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100 Plates

Sunday, 26 March, - Friday, 5 May, 2023

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Owen Thorpe

I studied Painting and Printing (lithography) at Harrow Art School graduating in 1961. Pottery and Sculpture at Bournemouth Art School in 1962 (Art Teachers Diploma). After some years teaching and an unsuccessful business adventure I started pottery in 1968 with Michael Dowdeswell in Winchmore Hill Pottery in North London.

I have run a studio pottery since 1969. When I started I made domestic ware almost exclusively. All the work was stoneware and was wheel thrown. Living in the London Borough of Ealing dictated that I fired everything in an electric kiln. This rather clinical clean method of firing meant that variety of colour and surface quality had to be consciously applied nothing could be left to the kindness of the fire as in reduction firing. This led to developing glazes and slips in combinations to create ranges of colour and texture.

When I moved to Shropshire in 1975 although I had a brief flirtation with reduction firing I have continued to use the electric kiln. I think that the control that I have over the process enables me to create with confidence especially as the work I do now uses more of my artistic skills.

At present I use a technique akin to majolica but at stoneware temperatures. I paint with metal oxides, cobalt, iron manganese etc. onto a raw (unfired) tin glaze. The pot is then fired and the base glaze and the coloured brushwork are all fired and melted into the clay. Enamels, Gold and metal lustres that would not survive the stoneware temperatures are applied to the glazed ware and fired at a lower heat.

A mis-spent youth in an Advertising Agency before 'Letraset' sharpened my lettering skills which has led to the Celebration Ware that keeps me busy now.

I have been doing a lot of sculpture recently, which I haven’t done since university, concentrating on figures and horses.

I was elected Fellow of Craft Potters Association in 1974. 


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