After leaving school and still not discovering clay, as well as not knowing which direction to take, I enrolled on a foundation course at Kirklees College in the Wheelwright Campus in Dewsbury. After the initial introduction to the different disciplines I was placed into the 3D section. Ceramic tutor Warren Dunn thought that the pieces I was developing would have better quality's in clay and moved me into the ceramic department. Immediately I enjoyed the challenge clay offered, Warren would guide me into a process but let me find out how to complete it, always needing to fix and finding solutions clay presented got me hooked with the material.
The University of Wolverhampton gave me a wealth of options to explore the medium of clay. Tutors and technicians offering support and encouraging the exploration of material boundaries and possibilitys. One particular module was to build a new Salt & Soda Kiln for the university with the help from Joe Finch potter and kiln builder. It was an experience that not only taught me a lot but also introduced me to so many people who have similar ideas and inspirations. Steve Sparke was an important person for me to meet at the time, he was asked to come and visit and teach and assist with the wood firings and we have stayed in touch since, often firing in the my kiln in Devon.
After an initial trial at Maze Hill Pottery Lisa Hammond asked if I was willing to move to Devon to work as her Apprentice. Maddy Carragher and Phil Rhodes had been developing Kigbeare Manor Farm into studios with a gallery space. During the set up of the new studio in Devon I was introduced to Brian Dickinson. Brian came and spent the best part of a 2 weeks with us at Kigbeare to build the oil fired soda kiln. Brian talked me through a lot with the process and ideas of building the kiln but also offered me further advice with making well thrown pots to support me in my apprenticeship with Lisa. I'm very grateful for the time Brian gave me and I cannot thank him enough. I would strongly advise you to take a look at his work, the forms are exquisite and he has a fantastic eye for detail in his finishing, decorating and glazing.
My apprenticeship started with making mugs and pulling handles, over and over again repeating the same form and becoming as familiar as possible with the process. Not too much time later Lisa was challenging me with new forms and giving me new responsibility's in producing her ware. My time with Lisa taught me so much about life as a potter and the running of a busy functioning pottery. From the simple things of where to order materials and how they change over time depending on where they are sourced, to the timing of the ware in its production as everything is raw glazed. Then down to the process of selling the ware at shows and events. An incredible experience to be lucky enough to be a part of and to have the fantastic support from all at Kigbeare.
Currently I am working from Lisa Hammonds pottery in Greenwich, South East London. Alongside Lisa I share the space with the current apprentice Florian Gadsby. Here I make my own work to either fire in the old soda kilns or plan a week away to fire the wood kiln in Devon. Two evenings a week I teach private classes to an audience of 8 per evening. I also hold the position of Technician at the Institute of Making University Collage of London.