I’m Debbie Page and I’m a studio potter, based in South Oxfordshire.
I was introduced to the joy of working with clay at school but it took another 20 years before I had the opportunity to really get to grips with the whole world of pottery. I started with evening classes with Shelley, moving on to 2 City & Guilds courses with wonderful, knowledgeable, encouraging teachers where I developed an obsession with making teapots, fell in love with Jomon pottery, spent a lot of time and effort learning to throw on the wheel only to discover, once I’d cracked it, that I prefer hand-building. I also completely by chance found the pottery love of my life – the Korean Moon Jar, from someone who never made one.
As part of the Diploma course I studied the work of Lucie Rie. I came across a photo of her, taken by Anthony Armstrong Jones. She’s sitting in a white space, wearing white, sitting on a white stool, next to a white table, on which has been placed a large white spherical pot. I can still remember the first time I same this image; I recall thinking – what is she sitting next to, what is that pot ? The caption underneath explained the spherical pot was a Korean Moon Jar and had been given to Lucie Rie by Bernard Leech and was now in the British Museum. The striking image and the name of the pot struck a massive chord and it was love at first sight. I have had a life long fascination with the Moon and space travel – product of being a child during the Apollo Moon missions I suppose, so the name simply resonated.
I am extremely fortunate to have my studio in my back garden. Painted a lovely sunflower yellow, it’s a wonderful place to work. All my work is made by hand, using pinching and coiling techniques, together with plaster or bisque moulds to help shape and support the pieces until they are sufficiently dry to be joined and fettled. I mostly use a white earthenware clay, with the occasional dabbling with paper porcelain . I use both commercially available glazes and ones I make myself.
I now have 4 kilns which I know sounds a bit excessive. Well that’s 3 actual kilns (2 electric, and 1 raku) and a smoke firing bin. I have developed a technique of smoke firing pots which have already been glaze fired. I also raku & Obava fire.
I have long admired the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi (seeing beauty in imperfection) and the technique of kintsugi (the repairing of broken ceramics originally with lacquer and gold dust). I use the kintsugi technique occasionally on the Moon Jars.
From 2021 I have decided to focus my efforts on my Moon Jars. Previously I used to create ‘Water Pails’, vase forms and teapots – both owing a lot to the influence of Japanese ceramics. The ‘Water Pails’ as I call them, are based upon Japanese water pails (Miso Baketsu). Images of these forms are in the Portfolio section of the website. I have the privilege to teach pottery to adults, which I really enjoy and have been missing these last few months.