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Potter of the Month (May/June 2015) - Garry & Pollie Uttley

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

As almost every piece of our work is the result of an input from each of us it is not easy to define our roles. We are both more interested in surface decoration and pattern rather than form but Garry certainly has most technical knowledge.

We use slabs of clay as the basis for a whole range of decorative techniques including screen and mono printing, decals, impressed and applied work, slip decoration, sgraffito and lustres.

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

Where have you studied and learnt your skills:
We both trained as painters at Sheffield College of Art, hence the fascination with surface rather than form but, as teachers of art in secondary education we involved pupils in all aspects of art, including ceramics which had been included in our fine art training. Garry gradually specialised in ceramics whilst Pollie mainly concentrated on aspects of screen printing.....pattern again!

How long have you been a potter:   
Pollie took early retirement from teaching on her 50th birthday, 3 years after Garry had done so and less than 2 years later, in 1997, we exhibited at Potfest in the Pens. This was a godsend to anyone new to exhibiting and a very steep learning curve. Mistakes made but a chance to get feedback from the public, important when you work in isolation.


3. Explain your work:

What is your inspiration: 
It wasn’t a ‘who’ but a ‘Where’ that inspired us. In 1995, two days after Pollie retired from teaching we travelled to India, pure magic from the very first day and the start of a very long love affair with the vitality and colour which still inspires us after 17 return visits.

Which clays do you use: 
We are currently using three different Valentine clays: tile clay for our tile wall panels, CWE for the impressed and manipulated wall panels, and a smooth terracotta, ...each having differing qualities. We fire to earthenware temperatures and use a variety of bought and self made glazes and lustres.

Which is your proudest piece:
This isn't one single piece of work but instead our ‘Indian Inspirations’ exhibition held at the Rufford Craft Centre Gallery for a 5 week period following the Earth and Fire ceramics market in June 2014. We chose to do this at a very dark time in our lives when we were experiencing traumatic family illness and the exhibition gave us a focus to see this through. We were very proud of the final results and of the new work we developed for it.

4. What are your future ambitions:

To live to be very old and in reasonable health, to keep travelling, especially to India and to make the occasional ceramic piece, as and when the mood takes us!

 

View Garry & Pollie Uttley's gallery

Visit their website: www.polliegarryceramics.co.uk