Wigtownshire U3A March meeting

The Wigtownshire U3A March meeting was a most interesting talk given by Peter Wareing, in which he explained how he creates his unique pottery and told us some of the history of this form of pottery decoration.

Peter was first trained in Manchester in three dimensional design and then went on to teach art for over 30 years in Birmingham, taking early retirement in 2006. He finally set up his studio and workshop in Whithorn in 2011.

A thousand years before the tube lining form of ceramic decoration became popular in Europe the Chinese had perfected the method. We were shown images of C15th Chinese pottery showing tube lining designs and familiar shapes of pots and others from the late C19th of ceramic tiles, often with pictures of animals, which were used on walls in shops and hospitals, popular because of their ease of cleaning and mass production.

Moorcroft more recently, has successfully used tube lining and their pottery is much sought after. Peter uses a slightly different process of tube lining on his pottery. Peter’s distinctive designs on his vases, plates and dishes are achieved using a particularly fine tube line which is created by piping the outline of the design with the liner onto the bare clay base, forming a low “wall” which separates the more diluted coloured clay glaze (a mixture of metallic oxides) which is painted within the lines using a brush, sponge or pipette. His designs are taken from natural objects he finds in the countryside - driftwood, rock, seaweed, thistle seed-heads and leaves, artichokes, poppies, wood and peacock feathers. He sometimes de-constructs objects to form an impression rather than a representation and then puts them together again.

Smaller pots can have designs inside them which match up with those on the outside. Inspiration has also been found in rusts, lichens, bark and the human figure.

A series of photographs shown on the screen, illustrated the stages of work carried out by Peter to create a piece of pottery. Pottery is surprisingly physical, often requiring working with nine kilos of cold wet clay on the potter’s wheel and hoping the resulting pot shape will neither collapse through gravity nor explode in the kiln during firing, after hours of forming and decoration.

Peter uses an electric kiln which will fire the pottery at temperatures of 1200 degrees Centigrade. He obtains his clay from Stoke on Trent. The final dimensions of his pottery are limited by the internal size of his kiln.

The next monthly meeting of the Wigtownshire U3A will be on 29th April 2016, at the County Buildings, Wigtown, when we will be given a talk by Stewart Hunter, entitled “Cautionary Tales for the 21st Century”

Everyone welcome, Members as usual will be free of charge, visitors will incur a nominal entrance fee of £2.00 to cover refreshments.