Working, Nov 2019, by Jo Harris

So this is me, hands dirty as usual, working away making a Moon Jar.  Image was taken by Jo Harris, of the Henley School of Art.

My name is Debbie Page and I’m a studio potter, based in South Oxfordshire. My studio is in my garden. And in my yellow shed is where I get creative.

All my work is made by hand. My pots are built using coils and moulds – and I use an electric kiln and a garden incinerator dustbin to smoke fire my pots (once they have been glaze fired). I use predominantly white earthenware clay and, occasionall, just to mix things up a bit, I will use a porcelain paperclay.  I use pinching and coiling techniques – often with hemispherical plaster moulds to help shape and support the pieces until they are sufficiently dry to be joined and fettled.

I use both commercially available glazes and ones I make myself.  I also finish my work using alternative firing techniques – smoke firing and raku mainly.  I smoke fire pots both with glaze and without glaze.

The spherical pots I create are influenced by the Korean Moon jar – an icon of Korean ceramics dating back to the mid 17th to mid 18th century. Usually made of porcelain, these large storage jars were called Moon jars because of their shape and the milky white glaze used.

I have long admired  the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi (seeing beauty in imperfection) and the technique of kintsukuroi (the repairing of broken ceramics originally with lacquer and gold dust). I use the kintsukuroi technique occasionally on the Moon Jars.

The other two forms I create are the vase and the teapot – both also owe a lot to the influence of Japanese ceramics. The vases or ‘Pails’ as I call them, are based upon Japanese water pails (Miso Baketsu). Each pail has a handle made from twigs, small branches or cane and string. I find great joy in bringing together the fired clay and wood – and also spending time shaping the pail to its future handle and then fitting the handle into its new home.

My teapots, well they are are a more humorous, light-hearted affair! Not very practical in size – although they will pour without dripping. I don’t make as many I used to but this may change. Who knows where the next bag of clay will take me?

All images & content © Debbie Page 2020