Patricia Shone


Texture has always been a strong element in my work, and I use combinations of slips, pressings, glazes and firing techniques to achieve them. I love knowing what is happening at the molecular level as I pull a pot from the ‘raku’ kiln at 1000°C, submerge it in sawdust, watch the flames dance briefly across its surface and wait to see how the pale clay has turned dusky black as a result of the reduction atmosphere. The wood fired kiln is fueled with scraps from the local estate saw mill. This gives the work direct physical connection with the place of its origin. Ash from the firing settles on the surfaces of the pots and at high temperature melts and fuses with the clay developing and altering the glazes. Both the wood and the weather have an impact on the work, speeding the firing up or slowing it down, changing the amount of oxygen available for complete combustion, the fire draws oxygen from the oxides in the clay and glazes.

This powerful landscape influences my work; there are traces of the land in the materials I use. The inherent textures of clay as it is stretched and pushed echo the textures in the hills. Traces of the past are drawn all over the landscape and stand as monuments to the communities who worked the land. I find this deeply moving and am aware of a connection in walking the same paths.

The views are immense; there is a sense of being completely immersed in a landscape with little middle ground to focus on until one sees the close up detail – jewel like colours of mosses and lichens, the absolute darkness of a peat bank. These two elements, monumental mass and close detail, which texture my work are as a result of living here; like taking a stone in my hands and feeling the form and weight of the mountain in it. Sometimes this takes a functional form, of a jug or a bowl passed from hand to hand, sometimes it is pebble-like, to be held.

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