Background

Ceramics inspired by Chinese Folk images

I started creating these pots 16 years ago when I used some of my Chinese papercut collection as stencils. I’ve returned to the theme and use traditional terracotta and slips to develop a collection of ‘one-off’ pieces.
Typically, rural Chinese women make the paper cuts by using a pointed blade which cuts through dozens of layers of flimsy tissue paper into a soft, wax like, backplate. These designs brighten up windows and walls at times of celebration like Chinese New Year, birthdays and marriages. There are paper cuts costing hundreds of pounds produced by celebrated artists but I prefer the traditional modest folk designs made by anonymous women like me.
My pots give the papercut a longevity and a permanence which it’s maker could never have anticipated. 
Sometimes a pot’s shape helps me choose the image and sometimes it’s the image which influences the form. Archaeologists say it’s usually the enduring remains of pottery that reveal how societies functioned.  I wonder what theories they'll have when they find these pots in England ?

I wanted to visit China from the age of 6 and finally did in 2006. At the moment my favourite images reflect society from the Xian area. I’d like to return to China and  establish contact with some of the women who make the papercuts. 

My paper cut design 'tree glee' combines some English themes - oak leaves, birds, apples and a benign wild pig!





Sky Bird series 
I make very few of these because I don't want the painting to become formulaic. I tend to play with different shapes, shades and formats to keep my interest and favour a round shape because it suggests the infinity of the sky.




At the raw clay stage the slip colours are hard to distinguish but that actually forces the painting to be more free and impressionistic. I use black, white, yellow and several shades of grey. 

I've recently tried designs on tiles, they are inclined to split and warp than the round plaques & buttons.  

In the picture above I'm using photographs I took in autumn 2011 in Appleton. 
I took them around 7.30am, there were probably hundreds of swallows; it was glorious.
In the Stonegrave studio


I first handled clay at infant school but it was always squished into a neat ball and put back in the cupboard. A love of clay is never forgotten, so when living in South London I enrolled in the marvellous Morley College and spent up to 2 days a week in various pottery classes, as well as sculpting, drawing and mosaic. Ceramics was taught by Duncan Hooson and Jill Crowely, who were very encouraging and the facilities allowed for a wide range of experimentation in techniques and mediums. 

After 20 years of working in London I returned to the frozen North and moved to a village in the North York Moors National Park. I bought an ancient school kiln, a wheel, and dug out my sketch books. After a succession of freezing sheds around Ryedale I have a lovely small studio down the road. 

In 2009, at Cleveland College of Art and Design (AA2A programme), I spent time developing glazes, experimenting with porcelain and mould making. 

I've exhibited in various galleries in the region including the Ryedale Folk Museum Gallery and the Inspired By gallery at Danby. I also participated in North Yorkshire Open Studios in 2011 & 2012. 

I've spent a lot of volunteer time in the past few years working with a wide range of artists to facilitate meetings and mutual support as Chair of Ryedale ArtWorks group 2011- 2012. 

I am very supportive of the North York Moors National Park  and the District Council's attempts to develop thriving creative sector. 

See www.ryedaleartworks.com for list of events and more artists.