‘I was brought up just over a mile from the Dorset coast. Our summers were often spent on the Isle of Skye, so the sea plays a big part in my life and work.

‘After studying at Central St Martins, I worked as a graphic designer in London for over twenty years. My interest in ceramics stems from a combination of an inspiring teacher and discovering Lucie Rie’s work at the V&A Museum in London. When I moved to Aberdeen in 2010, I took a short course in ceramics at Gray’s School of Art and the fuse was lit.

‘It’s always a challenge to balance work and other commitments, especially when you are starting out. Luckily my making time is very much ruled by school hours, and I try to keep paperwork and social media to evenings after our children are in bed. I also have a very supportive husband.

‘I think interest in ceramics is continually rising. Work by artists like Lucie Rie and Hans Coper demand increasingly higher prices at auction; whilst Grayson Perry, Edmund de Waal, Kate Malone and others have raised the profile of ceramics and pottery through their involvement with television programmes.

‘I’d describe my own work as contemporary wheel-thrown porcelain intended for everyday use. My mark-making and colours are inspired by Scottish seascapes. I’m always sketching and photographing, and spend a few weeks painting in the Outer Isles each year. The results of these are the starting point for many of my designs.

‘To make a single pot involves many processes. Firstly, the clay needs to be worked to a smooth consistency, then weighed out and formed into balls ready to throw. Each pot is thrown on the wheel to specific measurements, then set aside for a day to dry slightly so that it possible to pick it up without distortion. At this point the pot is turned upside down and placed back on the wheel to have any excess clay trimmed away, and the foot formed. Another day or so later and the pot will be dry enough to add decoration using a mixture of liquid clay and pigment, called slip. This process can take a number of days to complete. Once fully dry the pot is fired for a first time in an electric kiln to just under 1000˚C. This makes the clay stronger, and ready to glaze. The pot is sanded and washed to remove any dust before being dipped in glaze, then fired for a final time to approximately 1260˚C.

‘My work is inspired by beaches, especially those in the Outer Hebrides, and the east coast. I could list a hundred artists and potters who inspire me, but particular favourites are Maggi Hambling, Cy Twombly, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Hepworth, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, Donald Ferguson, James and Tilla Waters, Barry Stedman, Akiko Hirai and Jack Doherty.

‘I’m hoping to have work at Junction Arts in Aberdeen and Baxters Gallery in Dartmouth spring shows. This time of year is busy with applications for next year’s shows. I do work to commission, but I tend to have a six month waiting list.

julietmacleod.com
Facebook: /The Cloud Pottery

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