Richard St John Heeley - ceramics
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Richard St John Heeley - ceramics

The starting point for my work is developed on the North Wales coast where I spend a quarter of my 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 I use.

My work varies between stoneware oxidation and reduction fire depending on the desired surface finish, colour of the clay body and glaze quality. I draw on Eastern ceramic traditions to influence designs and techniques: stoneware glazes and forms from Song China, construction and firing techniques from Japan and Korean brushwork.

I practice free flowing brushwork. I spend long hours repeating my 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. My 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

I have been handling clay for over twenty years. I formally trained at Manchester Metropolitan University in Ceramics and Design achieving my BA Hons by specializing in reduction fire and oriental ceramics. Since graduating in 1996 I have worked as a ceramic technician, taught evening classes and Foundation and exhibited independently.

The intimate contact with ceramics when eating and drinking is also very  important to my work. Being married to a professional chef who  has a passion for ceramics helps me to design the pots; form and finish appropriate to recipes and food that inspires.

These influences combined with my working practice help forge my ideas and experiments with which I  start to create a  range of work. Decisions are then  made about which glaze and surface quality best suits the 2D designs. The aim is to produce work with a quiet voice an eastern subtle palette with forms and compositions that capture a sense of landscape and harmony - hopefully a joy to use and live with.