Featured Makers 2015
|Sabine Nemet in her studio|
|Sabine Nemet Jugs|
The excitement of staying up all night feeding an ever hungry kiln, constantly evaluating the impact of when and how much wood to put in the firebox, has never left her. To fully utilise the effects of wood firing and soda glazing she treats the external surface with coloured slips or no slips at all.
|Beakers by Sabine Nemet|
As with her glazes, Sabine's forms are deceptively simple. Sabine likes her pots to be inviting to touch. This can be seen with the soft roundness of her work. They ask to be picked up and used on a daily basis. Sabine throws, sometimes altering, cutting and then reconstructing. Her approach to simplicity follows through into any decoration. Stamps made from carved porcelain echo nature, seeds, leaf patters, flowers... Used sparingly or in clusters, the stamps complement the form, working together with the wood and soda.
|Lidded Jar by Sabine Nemet featuring stamped decoration|
|Sabine Nemet Large Jug|
Matthew WarnerApprenticeships can offer the experience of working alongside and to learn directly from experienced makers. Matthew Warner began a two-year apprenticeship under Julian Stair after graduating from Camberwell College of Art in 2012. The apprenticeship was with the support of The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.
|Matthew Warner - Cups|
|Matthew Warner - Large Bowl|
"I am currently making Porcelain Tableware ranging from simple cups and saucers to complete dinner services, Milk Jugs to Teapots. I try to make my pots with the elegance of 18th Century porcelain while retaining a contemporary aesthetic. All of my work is thrown and trimmed on the potters wheel which means that no two pieces are identical. When the pieces are used the variations becomes apparent and each carefully considered detail reveals itself."
"Pottery was at the heart of the industrial revolution and helped transform the way we live our lives. I want to inspire people think about these common objects and what they signify in everyday life."
|Micki Schloessingk in her studio|
Micik Schloessingk is a maker who embraces the challenges of wood firing and salt glazing. She approaches the process, not just as a technical reaction where wood or salt and flame heat the clay, but one where" The weather, the wood, the energy of the firers all contribute to making each pot individual."
“Aged 11, I had a wonderful art teacher who used to go to Winchcombe in the school holidays and help Ray Finch and the team there. He passed on his enthusiasm for making useful pots to me. At about the same age, I read 'A Potters Book', which reinforced that enthusiasm. This seed lay dormant for the next 19 years, but once it germinated, it has sustained me ever since.
I believe making pots for a living is a group activity, and have worked with numerous assistants over the past 40 years. The further ceramics moves from being craft based and teachable, the narrower the market for these products is likely to be. This has been the trajectory of the past 20 years and maybe longer. 'Art' can mean almost anything today. 'Ceramic art' likewise. But making useful pots brings its own constraints, as does working within a tradition. Personally I find these limits provide a useful and productive focus.”
Jonathan’s work has an important place in a long tradition of those who have used reduction fired lustre decoration. From the potters of the Islamic world 10 centuries ago, to Alan Caiger-Smith here in Britain- and to Jonathan himself, all have been beguiled by the elusive beauty which fire and clay, copper and silver combine to create. Exploring the possibilities of clay as a material is an absorbing challenge for Jonathan. He designs from life experience, his designs are a re-working what he has seen and loved.
Jonathan who says that “passing on skills which have been hard won is important to me”, he believes that pottery is a craft-based activity that can be open to anyone willing to devote the time and effort to learn the skills. Along with his assistant Kerry Bosworth he is currently training an apprentice who has been helped by the charity "Adopt a Potter".
|John Calver in the Studio|
John Calver studied Civil Engineering at London University and worked as an engineer for five years in Newcastle-on-Tyne and Kingston, Jamaica. Attendance at an adult education class in Newcastle aroused an interest in clay. That interest became all-consuming, and, on his return to England from Jamaica in 1973, John established his own work-shop at Yealand Redmayne in North Lancashire. From 1973 to 1978 he produced a range of burnished and glazed earthenware. 1979 saw another opportunity to travel abroad and he spent two years in Egypt. On returning to his workshop in 1981, John began making the stoneware work he is well known for.
|Detail from large plate - £184|
|Small Jug £46|
I had a great ceramics teacher during my A-levels - she was so good, she actually gave me a potters wheel from the classroom when she retired! This started it all off for me, as I then started practising throwing in the shed at home.
At this point I was determined I wanted to be a potter, so I approached Aylesford Pottery in Maidstone, Kent. The guys there were great teachers and very supportive! I started off going just a couple of days a week, but as I got better it was becoming more full time. After around 3 years of training I decided to start my own business and build a small workshop - I have now been a full time potter for around 8 years developing my Crystalline glazes."
|Matt Horne - Crystalline glazed vase.|
|Matt Horne - Crystalline glazed vessels|
|Keith Varney in the studio|
|Carol Wainwright in her studio.|
I found the formal design work expected of the ceramics students too much of a challenge and opted for NDD in the painting studios.
Twenty years and many pot purchases later, living in Farnham, I was back into ceramics at West Surrey College of Art and Design. Three years of hard work and practical training followed. Nigel Wood’s technical lectures, incredibly helpful technicians, many visiting ceramics makers. Multiple staff, including Takeshi Yasuda who lent me his kiln plans, from which I and another student built my first gas fired kiln, Sebastien Blackie who obtained the bricks for me, Duncan Ross and Liz Try who were so patient and helpful to all of the students; access to all the college facilities, free movement within various departments, all these things amounted to a wonderful resource. With visits to other makers in various disciplines, glass, blacksmithing, cabinet making, it was a tremendously rich education.
At the time I found being a student, almost twenty years older than my fellows, hard going, but looking back, I could never have been self-taught. I met some extraordinary people, learnt how to prepare glazes and clay and that I so much needed to work with the stuff.
Thank you art school education. As Bob and Roberta Smith said, “All schools should be Art schools.”