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Potter of the Month (Jan/Feb 16) - Jean Blood

1. What general skills & techniques do you use? (e.g. throwing etc)

All of my work is handbuilt, using basic techniques such as pinching and coiling.

 

2. Tell us a bit about your experience and knowledge:

a) Where have you studied and learnt your skills

I trained as a teacher of Art in the 1970s. It was a general teaching course, and did not include any ceramics.

However, in my first teaching post, in a secondary school in Leicester, there was a kiln and lots of ceramic tools which had not been used for a number of years, and I wanted to make use of them.

I joined a local evening class to learn the basics, but before the course was finished, the tutor left suddenly, and the college asked if I could take over the class for the rest of the term!!!!   I managed to muddle through those last few weeks, then enrolled on the Ceramics Summer School course at Loughborough Art College (for 3 years!!) where I learned to throw, and became totally hooked.

I made pots for myself at first, then for family & friends, then I started to go to local craft fairs. My work gradually developed from thrown pots to hand built caricatures of animals and people.

 

b) How long have you been a potter

I have been potting ever since those early days, combining a varied mix ( of being mother to two children, working in many schools teaching art/pottery/anything else ) with playing with clay at home whenever time allowed.

As the years went by, I spent less time teaching, more time potting, until a couple of years ago I retired from teaching altogether, and now I spend all of my time in the pottery.

 

c) Who has inspired you along your path

Hard to say, really.  I love to look at all sorts of figurative sculptures, and I have met many potters, painters, textile artists , etc., who have such a passion for their craft that I am left speechless at times, and I really admire their dedication and skills, but it’s difficult to pick out individuals.

I have always loved cartoons, and my teachers at school discouraged me from doodling, but I now have the freedom to doodle in clay, and my “Oddbods” creations are a wonderful means of playing around with facial expressions, the main feature of my work.

 

3. Explain your work

a.        Processes involved e.g. clays used, firing range etc

I use a variety of clays, but mostly I prefer to use ES50 (crank) and ES5 (white)

I don’t glaze very often, but I use underglaze colours or iron oxide to achieve the effects I want. I fire to 1185-1200.

 

b.       What has been your proudest piece that you have produced and why

I don’t have a favourite piece, but I was proud and surprised when “Mousetrap” won the “Craft & Design Magazine” prize at Potfest in the Pens in 2012, my first time at that event!

 

4. What are your future ambitions?

Just to continue making things I enjoy (and hopefully that other people will enjoy!)


View Jean Blood's gallery

Visit their website: www.oddbodsceramics.co.uk