I often refer to myself as a maker and occasionally nowadays as a potter, this is because, in the last few years, I have begun making functional, workaday pots. I enjoy making things and I also enjoy working in materials other than clay.
SUMMER EXHIBITION 2019
Capturing the land
I use various techniques to directly introduce the landscape into my pieces and the pieces Canadian Pine and Portland reflect this.
The bases for both works are moulded from wood and cast in bronze after which I patinate them and then apply gold-leaf. Canadian Pine is based on a piece of timber ejected from a log-splitter I was using on Read Island, British Colombia, last summer. Portland is moulded from a rotting wooden block taken from a timber shipping-pallet found lying in a stone quarry in Portland, Dorset.
The bowls these bases offer up both contain detritus from the river Thames. These inclusions, some as small as grains of sand, have been used as ‘captured grains’ to fleck and pattern the bowls. The introduction of these various particles collected on walks and introduced into the clay bodies gives each piece a reference to location and time. As these materials mark the works, they also reference the places where the particles were found, bringing to the object, location and history, and so the river continues on its journey.
Within my work I am always trying to achieve a balance, striving to produce work that has an understated visual richness set against a feeling of quiet simplicity, paring away the non-essential.
"My fascination and focus with clay go back to my undergrad studies at Bristol Polyethnic, this was in the mid-seventies where I was taught on a very ‘open’ ceramics course by Wally Keeler and Mo Jupp amongst others. In terms of my education this was the first of what turned out to be three degrees, each one of which helped to refine my making and developed my clay working techniques.
This, combined with over 40 years of studio work, reflection and exhibiting has brought my work to where you see it today."
The Rabley Series
“For over thirty years Fred Gatley has been carefully incorporating found materials within his pieces, many of these introduced into the clay bodies themselves. Sands, silts, muds, brick fragments, stones and rusting iron have all been used within his works, combined with drift woods and even waste copper scraps, all of these bringing to the work their own story and location."
Meryl Ainslie, Rabley Gallery, April 2018
Photos of Canadian Pine and Portland by Chris Sowe