“Born in Athlone, Ireland, I arrived with my parents in Benoni, South Africa, at the age of twelve. After matriculating I studied Commercial Art at the Johannesburg School of Art. After completing my studies I worked as a window dresser in London for a year, and continued on my return to South Africa. From the first time I touched clay 41 years ago, I realised this was the medium I wanted to work in. For many years I attended Digby Hoets’ pottery classes and about 20 years ago started my own teaching studio in Benoni, which is still going strong. Although my latest pieces are fired to stoneware, I mainly work in earthenware.
The earthy tones and colours of Africa are dominant in my earlier pieces. Inspired by my overseas travels my ceramic pieces are constantly evolving. I enjoy experimenting and elements of heritage and ancient cultures encountered on these travels create new directions in my work – coracles from Ireland, textiles from India, decaying ruins in Cambodia.
The rough, tactile surfaces and ‘verdigris patina’ of my latest pieces pay homage to archaeology and are reminiscent of freshly dug up relics. The handles on the vessels are influenced by either Africa or the Far East. Not only do I give workshops at Ceramics Southern Africa Clay Festivals, plus other events, but I have also received a number of awards at regional level. The piece acquired for the Corobrik Collection, based in the Pretoria Art Museum, won the UltraFurn Award for the ‘On The Wall – Off The Wall Exhibition’.