressing, marbling, and printing with coloured slips and ceramic stains to create atmospheric landscape effects.’
My Professional making career has spanned some thirty-five years. I have been privileged to live and work in a variety of locations in the world each with a distinctive influence on what I think and make. It has been and continues to be an eclectic ride.
I hold dual British and Canadian citizenship and am presently living in England in a small ex mining village where my grandfather used to dig coal, I am making again under ancestral skies.
The present work is a combination of high and low temperature vessels and sculptures, the work is textured and then fired in kilns that enhance and flame paint the surfaces.
Anne-Marie has drawn and modelled animals from an early age. She gained a degree in ceramics from Middlesex University in 1992. Her work was selected for the Young Contemporaries exhibition at the V&A. She went on to set up her studio in the New Forest, where she was inspired by the animals around her.
Her travels around the world enabled her to study wild animals first hand, particularly in Africa.
Anne-Marie’s more recent work is based on the domestic and wild animals that inhabit the Forest around her studio.
Anne-Marie uses a variety of techniques to construct her work including slab building, press moulding, pinching and coiling. Interesting surface textures are achieved by experimenting with rolling the clay on a variety of materials.
The pieces are coloured with oxides and
under glazes and fired up to 1200c.
Anne-Marie’s work is constantly evolving, she shows her work in Galleries all over England.
Archie McCall retired from teaching at the Glasgow School of Art in 2011 after twenty-five years as lecturer, Head of Ceramics and latterly as Programme Leader for the BA(Hons) Programmes in the School of Design. He has lectured, delivered workshops and exhibited extensively throughout the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. He has now returned to full-time making at his home in New Abbey, near Dumfries.
The work is usually thrown and made in both stoneware and porcelain, richly decorated using motifs which have been developed and distilled from observation of the landscape and the natural world, particularly those of the south-west of Scotland.
“I hope the pots and their surfaces are filled with life; of things being born, growing, and maturing; things that have come from the earth and to which they will eventually return.”
The surfaces are built up using layer-upon-layer of glazes and oxides, then fired to 1300 degrees centigrade. A further firing at 780 degrees centigrade is required to fuse the gold or other lustres to the final piece.
“ I enjoy the challenges of painting directly onto the surface of the pots. Once started there’s no going back and no second chance – the marks either make sense or they don’t. The addition of gold or other lustres allows me to refer to the sudden changes of light which we are familiar in this part of the world”.
Archie’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections in the UK and abroad.
Eric Moss creates carefully engineered, modifiable ceramic sculpture. A mix of wheel-thrown, press-moulded and slab-built forms suggest a meld of mechanics with marine and plant life. Often multi-part and at varied scales, each unique sculpture can ‘standalone’ or combine with others in manifold display opportunities.
Julia Roxburgh’s career has taken her on an interesting path. Since graduating with a BA (Hons) Ceramics from Bristol in 1984, she went on to work as a theatrical prop maker in London, working
on well-known productions such as ‘Cats’ and ‘Miss Saigon’.
Her return to ceramics six years later brought with it all the fun, flamboyance and exuberance of the performance and it is still a major influence on her work today. Using white earthenware, Julia produces a wide range of domestic and interior pieces involving wheel throwing, hand-building and casting and many, many hours of decoration. This colourful slip decoration makes her work instantly recognisable. She embellishes her strong, bold forms with over-the-top baroque modelled details, vibrant patterns and glittering gilt finishes making each piece a handmade work of art.
Liz Scrine is based in Manchester and produces hand-built ceramic pieces, ranging from large coil pots to architectural light boxes to flat pieces that go on the wall. Characterised by richly coloured slips and glazes and a love of ancient architecture, the work conveys a sense of discovery – of having been unearthed after being buried for centuries.
An ongoing interest in glaze testing and experimenting with different techniques has resulted in hundreds of little samples of different colours and textures. These are her resource library.
Each lightbox is individually handmade out of a high firing creamy white clay with a stoney finish.
Ken & Valerie Shelton make all their work by hand; each piece is individually crafted in their Cheshire studio. Ken makes the pots from fine white earthenware. Pots thrown on the potters wheel are left to dry to a ‘leather hard’ state and are then turned on the wheel, trimming away excess clay to produce the final shape and a smooth polished surface. Valerie decorates each piece with free hand painting using ceramic colours. No transfers or guidelines are used so each piece is truly unique. A transparent glaze is applied over the colour and the pot is fired again in the kiln.
Based in Staffordshire, Mark Smith’s work draws inspiration from the sea, and each piece has its own story to tell. “When I produce a piece it becomes a narrative, the tale of a journey. Objects discovered on the shoreline find themselves becoming part of the story...Ships, boats, and wrecks are the main fabric of the work, made from clay that has the textures of metal and wood objects salvaged, press moulded, and patched together to produce a variety of forms that look as though they have sailed the Seven Seas.”
"I am a full-time gallery artist, living and working on the edge of the Peak District National Park. All of my new figurative ceramic sculptures are unique one-offs, hand-built in paperclay using a variety of different methods. The work is in a bold and semi-abstract style, with graceful sweeping curves and simplified details.
The main themes of my current work are re-interpretations of European folk tales such as Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, a darkly humorous tapestry of innocence and deception.
My version of this cautionary classic has a beguiling modern twist, for she has grown up to be a supremely confident young woman, spirited and charismatic. I empower the underdog, and thereby search for balance. However, once freed from the chains of oppression they tend to desire top dog status themselves. Concepts such as love, jealousy and danger also play a role in my work.
I also enjoy depicting the animals that inhabit these stories; for instance the wolves and bears of more dangerous times. Walk alone in the forest at night and the unruly subconscious will conjure a lurking malevolence. My work is solidly rooted in the figurative tradition, of all the artists of the past I particularly admire the work of Elie Nadelman. A Polish-born sculptor working in the earlier part of the last century, Nadelman was innovative in his wonderful sense of fluid line and form, influenced in turn by American folk art."
Toon Thijs was born in Brabant in the Netherlands in 1948, and following a training course at the Academy of Art at Tilburg he took up a post as teacher of art in the Academy at Arnhem. His studio work has always been an important part of his life and he has exhibited extensively in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. He has received many prizes for his work. In 2001 the visitors to the North Netherlands Ceramic Festival awarded him first prize and again in 2010.
Toon Thijs’s work is renowned for its unusual design that leads to exclusive, striking objects. Austere shapes are precisely finished off - Toon pays huge attention to details, with a remarkable rich use of colour.
A variety of techniques is often combined in making one single object: moulding, slab-building, modelling. Most objects are finished off with glazes and/or engobes rich in colour.
Toon’s vessels are made of very fine earthenware clay and/or porcelain paperclay, fired in an electric kiln up to 1085C.
Ali’s work is a collection of thrown, uncluttered porcelain forms in a variety of colours and marks but always with her signature background of white porcelain and red maker’s mark.
She throws and turns the pieces to a fine finish which, when unglazed and sanded, gives the porcelain a paper-like, tactile quality. Drawing on her design background she applies stains, oxides and slips, splashing or sponging away areas and inlaying lines with movement and spontaneity. Most decorating is done on the wheel to try and capture that feeling of movement on a static object and some pieces have the impression of endless landscape paintings wrapping around them.
All her work is both to look at and to use.
‘I have always drawn and designed and love the energy of random lines or marks, from a sketch, painting, beach combing. Anything is potential, found or seen. I draw and paint, alongside making pots, and enjoy how a simple line or mark can completely alter a piece and how the same shapes repeated, but with very different decoration, can form a cohesive family.’
Born in Scotland, Craig studied ceramics in Derbyshire, at Harrow College, and then at Portsmouth Polytechnic followed by a graduate assistantship at University of Eastern Illinois, USA. He now works from his studio in Cornwall.
In 2004 and 2006, Underhill was awarded Arts Council grants to produce and promote new bodies of work. Since 1997 he has lectured in Ceramics at Dudley College, and has exhibited extensively in the UK, France and The Netherlands. In 2013 he was an invited artist at the Landscape and Ceramics Symposium in Kecskemet, Hungary.
"I am a ceramic artist who uses mark making and drawing techniques to create rich, painterly surfaces on slab built vessel forms that suggest landscape I have visited or travelled through.
I prefer the softer surface that is achieved by using my hands to make a slab, as opposed to the harder and flatter finish achieved with a slab roller.
Texture is added to the soft slab of clay. Simple wooden tools are used to draw lines into the leatherhard surface. Coloured engobe is used like paint to create the surface imagery. I am cutting shapes from a slab ready to assemble into vessel forms. Pressure is applied with my fingers to make the joins secure. The vessel form is built up using sections of clay. A slab of clay is made bigger by throwing and stretching. I generally work on a group of 4 or 5 pieces at the same time."
Emma Williams makes low fired decorative ceramic bowls in her Nottingham studio from black & terracotta clays using the press-moulding process.
After applying slips and biscuit firing the work at 1000ºC she dips and pours on a range of glazes including textured 'crawl' glazes, so called because they pull or 'crawl' away from the clay surface as the electric kiln heats up to 1055ºC.
Emma draws inspiration for her work from observations of the natural world absorbed throughout her life.
Sonya first qualified in BA (Hons) Ceramics in 1995 and her experience spans many years, including teaching ceramics to children and adults. Since 2014 she has blended her love of nature with clay to produce unique leaf tableware, wall planters, porcelain jewellery and more recently sculptural vases. Her pottery is based in Bleadon village, North Somerset where she only has to walk a short distance to forage various leaves to inform her work.
In 2020 Sonya’s pond lily leaf dishes were used by Niall Keating, Executive Chef at Whatley Manor on BBC2’s ‘The Great British Menu’. Since then her work has also been aired on ITV’s ‘Love Your Weekend’ hosted by Alan Titchmarsh. She also sells her work to select galleries in the South West and Botanical and RHS shows nationally.
Sonya has always enjoyed using mixed clays and porcelain in her creations. She was inspired by the work of Ewen Henderson at college and this influence can still be seen in her work to this day. Her signature collection of vases are thrown on the potter’s wheel in varying layers of clays which encourage fissures to appear in the structure. This reminds us of the contortions we see in old trees, bark and skeleton leaves. Sonya is interested in how we view ageing, both in nature and our own society. Much like the wrinkles on our faces tell a story of our lives, the decay of natural forms also tell a story of natural transformation.
Lucy is a Lake District based fine artist and ceramicist whose works speaks of nature and the interplay between the wild and the human. Playful, delicate and infinitely beautiful, her work is intriguing and often whimsical with a warmth and humour which speaks to her heart.
‘Currently I am really enjoying the formal aspects of my personal artistic practice, I am taking pleasure from the simple act of appraising the aesthetic outcome of the work.
As an artist and particularly a fine artist, recently graduated from Lancaster university with First Class Honours, I have been trained to find meaning and reference within my works.
My practice at the present time is assemblage based with a sculptural core and is often an instinctive response to found materials and how they juxtapose with one another.
I take great pleasure from using objects to create visual language, human association with items and materials often assume expectations of outcomes and challenging these expectations with regards to use and value is both surprising and pleasing. I apply this methodology to the majority of my work at present, making both commercially successful pieces and works which are less likely to end up on a mantelpiece but which give people cause for conversation and thought.’