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Ceramics has been a family tradition spanning four generations at least. The earliest records show a pottery at Hoo in Kent in 1834 where even the street was named after my forbears. Each generation has produced their own particular style of work and responded to the changing needs of society. My father was the first to break with tradition by leaving the family pottery and undertaking a formal college training and entering the pottery industry as a designer.
I continued along this path of formal education and completed my degree in ceramics at Bristol Polytechnic in 1985, mainly concentrating on thrownware and glaze development. The mainstay of my inspiration was derived from the pages of the Wedgwood Creamware catalogues from the late 19th century. Coupled with this very classical approach, I found that the humorous fluidity of cartoon drawings provided a happy contrast. I was able to amalgamate the two passions using Walt Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" where the pots and pans become so animated and dance around the kitchen, as the inspiration for my next body of work. I also spent a considerable amount of time developing oxidised stoneware glazes to stimulate the effects of saltglazing and have used these glazes to good effect on the teapot forms that became an obsession for many years.
Although my primary interest was the wheel thrown object, I have since been concentrating on developing handbuilt animal forms. The pig in particular provides an endless source of ideas. My animal forms in many ways still embody the same concern for form and profile that sustained me in the search for the ideal teapot and I feel that I have been able to transfer many of the elements that excited me in that development. This has endowed my animals with a strength and humour.
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