I love adventure, taking risks, pushing boundaries. I love the countryside, the sea, and the mountains. And I live in a remote valley farm, deep in the Chiltern Hills.
For most of my life I have been involved with ceramics in one way or another. When my family were growing up I worked at the prestigious Douglas Watson Studio, making and decorating ceramics tiles. And I was Artist in Residence for 18 months at the local primary school, in the years leading up to the millennium, working with the children to create a 3 x 2 metre relief tile mural for the new school’s reception area.
Following the success of the tile mural I was encouraged to follow a more formal education in ceramics, and after achieving an A level (Aa) in Ceramics at a local college, I gained a place to study for a BA (Hons) in Ceramics and Glass at Bucks New University. It was during the 2nd year of my degree, whilst experimenting with smoke-firing, that I discovered the unusual technique of ‘pit-firing’. This is a process in which pots are buried in sawdust in a large deep trench, surrounded by seaweed and other organic material, and then a large fire is built over them, which at its height reaches about 1100 degrees centigrade. The pit is then sealed, and 2 days later it is uncovered to discover the results buried in the ashes.
After graduating I successfully applied for ‘SEEDA’ Leader Funding to convert a redundant old dairy building into a working studio. This aims to support rural businesses through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and provided me with a 50% match funded grant. I now work in this beautiful old building, surrounded by the hills and the countryside that I love.
All my work is hand built, and the surface of the pieces burnished and refined to produce a beautiful tactile quality, which is enhanced by a final waxing on the finished work. I am constantly reviewing the process, adapting the pit to reduce the number of breakages, and finding new materials to give different colours and surface patterns on the ceramics. This exciting and highly risky technique is entirely at one with my personality, and when the pieces survive the results are stunning and completely unique. So since graduating in 2008 I have been embarking on a long voyage of discovery, to discover the mysteries and magic of the process, and to create beautiful ceramics.