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Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.

Ceramic Review Issue 320

March/April 2023

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Tricia Thom takes us step-by-step through the processes she uses to throw and join a porcelain moon jar, which she makes in two halves and joins

Straight from school, I attended Grays School of Art in Aberdeen, graduating in 1985. Under the excellent tutelage of Ian Pirie (who sadly passed away earlier this year), I developed a passion for clay and a determination to master it on the wheel.  

After a post-graduate year exploring raku and winning the Jugend Gestaltet prize at the Internationale Handwerksmesse in Munich, I worked for Highland Stoneware Ltd, a production pottery based in the Highlands, for three years as a hand-decorator and part-time production thrower. While I was there I developed a selection of surface designs for the range and more importantly I received a valuable, grounded knowledge of many aspects of the ceramics industry. 

Relocating to Edinburgh in 1989, I trained as a teacher and taught art and ceramics in schools and colleges for six years, while at the same time making my own range of ceramics within a shared studio in the city.

After a break of 15 years to focus on family life, I returned to making and continue to develop my ceramics practice. I have been a resident artist at the Adam Pottery in Edinburgh since 2013 and also work from my recently built home studio just five miles south of the city, from where I offer private tuition.

I use domestic pottery themes as inspiration for my wheel-thrown porcelain. I am concerned with creating balanced, graceful pieces. Some surfaces are treated with calligraphic brush strokes, which contrast with the conformity of form. I have always been attracted to working with porcelain because of its perceived fragility yet inherent strength and I am always motivated by the process; the meditative, calming, repetitive nature of throwing on the wheel. 

Central to my working practice is that the process must be an enjoyable one. I draw from an eastern aesthetic of contemplative, simple, quiet forms and surfaces and I am particularly drawn to the iconic teapot, which allows opportunities for interesting compositional challenges – the articulation of handles and spouts, taking on an almost animated human form, and the subtle balance of proportions that make a piece sing. 

This masterclass will demonstrate the making of a large porcelain moon jar. I construct these using two bowl-shaped sections joined rim to rim. I enjoy the slow, thoughtful process of assessing and reassessing, trimming and finishing to achieve a pleasing balanced shape.  

For more details visit triciathomceramics.com


All photography by Layton Thompson