simple • functional • beautiful
I pot in my studio at the end of the garden, here at my home in Buckinghamshire.
A few sessions on the potters wheel at a local Evening Class in 1991 and the book associated with the BBC Programme ‘The Craft of The Potter’, which had first inspired me to take up Pottery many years before and I was hooked. A wonderful lady on the evening course was emigrating and sold me her wheel along with a small kiln. I set up in the lean-to on the side of our house and shared the space with our cats. Developing my skills was a slow process over the years, working full-time and bringing up two children took priority. Eventually I took over the cricket pavilion in my garden that had once been the children’s playroom and created a wonderful space to work. I happily made pots that were functional and had a purpose with clean lines, slip trailing and bright glossy glazes for many years.
An out of character decision to apply for series 2 of The Great Pottery Throwdown resulted in a place on the show and subsequently an internship with Kate Malone. This in turn helped with and inspired my application to the newly formed Clay College in Stoke on Trent. which was to teach the core, fundamental skills necessary to become a studio potter.
Clay College provided a wealth of experience in production throwing, developing glazes, building kilns and experimenting with a variety of firing techniques. More importantly it gave me the space to explore the possibilities of clay. The knowledge and teaching provided by more than 20 of the most successful Studio Potters who make their living through ceramics along with the expertise of Course Director, Kevin Millward, has evoked the essential skills for years of further development.
I graduated in 2019 and continued at Clay College to assist with the new intake of students. My current focus has been to utilise simplistic contemporary forms, exploring the interaction between inclusions and mark making with simple ash and white glazes. In combination these draw out the nature of the body in both reduction and oxidation firings. The aim is for my work to be appealing, while remaining functional. This is an ongoing exploration of possibilities and I look forward to sharing many of the skills I learnt at Clay College.
Pavilion Pottery is, unsurprisingly, based out of a cricket pavilion and is being updated currently to accommodate more wheels within the teaching space and a new gas kiln is expected soon.
Elaine will run classes in several aspects of Pottery such as glazing and use of slips in 2020.