A selection of current work is available to buy in the Jen Smith Ceramics Shop
My studio pottery is made using a beautiful red terracotta clay. Each piece is wheel thrown in small batches from my studio in South Block, (wasps studios) Glasgow.
I make work that is for everyday use though I’m a studio potter rather than a production potter. Each piece I make is one of a kind because of the decorative process and surface design I use. Combining printmaking techniques and botanical illustration I create layered, weathered surfaces. The fine details of my line drawings are carved free hand into the clay surface before it’s fired. The deep red clay revealed below the surface gives each drawing definition and depth.
I keep a sense of uniformity with the forms I make. Each mug for example is the same shape and proportion but the decorations means there will never be another like it. In this way I feel like my pots all belong to a family, are all part of the same group and yet stand on their own too. I have always liked handmade work because you can choose the exact object that you like. You can see what has been made and collect your favourites, the ones that already feel familiar and important. There is something deeply enjoyable about being able to collect a piece of handmade ceramic, use it in your life everyday, and know it is the only one in the world. It makes the connection between owner and maker more tangible somehow.
I have always made work which is influenced by my upbringing in the coastal towns of East Yorkshire. Living in the city of Glasgow for the past ten years, there are huge parks and it’s so close to the Highlands and Islands that I still feel a strong connection to the natural world. I tend to be drawn to the intricate, quiet plants such as lichens, moss, ferns, seaweed, and layered undergrowth. I also wanted to include illustrations of the ferns and resilient plants that grow though the walls and pavements in the city around me, bringing a small piece of that countryside with them. The weathered surfaces make the pots look like everything you see along the coast; paint flaking off the clifftop benches, the worn down breakers and the brightly coloured but sun bleached lobster pots stacked on the harbour wall. I wanted to give my pots that sense of place by using mark making and scuffing the surface, a conscious step away from flat, perfect, painted surfaces.
You can see more about my making process here.