I grew up in the Dorset countryside surrounded by animals, including cows, sheep, my pony, dogs, chickens, hamsters and even tame pigeons. I was seven when I started collecting clay in the ploughed fields surrounding our home. I began sculpting the animals around me, unfortunately these little pieces fell apart very quickly. I remember the shepherd skinning a lamb, and my mother teaching me how to skin a rabbit, I would collect skulls and dried stoats from the gamekeepers gibbet, these things sparked an interest in anatomy and comparative anatomy which informs my work today.
I left school at seventeen and drifted through a range of short term jobs, until I bought a kiln and small potter’s wheel and began making pots at home. I started selling at small craft shows and very, very quickly things started to pick up.
For thirteen years, from 1985, I made pots with villages; whilst they were commercial and sold extremely well at the big craft shows, I gradually began to hate them. Eventually I decided I needed a change of direction. In 2002 I moved to Charlton Horethorne and began sculpting ceramic animals for a living.
I draw on my previous experiences with animals, tacking up my pony, milking cows, skinning rabbits, remembering the feel and the smell of them. I also spend time watching my pets, trying to record in my head their expressions and attitudes. In 2005 I started teaching ceramic classes in my studio, the classes are great fun and the students have the opportunity to exhibit, and sell, their work during Dorset, and Somerset, Art Weeks open studio events.
Recently I have begun to get my sculptures cast in bronze resin; this allows me to make pieces which would be impossible in fired clay. These are also more affordable than my handmade ceramics.
I will continue making work in bronze resin. This will allow me to spend time making some of the humorous work I have been experimenting with recently and also to have a go at the long list of disparate things I have wanted to make for ages.
I live in Charlton Horethorne with my husband, nine cats and a dog.