My work is thrown and burnished using many layers of a fine terra-sigillata slip with resist and inlay decoration.
I began working with sigillata to develop a rich surface with a combination of form and pattern that would be integral to the clay. Starting with line and dense burnishing, I experimented to obtain a feeling of depth, allowing the smoke process to play its essential and unpredictable part.
I am searching for development that comes from themes and variations; allowing the ideas to flow from one group of work to the next, adding and omitting to arrive at a natural relationship of surface to form.
The challenge lies in the relationship of form and pattern. Balance, rhythm and proportion are all important.
With the development of a tonal range in the use of terra-sigillata I have been able to introduce depth to the surface. It is the combination of the fundamental and the sophisticated that I find fascinating.
My vessel forms are represented in the collections of the Victoria and Albert and Fitzwilliam Museums and the Walker Art Gallery among many others in the UK as well as notable collections abroad.
The rich, intriguing surface effects do not, like glaze, separate the making and the firing. These are pots which work on the boundaries of primitivism yet are highly sophisticated, they please because they defy definition, they are pots on the edge, a satisfying and intriguing blend of technical skill and creative vision.
Emmanuel Cooper OBE Ceramicist, writer and critic.