Roger Cockram | Observations of the Sea and the Coastline

Roger Cockram

"My particular interest lies in observations of the sea and coastline near my home in Devon

The Coastline

Although my work is mostly thrown on the wheel, it is distinctive in the way it seeks to explore fundamental features of the natural world. 

My particular interest lies in observations of the sea and coastline near my home in Devon – and many of the pieces act as ‘caught moments’ of movement and colour.

These colours and the sense of depth in the surfaces, along with the rhythms in the altered forms hopefully suggest timeless qualities and evoke the changing features of sea or sky.

Following these observations, ideas are ‘resolved’, to catch their essence and to make the piece accessible as a piece of ceramic.

Firing and Glazing

Roger Cockram Vessel
I often use several layers of brushed dry and running glazes, which interact during the long firing process to give a strong sense of fluidity, movement and depth. 

My work is mostly thrown in high-temperature fine porcelain - and the work results in various vessel forms, sometimes quite large. Often the work on the wheel is altered in some way – be it by partially folding to make a bowl oval – or inserting spirals into the piece whilst wet to enhance a feeling of rhythm. I often use several layers of brushed dry and running glazes, which interact during the long firing process to give a strong sense of fluidity, movement and depth.

All my work is once-fired to Cone 11 in a reduction kiln.

I had an interest in the sea and the natural world from a young age – but pursued it initially as an interest in science. So my first career was in Zoology and I have a degree in Marine ecology. However, after a period working in the field, I began to think differently about the world and a frankly life-changing time at Harrow College of Art in the 1970s allowed a new vision of the world around me. I set up a studio in rural Devon to make wood-fired domestic stoneware pots for the next 10 years. When, finally, my love for the sea re-emerged, I moved much nearer the coast and began to use my observations of it in my work. 

Roger Cockram Vessel
Two Careers

I now look back on my two careers as being, philosophically very similar – but pursued and expressed in quite different ways.

My early ceramics heroes were Mick Casson, Walter Keeler and Colin Pearson, but as time has gone on, the work of many artists impresses me. I particularly admire the jugs and decorated bowls of the Danish artist Birgitte Borjeson, but in truth, there are far too many (and various) names to mention them all here. I have a catholic taste.

Finally, I would say that a potter - be he/she an artist in ceramics or a designer/craftsman making useful pieces of domestic pottery – is a very lucky person. We have the opportunity to use surely the most flexible material on the planet – either to make objects which speak of ourselves – (however consciously or unconsciously), - or on the other hand, we have an opportunity to enable others to see a piece of the world through our eyes. It’s just a rare treat." Roger Cockram 2019 

Roger Cockram




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