Porcelain, wood fired bowl with lithium glaze liner, by Patricia Shone
I saw a photograph of this beautiful piece on Patricia’s Instagram feed just over a month ago when she was exhibiting at Earth and Fire. I’ve admired her new porcelain work for a while now, and what with a rather large birthday coming up at the end of the year it didn’t take much to convince me to treat myself to an early present.
Patricia’s work is inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Skye – one of my favorite places in the world, and where I spent many summer holidays growing up. She creates pieces by either throwing or cutting into solid lumps of clay, and then texturing and stretching to make the finished forms. I had the pleasure of watching Patricia demonstrate some of her process a few years ago at the Scottish Potters Association spring workshop.
Pinch pot, impressed and coloured with oxides and underglaze colours, by Katie Braida
At 2014’s Potfest in the Pens I had a stall opposite Katie. As a result we have become good friends. She makes gorgeous, sculptural vessels inspired by the sea, with layered texture achieved by using a range of blades and printing letters. Last year there was a lovely piece on her stand, but I made the mistake of not buying it instantly – by the Sunday it was gone. This year she was participating again and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. I reserved this little pod before the doors opened on the first day.
I’m just back from another amazing Scottish Potters Association weekend at Kindrogan. When I was wending my way there through the stunning Perthshire countryside I was thinking that there was no way that it could be as good as last year’s. How wrong could I be – not only were there excellent demonstrators once again, but as I was no longer a novice I knew more folk and I relaxed and enjoyed it far more this time.
The workshops were given by Patricia Shone, David Roberts and Ronnie Fulton. I spent most of my time flitting between Patricia and David’s rooms. Patricia gave us an insight into how she makes her incredible textured pieces both by using the wheel and through hand building techniques. She is inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Skye and as a result I feel a real kinship with her, although the style of our work is poles apart. David is a raku potter whose large-scale work I have admired for a long time. It was a treat to discover more about his process. He very kindly let us bring pieces to fire over the weekend, using his own barrier slip and glazes with some great end results. I’m now inspired to try further raku firings of this type in the summer.
I came away with a wealth of ideas relating to surface… burnishing for raku firing; adding terra sigillata for a fine patina; using unusual tools to create strata, roughness and waves, applying sodium silicate to obtain coarse volcanic structures; stretching and moulding to achieve organic character… more scribbles in my sketchbook. I wonder when I’ll have a chance to try them out. Until then here are a few tastes of what I saw…