3 Wheel Pottery : Catherine Morton

I moved from the very structured fields of engineering and technology into ceramics in my late 30s.  From a scheduled life on the treadmill of schooling, jobs, more schooling, and 5 year life plans, I found that the true beauty in life often came from what wasn’t planned and what didn’t happen according to a formula.

My work shows this realization.  All pieces are made to be functional, contemporary and modern.  During the throwing process, most pieces start out with clean straight lines.  Often tools are used to make straight edges and ensure the sizing is correct.  However, through the drying and firing process, items change size and occasionally shape.  It’s this happenstance that inspires me. The unintentional that then becomes nurtured, explored and capitalised on. I try to utilise the correlation between control and chance, note the subtle changes and let them guide me.

When it comes to glazes, I have used my technical background to develop glazes of my own recipes. Sometimes I’m very precise with the ingredients and other times I just wait to see what the outcome will be.  I select bright colours like rich reds or cobalt blues teamed with a mixture of white and oatmeal glazes to offset the bolder tones with the soft hue of the stoneware.

During the firing process the clay I use oxidises, leaving tiny speckles, sometimes brown, sometimes green on each piece.  These happen randomly and often occur beautifully, just where you don’t expect them.  The glazes in combination can run, mix, change colour or combine in a way that leaves interesting unique textures on a piece.  Each item has a beauty that cannot be fully planned.  Each piece is an individual. This uniqueness I hope reminds the user that it is handmade and not part of the mass-produced world. Pottery captures authenticity in ways no other medium can; unique objects that are perfectly imperfect by the hands of their maker.

I often wonder where my pieces will go and how they will be used. I hope that those using them will get as much enjoyment from them as I did on the day I made them.

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