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Potter of the Month (Jan/Feb 17) - Vivienne Saunders

What general skills & techniques do you use? (eg., throwing etc.,) ?
I combine hand building techniques and slip casting together to form my bowls.  My cradle bases are either slabbed or slip trailed.

Tell us about your experience and knowledge:


Where have you studied and learnt your skills

My first full experience with the medium of clay came quite unexpected.  I worked for the NHS Occupational Therapy (OT) 

department as an OT Assistant and I had provided support for clients during pottery sessions.  When the Pottery Technician left quite suddenly I was asked, and then interviewed by the Head of the OT Department, to take on the role temporarily until the post could be filled.  I had a week with the Pottery Technician, before she left, to learn Health and Safety, basic studio management, kiln firing etc.  It was quite a learning curve, as they say, but I really enjoyed it and ceramics has now become an important part of my life.  The department expanded and my role as a Pottery Technician became permanent.  During this time I worked in the OT Department I had a 1½ day release over 2 years at The Oval Annex at Stafford Art College and obtained a City and Guilds Part 1 & Part 2 in ceramics. I have also taught recreational ceramics at Cannock Chase College. When I retired I decided to study for a Design and Applied Arts (Ceramics) degree at Wolverhampton University to further extent my knowledge graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours First Class Degree in 2014.


How long have you been a potter
I have been a potter for 24years.

Who has inspired you along the way
I think from the very beginning my work has always been influenced by ceramic artists who use unglazed or coloured clay in their practise.  I have been lucky enough to have been taught by some amazing tutors at college and university who have encouraged and challenged me, throughout, to help fulfil my aspirations.


Explain your work:

Processes involved eg, clays used, firing range etc.
I use Parian casting clay and Parian casting slip both individually and combined.  I don’t use any glaze but add stains/oxides to achieve a coloured body and a matt surface.  I fire to 1220degree c with a 20minute soak in an electric kiln.

What has been your proudest piece that you have produced and why.
I do not have a particular piece that I would raise above all others but my current work combining Parian casting clay and Parian casting slip gives me great satisfaction.


What are your future ambition?
I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface with Parian Porcelain and I need to continue developing and working with this clay.

View Vivienne Saunders's gallery

Visit their website: www.viviennesaunders.co.uk