Ceramics with a Twist

barbara and chris
based in essex, UK

We both trained and received distinctions at Level 2 & 3, City and Guilds in Ceramics after retirement, and are enthusiastic amateur potters.
We thoroughly enjoy what we do, and are always looking out for new and inspiring ideas.

I am inspired by the unusual, slightly weird, and sometimes surreal, from artists such as MC Escher, and Salvador Dali, plus my own mathematical and computing background. Most of my items are 'one-offs' and extend from small dowsing pendulums, through sculptured representations of illusory art, to a scale model of the solar system.
Naturally, along the way I have pinched, slabbed, carved and thrown a variety of 'pots' that would be classed as 'normal', but these have all been transformed by interesting and 'stand-out' glazes into something designed to catch your eye.
I enjoy the flexibility of hand-building, carving and sgraffito, often using Celtic designs and elements of the Natural World.
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Anglian Potters - Christmas Open Exhibition

At All Saints Church in Cambridge. Open every day for a month from 10 am to 4 pm. Free entry. About 70 local potters displaying their items for sale. Come and have a look - you might find some unique and interesting Christmas presents

  • Date: 09/11/2019 10:00 - 08/12/2019 16:00
  • Location: Jesus Lane, Cambridge, UK (Map)

Past Events

Assessment and Exhibition 05 Oct 2019Brick House Ceramics, Sheepcotes Lane, Silver End, Essex

How long have you been making pots?

We started pottery at the beginning of 2014 by attending City and Guilds training courses, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. We have spent over 5 years training whilst gradually becoming more and more self-sufficient. We now have our own studio, equipment and materials; and display at large exhibitions and local craft centres.

Do you run training courses?

At present we don't. However, we will gladly offer advice on most aspects related to pottery and ceramics. Also, we can provide details of colleagues that do offer courses.

Where are your pots displayed?

They are available to view at our Studio in Ardleigh, Essex (near Colchester). Some are displayed at The Shed, Sproughton, Suffolk (near Ipswich); and we usually have an area allocated at Anglian Potters Exhibitions in Cambridge (twice a year). Please contact us for further details.

Do you make items to order?

Yes. We can discuss and agree your requirements in terms of usage, type of clay, colour and design. Please note that this may take some time to achieve your desired result.

How long does a Commission take to complete?

This will depend on a number of factors - requirements, complexity, size, and colour.
Initial discussions and requirements can be quite time consuming and have been known to take up to 3 months to agree on a final design and colour. Detailed decoration will also take time as each colour requires at least three coats before it can be glazed and fired. However, once this is done most pots will require two firings taking approximately 2 days each.
In order to meet your requirements we will make test firings of the clay and of specific colours and glazes to enable you to see what the outcome will be beforehand..
The shortest time for us to design, make, glaze and fire any of our own items has been 3 weeks. The longest commission (so far) took 11 weeks to agree requirements, then 6 weeks to make, followed by 2 weeks to deliver.

I like one of your pots but would prefer a different colour. Is this possible?

All our pots are unique, however making a similar pot with a different pattern or colour is possible on commission. It would not necessarily be exactly the same but we will do our best. Please contact us. 

Are your pots safe to eat or drink from?

All our Tableware is Food Safe.

Why are some pots not considered food safe?

Many glazes will contain lead which is not considered Food Safe. Also if there is any 'crazing' on the surface of the pot then chemicals in its manufacture may come out when immersed in liquids. Additionally, any Raku or Smoke-fired pots will not be Food Safe.
Also some clays contain chemicals which are not food safe - for example Smooth Textured Black clay, which should only be used as decorative items.

I have been told that black clays are not food safe. Is this correct?

Generally, that is correct. Any items made from most Black clays are not suitable for domestic tableware. However, they can be very decorative. If in doubt please contact us.

What is the difference between Earthenware and Stoneware?

Generally we fire Earthenware between 1020 & 1120 deg C and Stoneware between 1240 & 1280 deg C. At Stoneware the pot is much more weatherproof and durable, but doesn't have the range of colours that can be achieved at earthenware. Most clays will fire to both these ranges, but some (Terracotta and White Earthenware ES130) will only go to Earthenware temperatures, and some (Porcelains) must firer to the higher ranges.

How large can you make pots?

We have two electric kilns, both run off standard 13 amp mains power, and each piece is generally limited to the size of the kiln.
Our main kiln is 15" diameter by 8" high, and our secondary kiln is 10" diameter by 11" high.
It is possible to make larger items, but these would have to be fired by one of our contacts who has a larger kiln available.

Does clay shrink when fired?

Each type of clay will be different, but on average a pot will shrink by about 10% whilst drying. In theory, to fit our main kiln, a pot could be made approximately 16" diameter by 9" high which would shrink to <15" diameter by ~8" high when dry.

How do I order an item?

Select any item then Add to Basket. Then go to your Basket (Icon in top right), click on Place an Order. Add your details then proceed. We can only offer Payment on Collection at present. If you wish to make any other arrangements please contact us.

How can I pay?

We can only offer Payment on Collection at present. If you wish to make any other arrangements please contact us.
Items costing higher than £100 require a 10% deposit either by cheque, paypal or direct from your bank.
Final payment on collection either by cash, cheque or paypal.
As soon as you place an order we will contact you via your email.

What do you charge for delivery?

Unfortunately, we can only offer Payment on Collection at present. If you wish to make any other arrangements please contact us.