In 1996 I joined a small group having evening classes with Chris Lewis at South Heighton Pottery, pottery that had been set up by Ursula Mommens in the early fifties. At the time Chris had a two-chambered wood kiln, while a natural gas kiln was used to fire much of Ursula’s work. Consequently I gained experience of firing both wood and gas kilns as well as learning about throwing a range of tableware and making larger pots in sections.
In 2005 I started part time at South Heighton Pottery, coinciding with retirement from biology. I was given space to make pots in return for helping with the work of the pottery. I have had a longstanding interest in glazes containing wood ash, particularly those that generate chun effects. While with Chris Lewis we tried ash from a range of sources in a recipe of Michael OBrien. The current oak ash glaze that I use was derived from these tests, using oak ash from a local fish smokery.
During 2013/14 I set up a workshop in my garden in Brighton. Subsequently it took a year to test clays and gain some experience of a new propane gas kiln. I enjoy making tableware and items for use in the kitchen. I like the colour palate of reduction-fired stoneware glazes and the durability of high-fired pieces suits work that may be used daily. I also make vases and bottles, some of which are made into table lamps. Recently I have started using porcelain, initially to make chess sets, but also to make bowls, bottles and lidded jars. These are glazed with high iron Tenmoku, low iron celadon or ash glazes. Current ashes in use are willow, holly and fruit tree ash as well as oak.