Sliding Rock Contemporary Ceramics, An Ceardlann, Craft Centre, Spiddal, Co. Galway, Ireland. Ceramics Ireland, Irish Ceramics

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A Commitment to the Art of Ceramics

From the very first time that I worked in the medium of Ceramics I always had an interest in working with shape and design. I have tried to combine the two techniques, so that what result is not merely an piece of pottery, but a form of sculpture that can be admired and can stimulate the mind into interpreting what makes the piece work for both shape, balance and movement in decoration. It can move from having a two dimensional surface to having three-dimensional depth, caused by the use of on- glaze or slip decoration.

Through my reading and research I have gained a knowledge of pottery techniques and cultures which have both inspired and educated my understanding and ability to acknowledge the human interaction with clay that manipulates earthy material into a timeless object – an object that can perform a necessary function or that can be admired for the skill of the maker.

Since I began making my own pots I have always worked with Stoneware. I now use an earth stone body, which I find is very smooth to work with, and reacts very well to the glaze that I use. I throw all my pots on the potters’ wheel always looking for ways to develop techniques of altering the object to give it an extra feature in both its design and aesthetic.

Over the last couple of years I have began to experiment extensively with slip decoration. I work with 15 different slips using colour stains mixed in with a base white slip. In the early days, my designs were applied to the pots using brushes, masking techniques and layering slips to give an impression of movement. More recently, I have started to apply the slips in much thicker brushes (which I have made myself), palette knives, slip trailers and even my own fingers. Each time I decorate new pots, I use what I have learnt from previous experiments and apply the slips in lots of new ways. I am in a constant learning process; using intuition to help me interpret the final design.

My pots have developed over time and reflect many influences. These range from my local environment of Clew Bay, Westport and Connemara with its sculptured landscapes which can mystify, amaze, shock and enlighten the mind. I am also very influenced by the work of potters from all over the world, both past and present. I firmly believe that culture and environment play a role in the development of their work be it consciously or sub-consciously. Being from a nation of storytellers I think that my pots are a reflection of what I see around me in both people and environment which can stimulate and invoke the different characteristic feelings of love, hope, sadness, happiness, joy, fulfilment and acknowledgement of ones presences in this ever-changing world that we live in.

Roger Harley


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