The How’s and Why’s
My Father used to grow orchids. He saw an old orchid pot from China which had holes in the side and asked me to make him one. This first pot worked very well, so I produced more … turns out lots of other orchid growers wanted them too …
Ammonite Tiles and Clocks
The first ammonite I made was a tile. We needed something to protect the kitchen tops from hot pans and irons, so I made a range featuring different creatures (seahorse in sea grass, butterflies, dragonflies etc.) The ammonites were so popular that I now sell them in three galleries.
By tweaking the sections and adding numbers, the tile design became a unique clock face, which has been further enhanced with the use of openwork sections to make a real statement piece for a wall or mantel piece.
Soap Dish which solves the common problem – i.e. mushy slipping soap
When designing my soap dish I really considered it’s use, as well as its look –
1/ A higher edge prevents soap from slipping out.
2/ A raised flat ridge keeps soap lifted from water.
3/ The inside is sloped downwards to drain water.
4/ A hole at the end of the slope.
5/ A stable base (three feet instead of four).
6/ A rounded shape, with no sharp corners to chip
And all still in the shape of an Ammonite!
The idea was to make an ceramic landscape which could incorporate living plants.
The Technical Side
Production of my own glazes.
I achieved an HND in Industrial ceramics by the time I left education.
I can make pots and moulds in all kind of ways, but the one thing we were never taught was glaze technology, we were just given vats of the stuff and taught how to apply them.
Glaze technology is hard and complicated (or is that just for me?) I got really frustrated with having to buy bottles and powders that I couldn’t control, so I bought a book, and with the advice of a much more knowledgeable potter, started on the way to produce a perfect smooth white base glaze.
It took about a year, a lot of firings, a few tears, and wrecked some kiln shelves, but that knowledge is my most valuable ceramic asset. Having the understanding allows me to have complete control of the glazes that I wish to produce, be it matte, satin, gloss, textured or flowing, with lots of variations of colour (apart from oxidized reds and yellows which are still stains …. all us potters are still working on that one).