Thursday, 24 November 2011

Gifted - this weekend

A sneak peak at some of the new work that will be on show at Gifted this weekend. Show starts tonight 6pm-8pm and continues over the weekend 10am-6pm Sat and 11am-5pm on Sunday. At Garry Olson Gallery, 17, Stoney Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 6LG

Thursday, 13 October 2011


I have been looking at teapots, drawing teapots, using teapots and finally today I attempted to make a teapot! It’s a bit on the small side, like most things I make but I am pretty pleased with my first attempt!!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Gifted 2011

Now in its third year Gifted is a selling exhibition featuring work by six local artists, utilising wood, metal ceramics, textiles and collage. An excellent opportunity to browse a range of unique and affordable Christmas gifts.

Garry Olson - Furniture
Sylvia Glover - Thrown tableware
Jane Mitchell - Textiles and collage
Karin Sheldon - Jewellery
Christine Emck - Sculpture
Sarah Malone - Ceramics

Opening times;

Friday 25th November 6.00pm - 8.00pm (preview)
Saturday 26th November 10.00am - 6.00pm
Sunday 27th November 11.00am - 5.00pm

Clay Connections

I attended the preview night for Clay Connections at the Willow Art Gallery in Oswestry last night. What a beautiful town and lovely gallery space. I had a great evening, not just for the artwork which was truly fabulous but the owner, furniture maker Peter Vidal showed us around his amazing workshop and took the artists out for dinner! A first for me! Sitting around the table were potters; Margaret and David Frith, Jacqui Atkin, Wendy Lawrence, Sue Crossfield, Gordon Cooke, Brigitte Soltau, Karin Hessenburg, Nicholas Marsh and me!! I had to pinch myself!! Sorry it’s probably not cool to be star struck, but I am!! You can tell by all the!!!!!

This lovely exhibition is on until 5th November. Other artists exhibiting in the show are David Binns and Annie Tortora.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

London Trip

Two days in London overdosing on art, design and craft;

'Portraits in the Making' was great - a fantastic eclectic mix of work in the beautiful setting of the Pitzhanger House and Gallery. I loved when walking around the house how some of the objects starkly stood out of place in their setting, while others sat quietly as if they had always been there and would always be there. Those objects were harder to spot as they were so relaxed in their setting. In both circumstances the objects demanded attention and were inviting you to respond to them.

The 'Power of Making' was very interesting and heaving!! Great to see so many people visiting the exhibition though, especially all the younger audiences. Hopefully getting inspired and hooked on materials and making!! I felt the display of work was celebrating the extremes of making, showing people how far the material could be stretched and how far the artists are willing to push it. It reminded me of the ostentatiousness of The Great Exhibition in 1851. There were so many eclectic and outrageously over the top objects on display, showing off the technology we had available at the time. Never mind whether we needed a 50 blade penknife, with technology we could make one and we would make one. The ‘Power of Making’ showed the extreme possibilities of materials and making and hopefully will lead to a new generation of makers who are excited to explore the qualities of those materials and their uses. I was a bit surprised how small the exhibition was though and it meant not everything was covered and was very disappointed there was nothing about ceramics, which I thought was a bit strange! The best bit was the videos of people, playing up on the walls on big screens, real intense close-up shots of people in the moment of making. There was one where a group of men were sitting in a circle hammering in unison a metal bowl, while one man spun the wheel it was turning on. It was mind blowing that these 6 people could work in unison to shape the bowl, it was like watching a human machine turning, absolutely stunning!! None of the men wore shoes and how they didn't miss the bowl and batter their feet is beyond me!

My highlight was the stunning and hugely comprehensive display of ceramics on the 6th floor of the V & A - totally awe inspiring!! And as usual there's just not enough hours in the day, one of these days I am going to camp out in that room for at least a month!! Another treat was the beautifully curated display of religious relics and reliquaries in the 'Treasures of Heaven' exhibition at the British Museum, very atmospheric and definitely worth a visit.

And to top it all a fantastic two hours spent engulfed in all the fabulous talent at the Origin preview night - shattered now!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Home Studio

It has taken a while but finally the studio is finished, all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it! Could you believe you could transform an old 1960's concrete garage into a beautiful, functional ceramics studio.

It is a lovely, airy, light space to work in and at the moment probably the cleanest it will ever be! The whole job from beginning to end has taken 5 months and has been done by my partner Frazer (in-between working offshore) and myself. Apart from the all important electrics which was done by the fantastic 'Electric Mark' - a friend and family member and the kilns were fitted by the lovely Dylan from Northern Kilns. So a big thank you to all who have been involved and a massive thank you to Frazer, for all his hard work, enthusiasm and patience!!

I haven't really had chance to get in there properly yet, just a bit of pottering and assisting family members to throw on the wheel. But that's the great thing, its there just outside my kitchen door and I can pop in whenever I like, for however long I want and I couldn't be happier!

Watch this space.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Grafika Exhibition

The 'grafika' exhibition started this week at the RBSA Craft Gallery in Birmingham. It is a selection of makers who explore mark-making, graphics and illustration within their work, whether it be jewellery or ceramics. Amongst other pieces of my work 'the cracked pot' was selected for the exhibition.

Having previously studied graphic design I have always been inspired by type, so it seemed very natural to express myself using words on my ceramic wares. I was also inspired by the Japanese tea ceremony and had been looking for stories and poetry to write onto my porcelain teacups, when I came across an old Indian tale about a cracked pot. A water bearer in India carried two water pots from the stream to his master’s house, but one of the pots had a crack and leaked. The perfect pot was proud of itself perfect for which it was made. The cracked pot on the other hand was ashamed of himself and apologised to the bearer for its failure. The water bearer responded with;

“Did you not notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path........that’s because I have always known about your flaw.............I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and everyday while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.”

Monday, 25 April 2011

Home studio project

I have been busy building my home/studio this year. I have been at Bankley Studios in Levenshulme since I graduated from MMU in 2007 and have loved it there. But in order to move forward with my ceramics and spend more time in the studio and less time travelling to/from it, I have decided to work from home. We moved house last year and fortunately it already had a double garage, so after quite a few alterations I now have a large, bright and more importantly, dry and insulated studio space to work from. There's still quite a bit to do like the electrics, lighting, plumbing and fitting all the shelving and worktops but that should all be finished by the end of May. I can't wait to get in there and get creative again. I haven't applied for any shows this year which will allow me to settle in and give me some creative time to work on some new ideas. More progress pics to follow.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Clay Connections

Clay Connections - a celebration for National Ceramics Week by North West makers including; Alex Mcerlain, Annie Tortora-Cailey, Brigitte Soltau, Catrin Mostyn-Jones, Gordon Cooke, Jacqui Atkin, Paul Smith, Me, Stephen Dixon, and Sue Crossfield. Exhibition starts Monday 4th April - Saturday 14th May.

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Come and meet the artists in the theatre foyer on Thursday 5th May from 6.00pm - 7.30pm

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Heaven in a Rage

I have been busy building my home studio therefore I haven't been very creative of late, but after being commissioned to make some porcelain birds I picked up my pencil and paintbrush (for the first time in a very long time). I started drawing a robin which got me thinking of the William Blake poem - Auguries of Innocence;

"To see a world in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro' all its regions."

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Picture boxes

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair - 2010

Lidded vessels

I am usually driven by the need to express myself with clay, which may come from an idea within or something I have read or seen. But with these lidded vessels I have been driven by the making process. After sitting on the wheel trying to improve my throwing skills I just wondered if I could make a lid to fit a cup (after having placed a circular brooch onto a cup and thinking it looked good!) I made about 20 or so different shaped vessels with varying lid styles. Usually I love not having a plan when I am on the wheel, working quite freely but with these vessels I was having to concentrate very hard and measure precisely (not me at all!)
I had some disasters with the lids sticking in place during the stoneware firing and was told to just tap with a rolling pin to free the lids. 10 broken pots later I realised this was very unsatisfying for me and the poor pots!! After a desperate e-mail to my uni lecturer Alex I was told that by just applying a small amount of alumina to the lids the sticking would be rectified. Ever since then I haven't had to take a rolling pin to any of my pots!!


Brown earthenware bottles with carved detail and a turquoise glaze. Would you believe with all three bottles I have used the same glaze! It just depends how thick it is applied. I am really trying to exploit this quality of the glaze by carving out detail in the pots for the thick glaze to sit in.

Porcelain bottles with stripes - a new style for me. Its not floral!!

Something new for me. I usually throw my bottles on the wheel but after having taught a group how to slab build it inspired me to have a go with porcelain. Really want to have another attempt at this way of making. With the bead detail I created an indent around the whole disk which allowed the silk thread to sit inside it. This has worked really well - a nightmare to thread but looks good!

I threw this bottle in two halves and attached together before turning on the wheel. It allowed me to make a larger vessel than normal but my aim is to generally get throwing on a larger scale.

Bud vase - trying out new inlay colours. I usually use green and blues but these reds and browns have worked well.

Nestled bottles

The bottles always look good when they are nestled together. I made some shallow trays for this purpose. Still in the early design stages but I really like the results and will work on this idea further. One bottle on the tray looks equally nice.


Essesntially the Buddahs came about after realising my bottles looked quite like people. Which got me thinking on the wheel to close up the bottle form, thus creating a head. I then carve detail into the surface and infill the lines with coloured clay, then use underglazes and oxides to create more detail. I then finish off the Buddha with silk thread and beads.


New brooches that have essentially been inspired by my bottles with silk thread and bead detail. Quite excited by this new work and think there is plenty of room for improvement and development.

Giant porcelain and earthenware button brooches with inlaid flower detail and silk thread