About

I studied B.A Ceramic Design through Anglia Ruskin College, Cambridge, graduating in 1999 to set up my workshop next to Salhouse Broad in Norfolk.

My work has always been about attempting to capture the essence of the land - and the patterns imposed on it by Man.

Between 1999 and 2007 I made several study trips to Mashiko in Japan to learn from potters such as Hamada Tomo-o, Matsusaki Ken and Kusakabe Masakazu and Euan Craig.

The following year I was invited to exhibit in Osaka and then in Tokyo. Through a meeting with Wali Hawes at the Osaka exhibition I was invited to apply for a month long residency in Tokoname with IWCAT. This was an amazing experience and I was delighted to be invited back to Tokoname in 2010 to exhibit.

In 2005, with a bursary from Creative Arts East to work with local Thatchers and make work inspired by their Craft, I developed a glaze suitable for my electric kiln using the thatching reed that had been discarded. Using the thatch gave my work an originality and  a sense of place unobtainable out side of the Broads area. After all, the Thatch had been grown here, given good service to shelter the inhabitants of the house for 50 years and could still be used after it had been discarded. The prospect of this delighted me, and still does.

Later, in 2017, Hoveton Great Broad was being drained of silt by an ongoing Conservation project. With kind permission from the owner of the Broad I was able to collect the silt by boat. Now firing with my Fred Olsen design wood kiln, affectionately known as "Fast Freda"

I developed a glaze from the silt. This then led to using the glaze with stretched forms and eventually to Soda firing in the wood kiln. Freda however didn't much care for this, so it was sadly a short lived soda romance and I am now back to fully wood firing. 

For the uninitiated, the term wood fired wood means that an outdoor kiln has been hand stoked with wood, around every five minutes, for a minimum of about 8 hrs, until a temperature of 1265 degrees is reached. It is a pretty intense experience to fire a wood kiln solo, unlike flicking the switch on a pre programmed electric kiln, taking over personal responsibility  for every degree of climb in temperature changes and intensifies the personal connections to the work.

Continually during the firing the ash from the burning wood is drawn through the kiln by the draught of the chimney and if it lands on the pots then a glaze is formed by the melted ash. Glaze is used on the pots and this is made with ash from the wood burner in my workshop. 

In 2018 I was commissioned by the Dean of Norwich Cathedral to replace a broken candle stand, this huge piece is now situated in the Lady Chapel for people to light a small candle for loved ones. It is lovely to have work in a permanent presence in my home city. 

I revisited Japan in 2018, this time with the specific purpose of visiting the  Temple and Shrine gardens to draw inspiration for forthcoming exhibitions. Having not quite seen  all I needed to, a return trip was made in early 2020 providing me with superb images and memories. 

My work is available in selected Galleries (see Gallery page) online here and on Etsy. I am on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook. Please join me there.

 ©  Copyright 2020  Pat Southwood

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