“The plasticity and infinite possibilities of clay never ceases to amaze. I am attracted to the discipline of throwing pots on a wheel because even with this restraint the variety of forms possible is endless. Although I have had a demanding career in biological research I have always made pots. Regretfully I have not had the time to do a formal ceramics course but many potters have freely given me help in developing my skill. Whilst studying in Cardiff I joined an arts group which introduced me to the ceramics department in the Art College and to Meira and Eric Stockle. Eric gave me my first lessons in throwing.
Following a move to Leeds I met further potters and attended a kiln building course as well as finding more opportunities to throw pots. However, it was a two year spell in Los Angeles that introduced me to my most important ceramics mentor – Sarna Krusoe. With her help I improved my throwing technique, started to appreciate glaze formulation, had my first experience of Raku and Pit firing, and started to appreciate the huge range of ceramic art. Returning to the UK, I built a wheel and kiln to produce and fire slipware. I now fire mainly at stoneware temperatures and focus on glazes and simple forms. Now family have left home, retirement, and the near completion of the latest building project mean I have more time to devote to pottery.
My influences are quite diverse and I am particularly attracted to Chinese pottery from the Sung Dynasty and have been trying to reproduce the range of subtle blues, greens, and whites from this period. Some earlier Chinese Tang pottery has a matt black finish with splashes of white which is surprisingly similar to some of the effects on Lisa Hammonds work. This has led me to experiment with underglaze slips and white glaze over black. I love freely applied splashes of slips and glazes. To produce more spontaneous pots which allow greater freedom for experimentation I throw tea bowls “off the hump” in coarse clays. These are partly inspired by the Japanese tradition started by Kenzan. The work of both Hans Coper and Lucie Rea also acts as a major stimulus in my work and I make frequent attempts to create the same feel as their work. I find the forms that Hans Coper developed very challenging and love to try and throw pots with very broad flat rims. Additionally the forms of many Nigerian pots always surprise and delight. I would love to create an original synthesis of some of these diverse influences.”