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Potter of the Month (July/August 2015) - Katy O'Neil

1. What general skills and techniques do you use?:

My wrap vases are slab built with a unique decorative front panel. I approach the decoration as if I am creating a painting upon the clay, first using slips and then impressing found objects into the surface. I slowly create an impressed image inspired from photographs taken whilst travelling extensively. I enjoy allowing the darkness of the black clay to appear through surface decorations. I love clay and use decoration to enhance rather than detract from the qualities of this wonderful material.


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

Where have you studied and learnt your skills?
I gained a degree in 3D design (glass and ceramics) from the University of Sunderland before moving on to UWIC in Cardiff to complete a Masters in ceramics.  I do believe that the field of ceramics is so vast and diverse that I will never stop learning.

How long have you been a potter?
This is the second time round for me! I was a potter first in 1998 when straight after my masters course I was accepted onto the North West Arts Board Setting up Scheme as an artist in residence at Drumcroon Art Education Centre in Wigan, and subsequently moved into my own studio in Bolton.   The following year I started to teach part time at Bolton College.  Fast forward 13 years and I was the Curriculum Leader for Art, Design and Media, and my ceramics had become a hobby. Three years ago I made the decision to leave FE and took voluntary redundancy, went travelling around the world for 4 months and when I returned with a wealth of inspirational experiences I started making again and started my new business.

Who has inspired you along your path?
Primarily this has to be my teacher at secondary school - Mrs Fisher, who encouraged me to explore clay and to apply to Art College.  I remember her taking me one Saturday to a ceramic demonstration day that they held at Manchester Art College - a dedicated teacher taking a pupil somewhere on a Saturday!


3. Explain your work:

What are the processes involved? 
I use textured black and black chunky for my work depending on the surface quality I want to achieve. My wrap pots, bowls and tiles are fired to stoneware.

What has been your proudest piece that you have produced and why?
Every time I sell a pot to a customer it becomes my proudest piece. It’s wonderful to think that something I have created will hopefully be a source of pleasure for years to come (and it’s even better when I get a little picture of it in its new home).

 

4. What are your future ambitions:

To keep making, to keep playing, to keep exploring, to keep travelling and to keep having fun on the journey.  

 

View Katy O'Neil Ceramics's gallery

Visit their website: www.katyoneil.com