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Svend worked at Wenford Bridge with Michael Cardew from 1969-
1972. After a period of travelling in the Far East and a year in America, he set up his own pottery in Beaworthy, Devon, in 1974.
He has always been devoted to wood-
firing and uses very few glazes, preferring to use the natural chemistry of the kiln to decorate his pots – and in this he is a master!
Svend works on his own and makes a prodigious amount of pots and shames me with the tidiness of his workshop. His work is all wheel thrown and is often monumental in proportions.
(Information by John Bedding)
Born Cardiff, 1943
Works in Beaworthy, Devon
Clive Bowen was apprenticed to Michael Leach at Yelland from 1965-1970 and has been working from his studio in Beaworthy, Devon since 1971.
Clive’s large earthenware garden pots and planters are all hand-thrown and decorated. They are then fired at 1060oC in a wood-burning kiln. During the firing the flames and smoke travel between the pots and the resulting fluctuations in temperature and atmosphere give a tremendous richness to the finished product. The traditional making techniques produce slight variations in size, form and colour, giving each pot its own individual character, whilst blending well with all its neighbours in the kiln.
The earthy yet sophisticated qualities of the pots fit well in any style of garden. Planted up, the richness of brown glazes and the simplicity of terracotta enhance a wide range of foliage types. Empty, they have a sculptural calm often associated with Eastern gardens.
Clive Bowen’s pots have been widely exhibited, both in the UK and abroad. His work has also been bought for several major public collections, including those of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Museum of Wales, the Ulster Museum, and the Crafts Council Collection.
Phil Roger’s pots are hand-
thrown on the potters wheel, about half salt- glazed and half reduction- fired stoneware and are intended for use in the home.
The pots are glazed at 1300 C, both kilns oil-
fired to Cone 11- 12. The most recent 70 cubic feet kiln is used mainly for salt- glazing and was built in 1998. The glazes make use of local materials, particularly woodash, but also using many local stone dusts and clays. The salt glaze takes advantage of a technique discovered in the 16th Century, using common salt, which produces a hard and durable glaze with a rich and sensuous surface.
Robin Welch has a unique and varied background, at least as far as British potters are concerned. His first real introduction to pottery was while he was studying for a Diploma in Art & Design at the Penzance School of Art, where he met Michael Leach, Bernard’s youngest son, who was his tutor there. Originally he had been more interested in sculpture, but began to take up pottery under the tutelage of Michael, and soon started to work at the Leach Pottery at weekends and during holidays.
Robin then spent a year at the Central School of Art in London, before he set up his first pottery, followed by a second in Australia, where he stayed for three years. Upon his return to England in 1965 he set up Stradbroke Pottery, where he is still based today and from where his distinctive thrown, coiled and slab-
built forms have developed.
He experiments with materials and glazes and his larger pieces are both thrown and hand-
built to bring them to the desired height and shape.
Examples of Robin Welch’s work are being found in many public collections in the UK, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as well as in Australia and the Netherlands. He has exhibited widely, has been craftsman in residence at Monasa University, New York State College of Art and Indiana University, and designs shapes for Denby, Midwinter, Rose of England Bone China and Wedgewood.
A further testament to his importance for British pottery and ceramics is his inclusion in Tony Birks influential book ‘The Art of the Modern Potter’, published in 1967, where he featured alongside the likes of Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin and Ruth Duckworth.
Born Leamington Spa, 1958
Works in Moretonhampstead, Devon
Nic has been potting for more than 30 years. His first encounters with wood firing began as he had no other way to fire his work. From an early age Nic began building kilns as well as wheels and sourcing his own clay from the local river banks in his area. He has experimented in the past with raku, sawdust firings and salt glazing.
After teaching himself to throw, Nic went to Derby College of Art where he completed an HND. He then briefly worked in potteries in Germany and Italy, returning to set up home and workshop at Powdermills, the site of an old gunpowder mill, set in the heart of Dartmoor. Nic now lives and works in Moretonhampstead on the edge of Dartmoor.
He is inspired by medieval English pottery and wood-fired Japanese ceramics. Firing with wood gives the pots their warm ‘toasted’ colour and careful packing of the kiln, based on traditional Japanese anagama (single chamber) kilns, gives some degree of control over the production. The firing can take up to 60 hours, stoking every 15 minutes and after a four-day cooling period the kiln is unpacked. Nic is currently using a groundhog type kiln, firing for around 80 hours to temperatures exceeding 1300oC, and using shino and ash glazes. All work is made on a momentum kick wheel.
The Number 1 kiln built at Powdermills was of the Olsen fast fire design and soon replaced by a very large 500 cu. ft. anagama type kiln. Products made included large garden pots and a range of domestic wares. Use of local clays and firing techniques have resulted in more one-off pieces now being produced. Pots show a build up of ash glaze, wadding marks, scars and flame flashing.
After moving to new premises a smaller kiln has been built to develop his ideas further.
Nic likes to achieve a build up of texture from the effects of the firing. Some pots returning to the fire up to seven times. There is also the exploration of different effects by using different clays and utilising various areas of the kiln.
Background and history
- 1983-1985: Stratford College
- 1985-1987: Derby Art School: HND Studio Ceramics
- 1987: Workshop experience in Italy and Germany
- 1988-2000 Powdermills Pottery, Postbridge, Dartmoor, Founder and owner
- 2000: Personal workshop in Moretonhampstead, Devon