My process starts with a wheel thrown pot made considering proportion and functionality so that it is useful, comfortable and well crafted. Each pot is then a blank canvas for the layering of colour and drawings that make my work recognisable.
I use paper resist and sgraffito in my decorating process, building up layers of colour and texture with mark making and drawing freehand into the surface. I am influenced greatly by printmaking techniques and use these to create the shapes and coloured designs. All of my pigments and underglazes are mixed by hand in order to have an infinite palette of subtly different hues.
This process is very time consuming and intricate but I enjoy every stage of it.
It all begins with drawing and I have several sketchbooks of different sizes on the go at all times.
The design is cut with a very precise craft knife in paper and is the applied to the clay surface in layers to allow for several colours. The detail is then carved into the clay using a pin or even sometimes a literal sewing needle to get the very fine lines. I have made my own tools to get the precise line I need. The details are all drawn freehand and once an illustration is used it can’t be used again as I never print replicas or draw the exact thing twice. I feel like this spontaneity is an important part of the process so copying carefully from an existing pot doesn’t work.
The surface design is applied before firing and so there’s only a certain amount of time when I can work on it before it is too dry and will crack. This means I can only work on a certain number of pots at a time and I am very happy with this. I need to consider the balance of colour and the placement of the drawings for each pot and would feel unsatisfied if I had to rush them.
Once fired, the pots are glazed and fired again which develops the colours and makes them ready for use.