Richard Heeley grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, surrounded by pottery. His mum is a complete china addict; the kitchen cupboards hold more pottery than food and there are sets of crockery for every occasion. From a very early age he knew Pottery was always going to be an important part of his life.
In 1996, he formally trained at Manchester Metropolitan University in Ceramics and Design achieving his BA Hons. specializing in reduction fired and oriental ceramics. Here he met the three loves of his life – his future wife Lucy (also studying ceramics), oriental pottery, and the potter’s wheel.
His designs are developed on the North Wales coast where he spends a quarter of his working year recording in a variety of media the textures, shapes, colour and structure of the coastal landscape. This rich source of inspiration has a simple quiet affinity with the clay and processes that he uses.
He practices free flowing brushwork and spends long hours repeating his designs to gain a fluid feel and simplicity that matches the thrown clay and fits as part of the pot, working in harmony with the form. His work is Influenced by a deep appreciation of Korean 16th century ware from the Chosôn dynasty. The brushed decoration is a combination of slips made from local clay, and found and hand-ground scrap flake iron, which produces a rich variation in colour and brush stroke quality and texture. His work varies between stoneware oxidation and reduction fired depending on the desired surface finish, colour of the clay body and glaze quality.
He draws on Eastern ceramic traditions to influence designs and techniques: stoneware glazes and forms from Song China, construction and firing techniques