Stef Baxter Pottery
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MY BACKGROUND

I began doing Pottery at Cardonald College in 1986/8. At that time the course focused on the more technical areas of Ceramics under the tutorage of the potter Ronnie Fulton and David Taylor.

I have had great opportunities working all over the Europe; Manningtree, Pitlochry (East Haugh Pottery), Crieff (Buchans Thistle Pottery), Hillington (Barrhead Sanitary Works) and in Ireland, France and in Greece with Alan Bain, Pip Robertson and Alex Leckie, before attending Glasgow School of Art gaining a B.A Honours Design in Ceramics. Graduating in 1999.

Besides my tutors and colleagues my influences come from Potters such as Michael Casson, Hans Coper, Dave Cohen, Alex Leckie and Takeshi Yasuda. I mainly work with stoneware clay firing in electric kilns to around 1280 degrees centigrade and producing domestic pottery.

Formerly as a volunteer for the Glasgow Museums I have run workshops in Japanese Raku Pottery using a portable outdoor kiln and demonstrating the firing to the public in Pollok Park. My influences come from music and history.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Having worked and studied in the field of Ceramics design and pottery since I was 18 I have found the media of clay to constantly challenge me as an artist/designer. Form, colour, texture, aesthetic and ergonomics combined have been a constant challenge to me as I investigate new projects.

My initial attraction to clay goes far back as Primary school where my senses where overwhelmed by the earthy smell of red clay. I loved the flexibility and the seemingly endless possibilities for me to make, express and enjoy myself getting immersed and muddy with the media. It was not until later I combined my enjoyment of chemistry supplied by an inspirational teacher in secondary school that I realised where colours, techniques involving the various possibilities of the effects of firing clay using gas, wood, seaweed or electricity.

In my Art School Degree show titled, “A Music”, I combined my enjoyment of travel and music to investigate a narrative, a personal journey into the conceptual element to represent my feelings through working with clay. The outcome was hugely distant from the wheel thrown technique I previously used to create my ideas. I began to use music literally to describe a journey. Being stuck with thrown vessels fashioned into lutes I plaster cast a Ukulele and discovered the rhythmic shape of the body, repeated to make a staircase. I then passed a musical note though a monitor producing on screen an effect like a heart beat and let the shape reflect that rhythm and timing eventually constructing a totemic sculpture from slip cast moulds.

My work previously depended on inspiration from history and archaeology. I also earned a living making other potters work for them in short batch production. I have recently produced pottery with a Neolithic/Celtic feel to it. Inspired by visits to Brittany and Orkney and Kilmartin Glen in Argyle.

I would like to investigate the influence that my curiosity in Gaelic culture would reveal, the microclimate of southern Skye, the colours, the sky, the music and song and the richness of the language used every day in the SMO community.

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