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Paul Wearing

Paul Wearing is an award-winning ceramicist based in the vibrant Fireworks Clay Studios cooperative in Cardiff. He has two decades of experience as a practitioner and studio director, is a Selected Member of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain, holding an elected position on their Governing Council 2018-’22. He has been the recipient of numerous funding awards from the Arts Council of Wales and is represented on the Crafts Council Directory and Michelangelo Foundation Homo Faber Guide.
Paul’s hand-built sculptural vessels are inspired by our interconnectedness with nature’s seasons and cycles; how evidence of moments in nature speak to our experience of being human. It is the correlation between the transformative cycles of nature and the making and glazing processes harnessing innate material qualities leading to chemical developments within the kiln that underpins his work.
He is drawn to the vessel as a symbol of civilisation and one that echoes the built environment in which he lives. In contrast, naturally occurring textures perpetually interact and disrupt this sense of formal order. Surfaces undergo energetic change and transformation through forces of growth and decay, and it is these events; the evidence of lived, life affirming moments which Paul finds resonates within ceramics where such textures can be rendered through volatile and blistering glazes. Paul’s relationship with ceramic materials is thus profoundly rooted within the challenge of rendering expression through their innate qualities.
Technical notes
Paul works with grogged stoneware, employing hand building techniques: press-molding provides fast formed bases whilst coiling, a slower, more contemplative technique, allows flexibility in form and size. Marks and textures revealing the making process often remain as ground for glazing.
Paul embraces considered contrasts of control and chance within his surface treatment which renders a balance of intentional brush marks and chemical glaze reactions. Surfaces are built up and transformed through brushed layers of reactive slips and glazes. Layers simultaneously build and crumble under the application of subsequent layers. The surface thus develops in a partnership between maker, materials and process.
Once applied, glaze materials react within oxidised firing conditions. Here, the inclusion of selective volatile materials brings further disruption to the surface through blistering, cratering and crawling. Glazing and firings are repeated until the optimum depth and complexity of surface is attained