Whilst perfecting his throwing skills, apprenticeship to Lisa Hammond under the 'Adopt a Potter" scheme involved Darren Ellis in building a similar soda kiln. Master thrower, Matthew Bayman, takes woodfiring a step further, coppicing his own trees and utilising the resulting ash in his specialist glazes. If you would like to learn pottery from a man who can throw a perfect set of 5 bowls, we are happy to put you in touch with Matthew. Darren is continuing to support "adopt a potter", now working alongside Florian Gadsby who produces a fascinating photoblog on Instagram.
When we source new artists we often find a connection with Marion Brandis during her time as Ceramics Technician at Glasgow School of Art. Now based in Sussex, where she created her beautiful domestic ware to sell at Glyndebourne, Marion continues to experiment with ceramic sculpture, her seagulls featuring on the cover of the latest Brighton Artist Open Houses brochure and her Gallé inspired Cat watching carefully over Peggy in the Gallery.
A regular showstopper for our window display are the exquisite lustre bowls by Jonathan Chiswell Jones. These involve a third firing where silver and copper salts are deposited in a minutely thin layer and combine with the glaze. The design reflects light, and like oil on water, can break into iridescent colours. The process is uncertain and the results are a testament to Jonathan's skills.
Drawing into the clay will affect the way glazes react, deepening colours, creating patterns. See the delicate sgraffito stoneware by Elizabeth Renton, the incised lines enhancing the serene and tranquil forms. For Tessa Wolfe Murray decoration is an interplay of incised lines on surfaces that have been textured, built up, impressed or distorted. Whereas Carys Davies creates a deliberate horizon line in her porcelain pots, reflecting the rugged landscape with hedges and ditches, using words to resonate. Holly Bell is more than a little obsessed with the breadth of colour to be found at the line of the horizon, colour that changes constantly with time of day, weather conditions. She uses layers to draw the eye, pairing glazes that will overlap and create a depth of colour and surface unhindered by handles. Jessica Jordan develops her ideas through drawing, print and paint within her sketchbook, translating these ideas into sculptural marks on the clay washed over with oxides and/or coloured slips to highlight the textures that are already on the surface.
Each clay is carefully selected for its properties. Julia Smith works with black clay inspired by the lava and geothermal landscape in Iceland. Ros Perton uses porcelain for its innate ability to respond to and reflect ambient light and colour; she then balances a piece of silver on the rim, allowing the firing process to determine the emerging pattern. Parian clay is a self-glazing body, extremely translucent and ideally suited for casting Jillian Riley’s bottles, subsequently decorated with oxides and waxes and her own pen and ink illustrations of ravens, crows, bats and bugs. Sarah Grove works with Paper Porcelain, laying the clay into plaster moulds taken from her fabric designs; a touch of pearl glaze reminiscent of the pearl buttons from the original sumptuous fabrics. Elaine Bolt is currently experimenting with local clays in a year long project funded by the Arts Council working with basket weaver Anne-Marie O'Sullivan (Making Ground). Her current collection of sculptural pieces blur the boundaries between created and found, using porcelain, terracotta and local clays, alongside found and reclaimed objects.
The act of making is central to Sian Patterson, each piece wheel thrown, hand trimmed with a restrained palette of unique glazes, often combined in subtle contrasts. How each individual piece feels to hold and to use is as important as the collection's appearance and visual coherence.
The Marshes are moody evocative places, especially early morning when our wildlife artists prefer to visit. This same sense of isolation, reminiscence and contemplation is key to understanding Rowena Brown's sculpture, look closely for the marks of abandonment and environmental damage, stand back for that moment of memory.
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