I am a ceramic artist living on the Roman Wall; our house is built on the remains
of Turret 47b which is close to the village of Gilsland. As a child I spent every
holiday at a cottage in East Woodburn less than thirty miles from where I now live.
Holidays consisted of almost living on a local farm with a delightful farmer and
his wife who taught me everything I know about sheep and the jobs throughout the
year that are carried out to maintain a healthy flock. I helped repair dry stone
walls, erect fences, inject sheep, dip, clip, lamb ewes, pare feet and all the other
jobs associated with sheep and their care.
My work reflects my love of sheep and the dry stone walls that criss-cross the landscape
I live in. Each piece of work is unique and cannot be duplicated but similar pieces
and breeds of sheep can be portrayed.
My ceramic sheep enclosures perhaps represent all of our lives; we are all ‘penned
in’ because of various restraints or beneficial circumstances, be it financial, family
commitments, expectations of ourselves and others, work, moral responsibility and
other situations that restrict our freedom. However, restrictions are not necessarily
bad, we may choose to leave one enclosure only to enter another, just as farmers
pen up their sheep on a regular basis to carry out work for the benefit of the whole
My workshop is on the Roman Wall footpath between Chapel House and the Poltross Burn
less than a mile out of the village of Gilsland. I make all my ceramic pieces in
my workshop where I live and I open my studio during the Art Tour in June and July.
I am a fully qualified teacher and have spent many years teaching crafts in schools
and at Newcastle College. Just over ten years ago I decided to study for a Contemporary
and Applied Arts BA (Hons) and spent three years specialising in Ceramics. This year,
2012, I am taking part in Potfest in the Pens which is an international ceramics
selling festival based in the cattle market at Penrith. It may sound a bit odd to
have a ceramics festival in a cattle market but this was the only undercover venue
large enough to house such an event. 2012 is the festival’s 19th year and it takes
place on 3rd 4th and 5th August still in the same place it started in, in 1994.
Potfest in the Park and Potfest in the Pens are events which reveal the vast, truly
inspirational wealth of ceramics which is made throughout the world.
I ran a ten week ‘Introduction to Ceramics’ course in 2011 and I believe everybody
who took part enjoyed it very much and learnt many methods and techniques. I am planning
various day courses for 2012 and I can be contacted about this by the following methods.