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Potter of the Month (Nov/Dec 16) - Carolyn Clayton

1.  What general skills & techniques do you use ? (eg., throwing etc.,) ?

All of my sculptures are handbuilt by rolling shapes into sausage but slightly cone type shapes.  The flowers are made using the skills from my experience of being a demonstrator of china flower making at Coalport for over 12 years.  But I mainly use the palm of my hand to sculpt rose petals, and I use a comb and a ridged surface to create other petal types.

 
2. 
Tell us about your experience and knowledge: 


Where have you studied and learnt your skills

I first ‘found’ clay as I call it back in 1998 on an Art Access course at TCAT in Telford. This then led me to Wolverhampton University where I did a joint degree in Ceramics and Computer Science from which I graduated with honours.  It was there that I learnt about the more technical side of ceramics and how to throw posts amongst other skills.  During my time at University I offered myself as a volunteer at Coalport China Museum where I quickly learnt to make china flowers and was offered a demonstrator role which I still do to this day and the odd weekend too.

How long have you been a potter?

Well I have been pottering since my days at college and University, but only in November of 2013 I came up with the idea for my ‘flower people’.

 

Who has inspired you along the way

Difficult to say really.  Whilst at University I dreamed of working at Madame Tussauds and was inspired by portrait sculptor Heidi Maiers. While researching alternative firing it was Biz Littell with his vapour glazing with metallic lustres that impressed me.  Finally Richard Notkin stood out to me with his imaginative sculptural work. But regarding my flower people, it was from years of working at Coalport making and demonstrating the china flowers.


4. Explain your work:

Processes involved eg., clays used, firing range etc.

I use Parian clay for its self glazing and marble like finish.  I am pushing my skills here really as it’s not modelling clay, but I seem to manage.  I also use porcelain white stoneware (PF 700) for when I wish to have glazed pieces.  These are high fired clays so fire to 1230°C. For colour I use either an under glaze colour and also onglaze enamels for the glazed pieces.

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

Any pieces where I have more than one figurine together and the ones I have managed to create standing without the use of a base.  These are the most hardest to produce so when they work I feel proud. Also my Angel flower ladies are tricky and time consuming so proud when they turn out ok.


5. What are your future ambitions?

To drop the daytime IT job and only use these skills to promote my art.  I WILL have (positive affirmation there) my own art shop in a busy tourist area like Ironbridge where I can see myself sculpting all day in the front window of the shop. Like my demonstrator job at Coalport, but doing all my art and different things each day.  I would love the ability to create my art all day everyday and get back to doing more portrait sculpture and other pottery techniques. I would love to be able to create a good likeness of someone’s face within and hour or so, so I could offer more affordable busts for people visiting the area.  Plus I want to buy a 3D printer and see how that can help my art going forward.  Also I have a number of art skills such as painting which I would like to use and sell at this shop.  Finally I would like to have the space at the back of the shop where I could run a sort of drop in pottery class as well as structured classes where I can teach flower making, throwing and sculpture.  I would like to push the classes and drop in centre as art therapy as I do believe art is very therapeutic and can help people in today’s busy stressful lifestyles. 

 

View Carolyn Clayton's gallery

Visit their website: www.cazamic.com