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Photographer's Note

Robert Goldsmith, master potter, Selborne Pottery.

The Pots
All the work is hand thrown and turned stoneware. No machines or moulds are used and the traditional techniques have taken many years to perfect. The pottery does not try to mimic the past but draws on skills rarely practiced today. Combined with high temperature stoneware glazes, fine brushwork, wax resist and glaze trailing, the finished pots with rich copper red and cobalt blue glazes are both functional and decorative whilst still having a contemporary look. On the Specials range, gold lustre is hand decorated on to the stoneware pot and then fired again, adding a luxurious opulence not normally found on studio pottery. The glazes and pigments are made up from raw materials in the pottery and are fired in a gas kiln to over 1300° Celsius. This fuses both clay and glaze together in an impenetrable bond, giving the pottery both its brightness and its depth of colour.

The Potters
Robert Goldsmith learnt his craft in France working for an English potter called Owen Watson; Art School in Farnham, specializing in Ceramics; several months on the island of Bornholm (Denmark) working for a family pottery in Ronne. He then started his own Pottery at Neatham Mill, near Holybourne, Hampshire. After eight years at Neatham Mill, the workshop had become too small and the opportunity to move to Selborne arose. Tom Yendell had bought the workshop and several surrounding buildings on the Plestor (the village green) and wanted to start a small art community, including, as it turned out, a pottery. In 1992 Tom set up the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting Artists) Gallery and soon afterwards Robert acquired the workshop from him and established the Pottery, once work to the dilapidated buildings had been completed. Quite by chance, it was at this point that mains gas arrived in the village, so he was lucky in many ways. His pots rely on a ‘reduction atmosphere’ in the kiln that can only be achieved with gas and not electricity.
Robert has always worked with assistants since then. Jenny Burrells, who also trained in Ceramics at Farnham, has been working as the Pottery’s head decorator for more than fifteen years. Her skills are amazing to watch, as many visitors to the Pottery can testify. Kitty Sturgeon, who was trained as a painter, came to decorate after Jenny had the first of her two children and was on maternity leave. She has been there ever since and makes up a valuable part of the decorating team. Jaroslav Hrustchalenko throws many of the smaller pots with a skill rarely found these days.

(Borrowed/edited from the Selborne Pottery website)

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