Our products

In the world capital of ceramics and heart of the potteries Valentine Clays, a family run manufacturer, has been supplying clay bodies and raw materials in Stoke-on-Trent for the past 40 years.

Valentine Clays is proud of its close working relationship with the studio potter and ceramic community. Read more about us here.

START SHOPPING

Find Us

Potter of the month

NAME: David Cooke
Learn more about our Potter of the Month with an insightful interview.

Latest news

What General skills do you use? I studied ceramics and 3D design at Wolverhampton in 1997 and made pots. These were large slab-built pots and quite geometric; inspired by factories and industries within Telford where I grew up.In 2003, I explored these hand building techniques further whilst studying my Masters Degree; focusing on the representation of the human body in clay. I produced a body of figurative works in clay, pushing and poking it to reveal a face or a figure rather than using the traditional techniques of the sculptor.  Tell us a bit about your experience and knowledge...1.  Where have you studied and learnt your skills?I studied at the University of Wolverhampton and graduated my BA Hons Degree in 1997. I had the honor of Melanie Brown, David Jones, Pam and Geoff Salter, Dennis Farrell and many other lecturers as my tutors. It was a very enriching experience and special thanks goes to Mel Brown and Gwen Heeney who supported me throughout my MA in 2003.  2. How long have you been a potter?I have been a ‘maker’ since I can remember. Clay is such an intertwined part of my life and career. I remember making clay sculptures, bowls and animals as a child from found clay in the garden. I went on to study ceramics at college, learning how to throw and hand build before studying ceramics at University. After my studies, I became an Art lecturer in FE and HE and enjoyed sculpting and playing with clay alongside my career as a teacher part time. 3. Who has inspired you along your path? One of the most influential experiences whilst studying ceramics was a visit from Susan Halls. Creating hollow forms and joining these together, being blindfolded and incorporating ‘touch’. Susan Halls’ intuitive approach to clay led me to consider the importance of ‘emotion’. This experience led me to explore the importance of touch and clay as a therapy later in my career as a sculptor/ figurative artist and teacher. Explain your work...A. processes involved e.g clays used, firing range etc.I like to have a ‘conversation’ with the clay and approach the clay as a fine artist; starting with a thought, a sketch and a loose idea of what I would like the clay to say. I use the figure and the face as a vessel which helps to reflect and process what it is like to be human. I wish to mirror the experience and emotion found in everyday life situations. Using clay is a direct material which picks up every mark of the maker. Once the piece is made, I use combinations of slips, engobes, oxides, glazes and stains. I once fire in an electric kiln to stoneware temperatures. I want to encourage the cracks, the crazing, the clays to not ‘fit’. The clay dictates what it wants. Sometimes a low fired terracotta clay needs to be pushed to its limits, revealing the heavy iron content. Perhaps a porcelain slip will fight with a stoneware body. I enjoy this process and learn from each piece.My favorite clay to work with is Earthstone Reduction. It stays where you want it to but also likes to explode if it isn’t wedged within an inch of its life!  B. What has been your proudest piece and why?I’m not sure I am ‘proud ‘of my work but sometimes a piece will shine above the rest. I believe that the work of an artist/maker is to point out that which others cannot see; or to provide a platform for a conversation to be had; a shared experience.Each sculpture I produce stays with me for a while so I can get to know it. If the piece stands the initial ‘omg I love it’ stage, then it can be released!  If not, s/he gets to sit in the garden with the others. What are your future ambitions?I aim to make work which reflects our time. Collaborations, outdoor sculpture, public sculpture, the inclusions of other materials. I want to travel; to explore cultures and experience fully the diversity of people and their relationship with the earth we live in.Ultimately, I would like to make work which can reach a wider audience and act as a platform for conversations to happen, involving those who are not being heard. Sharon GriffinVisit Sharon's website: www.sharongriffinart.com 

Events

Come along to one of the 2020 ceramic events listed below where we will be happy to have a chat:

Sign up

Your Name

Your Email Address