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John Wheeldon

Artist Statement

I feel that above all I am a potter who responds primarily to materials and processes; the exploration of which pushes my work forward. My involvement with raku developed because of a need to escape from limitations placed upon me by lustre techniques I previously used, coupled with a desire to use real fire and become more involved with the process of firing. The transition was made easier as I saw raku as a form of matt, coloured lustre, not a complete break to my earlier as I saw raku as a form of matt, coloured lustre, not a complete break to my earlier work but a compliment to it.

An interest in ceramic history also informs my work although it may not be immediately apparent, as the influence is often subliminal. The forms of much of my work refer to pieces from prehistory, especially the Bronze Age, and have developed from an ancient pot seen in a museum many years ago. I also have a collection of shards found in gardens and fields which span a period from Roman to the 19th century and the marks left by the potters are so eloquent – we leave the same marks on our own work today – it is like a language left by potters to be read by potters.

I have been making pots now for over thirty years and have investigated several different areas of ceramics during the time I started making stoneware domestic ware and in the late 70s started to decorate a black stoneware with lustre. By applying terra sigillatta made from various clays, some local, some from Central Europe I can produce work with a subtle, sensuous surface. The raku firing and subsequent smoking of these pieces soften and modulate the lustre producing a rich decorative surface.

The Strathearn Gallery | 32 West High Street | Crieff | Perthshire | PH7 4DL