Saturday, 2 April 2011

AD207 - Work placement

 A truly inspired title but that's what it is - the module I have most eagerly anticipated - an opportunity to learn from those I admire.

I actually started long before the module dates by becoming an apprentice to Australian Ceramic Artist, John Stroomer. He would, I suspect, call himself a potter but, in my opinion, his throwing and mastery of all things ceramic - especially his crystalline glazing - would be difficult to match and he is, without doubt, an artist.

Here is one of his crystalline bottles - a really beautiful piece.  They look at their very best in sunlight and make great garden pieces especially as water features.

I spent the last 3 summer seasons assisting John at ceramic fairs in the UK and Europe and visiting the galleries where his work is exhibited and sold.

Here is John's stand which includes pictures of his 'Chelsea' pot - a large garden pot that inspired Coralin Pearson wife of Ray Pearson, from Solway Ceramics Centre, and three of her fellow horticultural students to design a courtyard garden - 'Pottering in North Cumbria' which won a Silver Merit

John is a great teacher, I have attended 2 courses given by him at Solway Ceramic Centre and spent a month at his factory in Australia throwing, glazing and firing - total bliss... well I did do a lot of F'ing and blinding when the clay wouldn't behave itself - probably a combination of jet lag and heat intolerance - well there must have been some reason! Fortunately, despite my worst efforts, I did improve in my throwing technique and got to do my own firing!

Here he is demo'ing at Oxford Art in Action - he certainly draws the crowds!


Here is John throwing one his pots in his factory ...... mine is the one on the right - some way to go!!

My fired pots!

My favourite - I love John's copper red - this piece had a white flare with a really nice crackle.


We visited some wonderful studios in France including Nigel and Suzy Atkin's impressive Gallerie du Don. ( Le Don du Fel, Montsalvy - at the southern tip of the Massif Central, www.   

The gallery and studios are in a beautiful setting up in the hills.

The studio.......

....with a view!

The kiln...

....with a salt-feeding machine that sprays a saline mixture into the kiln!

Suzy's salt-glazed work is lovely and the gallery displays many beautiful pieces. It also has exhibitions by ceramicists from all over Europe such as Martin McWilliams and Simon Griffiths.


These guys were arriving on the day we visited - a real scorcher - seemed totally bizarre!

We also went to an 'open studio's event in a small village called St Guillaume le Poterie that had about 20 potters - nearly all women. It also had a Ceramic Museum!


Classical french terre vernissee

The Musee  - wil ancient to modern ceramics.

John will be back in May to prepare for Potfets in Perth, Rufford and Hatfield. He is doing several courses at Solway Ceramics  Centre ( and will be showing and demo'ing at Oxford Art in Action ( )

Another busy summer!!!

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