If you’re more of a visual person, maybe watch my tiktok or insta reels. But if you like words, sit back and (hopefully) enjoy.
Everything starts with a drawing or a collection of drawings. I have always been a little bit more literal when it comes to my work, drawing from my imagination does not come naturally. Observing my surroundings does. I’ve been sketchbooking for years, but it wasn’t until I started drawing people on the train everyday during my art foundation commute that I really got into it. Since then, I have built my practice around it, using it as research, similar to the way a journalist records an interview. Although I usually stand in the corner of somewhere, I often have people coming up to me, curious as to what I’m doing or often just wanting a chat with someone who looks like they won’t be moving anytime soon. Some of the best conversations come from those moments and I usually note parts of them down.
Anyway, onto the pottery process…
Firstly, I throw the piece on the wheel, perfecting the shape as much as possible. It is then left overnight or until leather hard.
The piece then goes back on the wheel for what I like to call a second edit. It’s basically a chance to neaten up the shape, thin the walls and trim off any excess. This will either make or literally break the piece!
Paint. This is possibly my favourite bit, sitting down with my drawings, an overwhelming selection of underglazes and a thrown pot. Abstracting and design straight from my drawings, painting and carving directly onto the piece, I find the process both wildly therapeutic and peaceful. As they are hand painted, each piece will be different.
The piece is then dried and put in the kiln (massive oven) for the first firing, which goes up to 950 degrees and usually takes a couple of days.
Once out, it’s dipped in another glaze (a bit like a top coat if nail varnish), usually making it shiny and less porous. As most of my work is hand painted, I usually cover in clear glaze. This is by far the most unpredictable part of the process, if the glaze is too thin, the piece will absorb it will feel rough, too thick and it will pool in the middle hiding the design underneath.
This final firing goes up to 1240 and usually takes around 4 days. The wait is slightly agonising and it is nearly always a surprise when the pieces come out, both good and bad.