Artwork for John West
Serving dish, rice bowls and facetted serving dish
Soda fired Bottle
Fruit Bowl and Soap Dishes
From the moment that I started making, I was instantly drawn to wood firing and salt glazed pottery but it is only since we moved to The Studio that I have been able to build a kiln and make the dream come true. I collect clays and other materials for slips and glazes. Combined with the natural flame this brings about an almost alchemical quality to my work.
I have a problem referring to myself as an artist. I would much prefer to be thought of as a craftsman. I might relate to what I do artistically, but being a craftsman feels more honest to me.
I think of myself as a studio potter.
Principally I am a maker. I make functional pottery made to be loved and made with love. In that sense, I see beauty as also being one of those functions. Most of my work is thrown on the wheel, altered, decorated and fired with wood, with bicarbonate of soda sprayed into the flame towards top temperature leaving an iridescent coating as glaze.
From the very early days I taught young adults with Learning Difficulties at a residential college near Stroud. In 1999 I was invited to open an outreach pottery workshop, Lansdown Pottery, at the former Art College in the town centre with my wife Penny. In 2013 we moved to our present home, where we continued to make our domestic stoneware range whilst I developed my woodfired and soda glazed pots.
I started pottery in 1981, 40years ago. I have had the pleasure to be at workshops and masterclasses run by David and Margaret Frith, Shozo Michikawa, Rizu Takhashi and Ken Matsuzaki, amongst others. I was also able to attend the final year of the 'Forest of Dean College course',
For a number of years now, I have exhibited my work through Potfest, Earth and Fire and other national events.
My work can be found at Potters in Bristol, Made in Stroud and I have a showroom at my studio. I also attend a number of pottery festivals throughout the year.