Welcome to my news page which I keep up-to-date with any significant information about me and my work, such as exhibitions for example. You can find more detailed and regular updates on how I work on social media. You can access them through my website or go directly via my Instagram or Facebook accounts.
This news page started its life in autumn 2016 when I was required to write a blog during my MA degree course in Ceramics at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK. Thus, going back you will find many blogs chronicling my artistic developments along with more personal observations made during those two years. 

Ceramic Art London 2017: The Talks

Out of the five talks offered on the day, I chose to attend four leaving me a bit of time to look around the stands. They were all very different. The first talk was "Stephanie Buttle in conversation with Duncan Hooson". I wanted to see this initially just to see Duncan, who for about four years was my pottery teacher in the weekly evening class I attended at Morley College in London years ago. He hadn't changed that much except for his dress sense - I knew him pre-hat. Anyway, I got a quick word with him to just say 'hello' and it was nice that he recognised my face. What impressed me most with Stephanie Buttle's presentation was her self assuredness. She used to be a ballet dancer and actr

Ceramic Art London 2017: Makers & their stands

Well, what a ceramics filled day – brilliant! Katie and I met up at Preston train station and headed down to London to go the Ceramic Art London show held at Central Saint Martins close to King’s Cross. There we met some other people from the MA courses. But, before we entered the main area we were surprised by co-student Kate’s “Rant Pots” display. She offered anyone who felt like it to enter into her large inflatable pot and to scribble their rant onto a potty, which was displayed among other rant pots. Once we got into the main exhibition space we were faces with ninety stands representing ceramics from ninety very different makers. The range was very diverse but what linked all their wor

Decorating Marquettes

Next big step on my making schedule would be to decorated my two larger figures. But, as I've spent such a long time shaping them, I'm proceeding rather cautiously. Thus, I'm now trying my hand at adding decorations to some of my little marquette. Instead of using the Mayco design liners, which are quite difficult to work with as the constant squeezing of the bottles can cause my right arm to ache, I'm trying out the Chrysanthos underglazes in the applicator bottles by Xiem. I actually didn't like this marquette without the decoration. The trumpet shaped opening was to dominant. However, this piece works much better with the black and white patterns. I've tried not to overcrowd every surface

Pottery gallery & Martin Creed exhibition at the Harris Museum

Met up with Pam to have a look around the Martin Creed exhibition currently at the Harris Museum in Preston. We had half an hour to spare before it opened and looked around their pottery gallery. It is not my first time looking at the display cases but this time I picked up on a few real gems hidden among this collection. For me outstanding were these: When we had a look around the Martin Creed exhibition. Well .... we had a real laugh. It really begs the question: What is art? I'm not convinced that I see his installations, etc. shown here as art but I admire his audacity to show them as art. However, if it means that art make you think about things in different way, then maybe... Anyway, w

Feed-back from tutors

Today I've had my first tutorial session with all three: David, Anna and Wendy, having missed the last one because of illness. That was very, very encouraging. I'm definitely on the correct path of achieving what I set out to do - AND I'm enjoying it! It is encouraging that they seemed also excited by what I'm doing and the direction my work is taking. I've showed them my two larger figures, samples of my smaller decorated pots and test tiles along with my various sketch books. I agree that my little pinch pots are the way forward and not my thrown pots. The thrown pots are not really good enough. I'd need to do a lot more practicing to get them to the required standard. But, more importantl

Sheffield day trip

Went off to Sheffield to meet up and interview an old friend, Saskia Palmer, to interview for my essay. I was also intending to question a local potter while I was there but, after initially agreeing to seeing me, she didn't seem to have the time after all. Anyway, I had a brilliant time looking around this vibrant northern city full of artists and opportunities. Puts Preston to shame! First, I had a look around Saskia's bijou studio, which is situated on the top floor of The Albyn Works, a converted Victorian factory in Neepsend, Sheffield. Saskia does lino printing and portrait painting. She works in her studio but also runs short printing workshops here. Not only was it great catching up

Trying Out Black Clay

​As I like working with strong graphic contrasts of black and white it only makes sense the try out a black clay not just search for a perfect white clay. So, I've got myself a little sample bag from Valentine Clays. Firstly, black clay is really red when wet and very, very, VERY messy! But because of the extra grog it has quite a lot of internal stability and is nice to do pinch pots with. I think adding areas of white will give me a good opportunity to vary my decorative style. As my work tends to be very controlled I like to introduce some controlled 'accidents'. I only have limited control when pouring white slip over these black clay pots. You cannot fuss around but have to commit. Once

Day out in Liverpool: Bluecoat & Tate

For over two weeks have I been planning to go to Liverpool. However, first a wall came down on the train lines and then there was a train strike. But finally I made it! First on my agenda was a visit to the Bluecoat Display Centre to see the Stalwarts exhibition, look around the shop and have a chat to one of the gallery officers. I had phoned ahead to find out whether someone was willing to talk to me and luckily Frances Gill-Smith was actually there on the day and could take some time out to talk to me. She was really very helpful and answered all my questions. What took me by surprise that the peak of their Christmas sales was outdone by their summer sales in part due to the cruise line

Eight decorated mugs finished

My first set of eight thrown and decorated mugs are finally finished - I think! They have taken me a long time and most have been in the kilns through four firings. They are not perfect but I have learnt a lot and have found a lot that I can build on. My favourite is the one in the front. It is just so nice and light and good to hold. What I'm taking forward from this is that I need to pay even more attention to the rims. I like them thin and slightly outward flared. However, I need make sure that they are not too thin so that the edge becomes sharp. It is amazing how much these mugs have shrunk during drying and firing. I would say at least by 15% from when they came off the potter's wheel.

Day out visiting York: part 3 'Flesh' exhibition & Pyramid Gallery

5. After a lunch, where we nearly again forgot to pay, we went to see the other currently exhibition in the York Art Gallery called “Flesh”. I wasn’t much prepared for what it was going to be about and would have never guessed the first art bit of artwork we encountered: a woman wearing nothing but an A4 of paper she was holding, a pair of black knickers and a purple strap-on dildo. However, beside her unusual get up she was very normal and we had a good chat with her. The exhibition was a mix of different art spanning different epochs and kinds of medium curated around its theme flesh. With my current focus on my personal ceramic work there were few pieces of art of interest to me, such as:

Day out visiting York: part 2 CoCA

3. After viewing the Anthony Shaw collection I moved back into the main hall to look at the displays there. Sue and Pam got interested in the ‘Hands On Here!’ experience that allowed them to handle a few ceramics including a small one by Merete Rasmussen. The large open central place is taken up by large Clare Twomey installation, an old large wooden pottery wheel table and two other ceramic displays: Grayson Perry’s Melanie, 2014 and the large pot Hua De Tu An, Flower Pictures II, 2007 by Felicity Aylieff. Personally I found Aylieff’s pot much more appealing as I was drawn to its surface decoration. Perry’s is not as immediate, not just because of its smaller size, but also as it is display

Day out visiting York: part 1 CoCA

Pam picked me up and drove us across to York where we met up with Sue in the York Gallery. After unintentionally alarming the staff in café by walking out without paying we decided to start with the CoCA exhibition. We spent the most time in the long gallery, which was divided into two display sections: 1. the regular display of ceramics in the tall long glass case and 2. the Anthony Shaw collection. 1. I started with the CoCA’s regular ceramics display in the long display gallery. It is totally packed full of pots so dense and in triple rows that it is difficult to view them. Just too much! So, I just went along and tried to pick out either pieces that immediately appealed to me or appeared

Developing larger figures: refining its shape

Coiling a closed shape like this figure has the advantage of being quite light in weight. However, it is difficult to close it as the last sections cannot be smoothed from the inside. I can only hope that my paddling will add overall strength. I am constantly looking and comparing the different angles and surfaces between the marquette and larger version to get a close match. Because the larger figure is quite heavy, has lots of curved surfaces and isn't hard yet the angles I can position it in is limited. The size and angle of the foot is posing the most problems. Having spent a lot of time coiling and refining the overall shape of my larger figure by continuously referencing the little mar

Developing larger figures: sizing up the marquette

Now I need to make a larger version of my marquette. I opted for coiling it. Dave suggested that I start with an upside-down dome which is what I did. However, first I marked up my marquette with a line transferring its shape to a piece of newspaper. I used this outline to determine the shape of my coils. The newspaper is helping to stabilise the shape. Always checking whether the large shape is similar to the marquette. Once it has dried and got a bit firmer I turn it on its back and continue my coiling. This causes various problems: - Access to the interior to smooth out the coils is difficult. - As the bottom is round and carries a lot of weight it tends to loose its shape and flatten o

Surface decoration on black clay pinch pots

Having tried out the design liners on little black test tiles I've decided to give them a try on four little black pinch pots. I really quite like the black clay except that it makes such a mess and doesn't work when you work with other clays at the same time. This clay is quite heavily grogged and isn't really ideal for little pinch pots but it was the sample I had ordered from Valentine Clays. So, I have now covered parts of these with white slip to try out a black/white decoration design. I hope the slip is a good fit to the black clay. Here they are in the kiln waiting to be bisque fired.

Surface decoration test: mug

This was the last in my group of four mugs which I made for trying out surface decorations. I used shellac resist on the base of the mug to create texture and then bisque fired it. As I wasn't sure whether the handle was going to hold as there were a couple of hairline cracks I didn't want to spend too much time in decorating it. I merely used a blue underglaze wash to bring out the texture. I glazed it wish a celadon glaze. First glaze firing was to about 1275ºc in an electric kiln. I didn't like the honey yellow glaze colour in oxidation and found the mug quite unappealing. However, the fine cracks didn't open up further and filled in with the glaze. I decided that I may be able to push th

Developing larger figures: starting off point

I have finally summoned up the oomph to start working on the development of the figures I want to decorate. This is leading on from work I started in preparation before starting on this MA. I did a whole set of drawings of different figures and chose one to make in clay ahead of starting my MA. I was hoping that this would give me a direction from the very start. I chose this one as I liked the relative simplicity of shape. However, I didn't want it to look at cute. I tried to develop this figure further by doing some sketches translating a rather 2-dimensional drawing into a 3-dimensional shape. I made this figure out of six pinch pots made from porcelain paper clay and then subsequently de

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