The workshop is open without an appointment during shop opening hours. It is a fascinating old building with a long tradition of craft work. For over two hundred years until 1962, it was a blacksmiths and ironworker’s forge.
Visitors are welcome to look round it, to view the kiln and equipment and to watch whatever work is in progress at the time.
Some pots, square and rectangular for example, are made by press molding slabs of clay over wooden forms that I’ve made myself and by extruding. But the principal method of making is by shaping clay by hand directly on the potter’s wheel. It was a chance encounter with this most intriguing of skills that started my career and one that engages me still, over two hundred thousand pots later, give or take a few. For all its opportunities for speed and precision, the wheel never becomes a machine: it remains always a flexible and responsive tool, giving each pot some life and vitality of its own.
The images here are current examples of repeated functional pots. All are stoneware, high fired, tough and durable, safe to use in ovens, microwaves and dishwashers.
Images here are examples of limited edition pieces or individual pieces. Most are stoneware but some, where indicates, are porcelain. Some pots are archive.
I was born in Lancashire in 1939 and studied first as a painter at the School of Fine Art, Reading University followed by a post-graduate year at Pembroke College, Cambridge. My plan was to try to become an art historian.
However, a chance meeting with the late Bernard Forrester at Dartington in 1963 introduced me to making pots, and the following year I opened my first workshop, the Merchants Pottery, in Hotwells, Bristol. Since the end of 1966, I have been at my present workshop in West Somerset.
Over the years my work has been sold in many of Britain’s leading craft outlets including the Bristol Guild (Bristol), Peter Dingley (Stratford), Craftwork (London), David Mellor (London, Manchester, and Sheffield), Cider Press Centre (Dartington) the Riverside Mill (Bovey Tracey).
I’m a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and have been an external examiner at several British art colleges and a visiting lecturer at Harvard and McGill Universities in the USA and Canada respectively.
I have written a textbook on pottery making methods, glazes, kiln design and firing.