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This month’s featured artist is Catherine Ball

From my studio in Cheshire I supplied ceramics to a handful of galleries ranging  from Aberdeen to Winchester. The most successful one was The Potters’ Gallery Conway, a cooperative we started some 15 years ago. The gallery is at 1 High Street, the only road through the town, and so anyone visiting Conway goes past it. It is therefore wonderfully positioned for sales. We were a collection of 20 Potters and ran it ourselves.  It is still open, so a real success story.
At that time I made high-fired reduction stoneware domestic pottery with a palette of richly coloured glazes, as seen in my photos. My main influence had been the work of Janice Tchalenko, the person who Dartington Pottery brought in to revamp their produce.
 That anyone could produce such finishes on stoneware pieces blew me away, and that is what I wanted to do. These glazes, especially the reduction red  took years to develop to an acceptable level  , but the results were extremely satisfying.  
 My studio had a workshop with 2 kilns and 2 potters’ wheels. I ran weekly classes and courses in the summer months. I have many happy memories of such times and the work my students produced. I remember one in particular who wanted to make a pot for her Mum.  She firstly coiled a pot, then made a lid, then when biscuit fired I asked what were her mother’s favourite colours and we did our best.  Eventually the pot was fired and I said , I hope your Mother likes it, ‘oh no, she died a while ago the pot is for her ashes’. Aah, fond memories.   Next to the workshop was a showroom, pictured here with a younger me posing outside. I could always put a collection together for an exhibition or supply a present for a customer for a wedding, birthday.etc. 
Then, ten years ago, due to family circumstances all that changed.  We moved 250 miles to Teddington. At this time I was experimenting with sculpture and the raku process, so working on a smaller scale suited my new situation.  With the flat we bought , came a garage, now workshop, gold dust apparently down here.  I bought a small electric kiln and made a raku kiln out of a garden brazier lined with ceramic fibre and that was me , sorted. I could continue with hands on clay, albeit on a smaller scale, which I was ready for.
 Most recently I have slightly changed direction again and am exploring the properties of porcelain, another love affair, like Edmund de Waal with his book the White Road, a journey of the development of porcelain. This clay, like all clays has its own characteristics . It is more difficult to handle then most clays but I am getting to know it.  The results of which are starting to appear in RAS exhibitions.