My desire to express myself thorough art started at an early age, messing about with clay in our garden in Harrow on the Hill. We moved to Plymouth and I was fortunate to be taught to paint by Wyn George. Wyn was a great influence and through his teaching I learnt to look for colour and form and to use drawing as a tool to develop ideas. At sixteen I went with my family to live in Gibraltar. It is difficult to explain what an enormous impact this had on me, but I found myself surrounded by the deep and vibrant colours of the Mediterranean. This had an immediate effect on my paintings, I just couldn’t put the brushes down, I painted in every spare minute. I had studied Maths and Physics at ‘A’ level along with Art, with a view to becoming an Architect.  After the exams, I was at a loose end and quite by chance found myself at an evening class in ceramics. I touched the clay, and like so many others was instantly hooked.

Instead of going to York to study Architecture as planned, I went back to Plymouth to do my foundation year.  Big influences here were Chris Smith (Ceramics) who taught me how to throw and Dave Patten (Sculpture), both of whom gave me the self-belief and determination so vital to someone who spends their life working alone trying to create things out of clay.  I did my degree at Bristol and again, was fortunate to have tutors like Gillian Lowndes and Ian Auld There was also a host of visiting lecturers, Michael Cardew and David Leach among them.  My time at Bristol was very exciting with only a small number of students and wonderful facilities and equipment. I learnt basic techniques, hand building, throwing, kiln building and firing and developed a love of glaze making and experimentation.

On leaving College I knew nothing of Grants or financial help so starting a workshop seemed an impossible dream. I managed to get a job teaching at a comprehensive school in Plymouth. It was a tough job, but it helped me get my foot on the first rung of the ladder. I then went on to teach at an international boarding school where I became deputy head. This was a great time for me and I still get letters and visits from the students thirty years later. It wasn’t enough though and full time clay was calling. I handed in my notice and started work as a Potter.

My first workshop was on a farm that was open to the public. I made a range of traditional slip decorated domestic ware; it was simple and honest, and it enabled me to earn a living while I re-learnt the basic skills and developed new work and glazes. I enjoyed making boards and boards of the same thing and got a big kick out of looking at the day’s work spread out on every available flat surface.

Soon this wasn’t enough either, I needed to make something that was entirely mine, something that drew little from tradition, something that leapt and danced with those Mediterranean colours that were still so much a part of me. That journey continues today as I discover a deeper love for and desire to express the beautiful place where I live.

Building a Rocket Dog Teapot in my studio

The coast below my studio

Below: The cycle to work

Right: Inspiring flotsam on the beach

A Short Biography