Inspiration and technique

In my work I try to capture the poignant beauty and drama of weathering and corrosion - the point of balance between existence and decay. I find the vessel form the most satisfying to use and I enjoy the traditional method of wheel-throwing, which adds to the sense of capturing time. I like the simplicity and elegance of form achievable with throwing-ribs to eliminate finger ridges and I use 'T' material - strong, high-quality, coarse clay - that I mix with a smooth white stoneware to make it throwable. Forms are thrown slowly and meticulously to give thin-walled, yet strong, subtly rugged, finely balanced pieces. Large forms are thrown in several sections, with much refining, when leather hard, similar to a hand-built, coiled pot.

For many years I have experimented with methods of colour application to the surface of my pots, having been entranced by the peeling paint and sun-faded natural colours in Southern Europe. Later, living near the coast in Kent added a contrasting strand to my work - stark, white chalk, deep green/blue sea, erosion and the natural colours and markings of flints. I use vitreous slips, which I mix and intermix from raw materials with primary pigments; in this way I achieve an infinite palette of subtle colours, which I apply to the exterior surface in layers, whilst the pot is still damp. The expressive, apparent randomness of the design belies the laborious and careful method necessary to achieve it. Concentration is of the essence, as the ratio of dampness of pot to slip is crucial and the resulting colour is not revealed until after the final firing. The interior matt glaze is formulated to complement and provide a dramatic contrast to the rugged exterior. I like to make fine-walled pots, so stoneware firing ensures that the piece is strong and durable. (NEW) 5 minute video - edited by Helen Smith