The work and the working methods of John Maltby have greatly influenced my work. It was a plate by John bought from a gallery in St Ives which was the first real piece of ceramics i bought and is still one of my prized possessions. This was at an early age and i was fortunate to meet John on a few occasions both personally, as a student and professionally. John was a student in Leicester with my Mother studying sculpture and the sculptural aspect of Johns work is clear to see.
One of the first pots i bought from the Yew Tree Gallery was a pot by Robin Welch. As a young teenager the pot fascinated me as it was very different to anything i had seen before. The clay was very rough and there were broken holes through the sides. I did spend a great deal of time trying to create my own versions of this pot with some very rough clay. My hands did take some punishment but i did learn a great deal. I have met Robin on a few occasions at Rufford and my parents have kindly purchased a few more of his pots for me over the years.
The work of Colin Pearson has been a major influence for me and anyone who knows my work will see why. I was lucky enough to meet Colin while at Farnham as he was my external examiner. I also met him many years later at Rufford and was able to buy a small piece from him
I worked with both Jim Malone and Mike Dodd in Cumbria in the late eighties when they were running the studio ceramics course in Carlisle. It was a very different philosophy to a way of working than i was used to but over the years Jim and his work grew on me. I gained valuable experience in the understanding of material and form which i now feel drawn to.
Jaqueline Poncelet came to Farnham to give a lecture when i was a student and showed some fascinating work. At the time there were a number of potters with very different ideas of the way pots should be made. Another of these potters was Carol McNicol who was very well know but i did just not relate to her work. Although Jaqueline’s work was certainly not a vessel the use of clay and glaze combinations showed, for me, a truth to the material. A number of potters at the time seemed intent in disguising what materials they were using.
I have to include Paul Soldner for obvious reasons but i personally prefere his earlier work which was more about the vessell and the surface of the vessell. His later pieces are more experimental but they loose the surface qualities of the fireing technique.
Peter Beards work i have seen at Rufford and my parents have a wall piece that i see every time i visit. For me it is the form rather than the glaze and surface which i find interesting.
Duncan Ross was our Chief Technician at Farnham and was very helpful, especially when i got my first job as a Technician in Cumbria and gave me some very valuable technical advice (including this tip; always walk around with a cup of coffee – it makes you look like you are too busy to stop and drink it – sorry Duncan!). Duncan’s skill was with the kilns and it is no surprise to see how his work has developed into these incredibly detailed pieces.
I have bought a few earlier pieces of Carlos Versluys work which incorporated much more surface relief work. His later work to me has become a canvas and his decoration is that of a painter.
One of the first inspiring pottery books i bought was called ‘Raku’ by Richard Hirsch. This seemed to open up endlass possibilities of surface techniques that i could try in a very low tech way. I like the idea of random effects and the fireing process creating the results while not affecting the surface quality and form.