An apprenticeship at Dartington Pottery, Devon, between 1995 and 1997 followed a degree course in Fine Art and French Literature. Marriage in 1997 meant a move to Oxford and a job glazing at The Jam Factory and then another move to Wiltshire. It was at this time that I worked 2 days a week for Julian Bellmont at his High Street Pottery in Kintbury, Berks. Julian had been a long time thrower for Alan Caiger-Smith at Aldermaston before setting out to make his own lustre ware in a similar style. In return for 2 days work I could use his studio and expertise to really begin to learn how to throw.

Then came a move to Rome in 1998 where I was able to use the basement pottery studio of an Argentinian friend. It was during the next 12 months that I developed my throwing technique and made a variety of tableware from terracotta clay decorated with brushstrokes of bright colour on a white tin glaze.

Children came in 1999 and a 14 year hiatus.

In 2013  the offer of a kiln and a wheel ignited the desire to return to making pots. I now work in my garage, surrounded by bikes, jam jars, the lawn mower, paint and old BBQ sets.

                                  Top 2 photographs on this page courtesy of sarahsheldrakephotography.co.uk 

Making Process

Photographs courtesy of sarahsheldrakephotography

Most pieces are thrown on the wheel, dried to a leather hard state and then turned, a process by which excess clay is trimmed from the pot to enhance and complete its form. Colour decoration is applied at this stage, either through the application of coloured slips (liquid clay) or coloured stains, if required, and then the pieces are left to dry completely. Every piece is stamped with my unique potter’s mark.

Once dry, the pots are placed in the kiln and fired to 1000oC over a period of 14 hours- a process known as Bisque firing. At this stage, excess moisture, air bubbles or unwanted debris in the clay can cause a piece to crack or explode. Once cool, the pots are glazed. Some of my pieces are double-dipped (dipped in 2 different glazes consecutively) producing a speckled effect, others are simply dipped in a white or transparent glaze (sometimes with colour added) and still others require both a white and transparent glaze on different parts of the pot. The glazed pots appear to be coated with a dry, generally white powder. They are then transformed in to their final glossy state when they undergo their 2nd firing, this time to 1100oC. This takes around 13 hours and has to be left to cool to 200oC or below before ‘cracking’ the kiln (opening the door a fraction to peek inside) otherwise the blast of cold air in to the kiln can cause the surface of the glaze to crack.


Handmade Happiness             Dragon St., Petersfield, Hants.  GU31 4JN
A L'Etage 2                            4 Westow Hill, Crystal Palace, London  SE19 1RX
Brook Gallery                         Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6NH 
Cranbrook Iron                       Ockley Rd, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 4DP

Forthcoming Events

18-20 May                                    Handmade Oxford                                    Oxford Town Hall, St. Aldates, Oxford OX1 1BX
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