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September 2013 Potter of the Month - Lisa Hammond

1. What general skills & techniques do you use ?

For the last 35 years I have been making vapour glaze pots, concentrating on producing functional high temperature soda glazes pots for the preparation, cooking and serving of food, in the broadest sense.  Raw glazing using slip and a pallet of firing schedules gives the work its rich colour and texture.  In recent years I have developed a range of work “Soda Shino”.  I use Shino type glazes fired alongside the slipware pots, in the soda kiln.

 

2. Where have you studied and learnt your skills?

Medway College of Art and Design, Kent

Taught by Ian Gregory at Medway to build a Salt kiln... was hooked after that.

Learnt the most about pots from handling lots of them… and when I could afford it buying other peoples pots and using them.

Sadly never had an apprenticeship myself... just had to make lots of mistakes and eat baked beans while I was doing it.

 

3. Who has inspired you along your path ?

In the early years... Mike Casson for his energy enthusiasm and of course his jugs and Patrick Sargent ... for his softness of form and surfaces. 

A chance meeting of Mino potter Rizu Takerhashi at my studio in Maze Hill, London, in 2001 was the start of a new way of seeing, a new way of making.  He set me free somehow just talking to him... in the few words we spoke to each other if I asked him a question he always gave the advice “you are free” I have gone on to visit Japan many times since and seen many inspirational pots.

 

4. Please tell us more about the time you spent with Rizu Takerhasi.

Three years after our first meeting I spent 3 months sharing Rizu’s studio in Mino working with wonderful clay and exhibiting together.  We spoke the shared language of pots.

I felt and enormous freedom in making with Rizu.  The character of each lump of clay at one moment, the moment of making, by working this way, individual pots emerged.  A unique conversation between potter and clay.

 

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

I don’t really think like that !   I am always looking to improve what I make, at a push I would say a pot I made for Goldmarks first exhibition, a jar with an Akebe handle that my friend Lee Dalby  a willow artist put on for me ... it was a great firing and the two worked together for me really well.

If you asked me what my proudest moment was I would say having a solo exhibition at Mashiko Museum in Japan, I felt very proud that a girl from south east London managed that... still can’t quite believe it... but I will always wish I could have done better,  just in my nature I guess !

 

6. What is your philosophy in life ?

As far as pots are concerned ?  I need to be truly free to make good pots.

Since my meeting with Rizu my mission since has been not to mimic but to find my individual voice.

As far as life is concerned !   Life is short... get on with it... and try do what you can on the way to encourage  and help others. 

 

7. Your name is synonymous with ‘Adopt a Potter’ please tell us more ?

Adopt a potter was a simple Idea  set up in response to the many closures of ceramic departments in the UK and the decline for studio pottery and throwing being taught in any meaningful way in the remaining Ceramics departments.  My aim has always been to encourage others to share in their knowledge and help give potters and studio pottery a future.

Adopt a potter has funded some 7 apprentices to-date in the last 4 years to work alongside master potters.  At present we are only able to fund one year placements, my aim is to fund longer periods in the future... hopefully we can raise the money.

For further information on Adopt a Potter please see www.adoptapotter.org.uk, FB and Blog for Adopt a potter.

View Lisa Hammond Pottery's gallery

Visit their website: www.lisahammond-pottery.co.uk