I was born here in the Derbyshire Dales, the area where I still live and have deep roots in this area; my family has lived here for generations. I have always been aware therefore, of the early industrial past that surrounds me, it being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
For several years now, I have been developing an interest in the history and qualities of early18th C. ceramics the time of the Lunar Men, The Enlightenment and the very beginnings of Industrial Ceramics.
I often feel however that modern potters have ignored 18th century English ceramics as a source of inspiration, possibly because of it’s links to the worst excesses of the industrial revolution.
During this period however, pioneers such as Josiah Wedgewood, Thomas Whieldon and William Greatbach took what was basically a cottage industry and transformed it into a hugely successful worldwide concern. The pots were still made substantially by hand but with a new sophistication born of newly discovered white clays and research into glaze and body technology.
So in 2013 after many years of making decorative Raku I decided it was time to look afresh at what I was making and try to incorporate into it some of the elements of the ceramics of this period. Spending many hours in museums and studying specialist journals, I began to absorb the forms and details of the pots of this period.
Putting this research to use in my own work has meant manufacturing specialist tools such as roulettes and handle dies, which I have designed and made based on originals in museum collections.
Referencing the forms and techniques of eighteenth century Creamware and using fresh, modern colours, my present work wass a contemporary take on traditional 18th C tableware. More recently, owing to hand problems caused by arthritis, I have developed a new way of working with the same clays, glazes and colours developed for the Creamware.
The works showcased here are the same high-fired earthenware but revolve around vessels thrown and decorated with underglaze slips. Making this way allows me to hand build some of the larger forms relieving the stress on my hands.
The motifs used in the decoration are from various sources; some are re-imagined from previous work, some are from drawings of objects seen or remembered or from things observed that have hung around in the recesses of my subconscious for years before surfacing.