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Potter of the Month (May) - Denise O'Sullivan

1.What general skills & techniques do you use?

I create forms using a mixture of hand building and slip casting techniques, combining traditional pottery skills (slab building and modelling) with industrial process (plaster and clay slip)

A variety of processes are used on the surface including, hand painting, decal, stencilling and sprig.

 

Tell us about your experience and knowledge

2.Where have you studied and learnt your skills?

Since a young age I had always worked in clay and sat on pot banks (pottery companies) as a child whilst my dad brought the wares to sell. My father was ex-military but also worked as a dish maker, in my early years, at ‘JH Weatherby pottery’, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Later on he pursued his love and became a pottery dealer so I travelled the UK with the family selling pots as a child. Bethnal Green, Camden Town & Shrewsbury markets every weekend.

When I was 15 years old I spent some time on the Royal Doulton’s sculpture studio and was hoping to go onto their sculpture school they had at the time, but unfortunately it shut down. I was offered a slip casting job at Doulton’s but decided against it and went onto Art College.

Newcastle–under-Lyme College, UK–Art & Design, specialised Ceramics

Wolverhampton University, UK – BA Ceramics, Dennis Farrell, Gwen Heeney, David Jones, Pam Saltzer, Vicki Shaw, Melanie Brown plus visiting international potters

Alfred University New York State, USA – John Gill, Walter McConnell visiting Val Cushing and helping Walter McConnell building a living clay sculpture.

The Frink School of Sculpture, Stoke-on-Trent, UK – Alan Thornhill

Staffordshire University, UK – MA Ceramics in partnership with industry

 

3.How long have you been a potter?

Since 2006, 8 years.

I design my own ranges and I also work with other companies and makers to develop public artworks, designs and workshops.

 

4.Who has inspired you along the way

Where do I start? I had a fabulous time whilst at Wolverhampton and Alfred working with a variety of potters who chucked me in the deep end and made me explore processes and potters from all over the world. I loved Funk ceramics from the 1960’s and I my local heritage of ceramics from flat back to flat ware.

Potters who inspire me include:

Robert Arneson (USA), Viola Frey (USA), Carole Windham (UK), Richard Slee (UK), Leopold Fouled (Canada), Eduardo Palazzo (UK), Glenys Barton (UK) and Ruth Duckworth (Germany/UK/USA)

 

5.Please explain your work processes?

I design and make distinctive ceramic forms and shapes, finished with exquisite surfaces finishes.

I create surface decoration with multiple firings and a mixture of stained clays, glaze, screen print and metallic finishes.  Forms are designed and made in ways that reflect my background in handmade, industrial and sculptural ceramics techniques and processes that I enjoy fusing together. I enjoy creating statement ceramic wares both functional and decorative, which brings energy to interiors and surfaces alike.

Clay: Bone China slips and flower clay 1240°C

Under glaze pigments and clear glaze 1100°C

Decal, lustre hand painted & china paints 780-810°C

 

5.What has been your proudest piece that you have produced?

My English Rose and Skull design plaque finished in burnished gold, I designed and made a series that were sited in the living room of 24 apartments in the Champs Elysees, Paris, France.

 

6.What are your future ambitions?

For the last 12 months I have been testing and working with porcelain, parian and bone china to create large forms that I am developing into centre pieces and lighting.

I am also eager to work on a jigger jolly machine to create wall artworks that I can individually work on whilst wet.

Exciting clay times to come.

  

Denise O’Sullivan, Stoke-on-Trent, England 07834923270

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Denise-OSullivan-Ceramic-and-Design-Ltd/107698759256036

Twitter @deniseceramics

Instagram deniseosullivandesigns

 

View Denise O'Sullivan's gallery

Visit their website: www.deniseosullivanceramics.com