Solo Ceramic Showcase
4th November 2017 - 6th January 2018
Collected worldwide and with examples of his work in major museums across the UK, Anthony Theakston uses the elegant shapes of birds both in movement and at rest in this collection of beautiful sculptural ceramics. This is Anthony’s first ever solo ceramic showcase with the gallery after being involved with various group shows for the past 20 years. His studio is a reclaimed brick and pantile purpose built building, originally a piggery and part of Holme Farm situated next to the house. Anthony shares this with his wife, artist and sculptor Nichola Theakston. They look out over the river Trent to one side and open farmland towards Laughton woods on the other.
Herons, pelicans, owls, wrens and bluetits are just some of the birds Anthony depicts in his beautiful collection of ceramics. “It is important that the work lifts the spirit. I try to make work which is beautiful to see and to touch. It’s not just about the bird, it’s about its character and how I feel about it.”
A word from Anthony
"I studied ceramics for six years gaining an MA and then lectured for five years at Camberwell College of Arts whilst establishing myself as a studio potter. I now concentrate all my energy to designing and producing my ceramics. I am presently producing a range of ceramics inspired primarily by bird form and movement. I begin my work by drawing quick sketches from nature to capture a striking form I then refine these sketches into a design on paper trying not to loose the initial expressive action which quick sketches can capture. Once designed I sculpt the form out of a solid block of plaster and cast it in ceramic. I try to make work which is beautiful both to see and to touch. My aesthetic is I hope still evolving and comes from the distillation of many sources including Duchamp, Brancusi and Ancient Egyptian artefacts."
Creative drawing followed by designing
"I begin my work by drawing quick sketches from nature to capture a striking form and movement of the bird. I then refine these sketches into a design on paper trying not to loose the initial expressive action which quick sketches can capture. Each new jug/sculpture can have as many as 30 refined sketches before deciding on the perfect design."
"Once designed I transfer the drawing onto a slab of plaster. All my designs are carved from a dense solid block of plaster. The main body of the bird form is carved first after which another plaster piece is cast and carved to form the foot. A third piece of plaster is cast onto the back of the model and carved to become the handle. This finished model is a solid plaster form which when complete is ready for the moulding stage."
"The model of the bird jug once carved is then moulded in three sections; the body, the handle and the foot. Usually each of these sections is a 2 piece mould."
Casting the design
"I make the clay bird jug via a technique called slip casting where liquid clay is poured into the plaster mould. Once I have cast the pieces I need to assemble them together and define the lines in the form around the wing, handle and beak areas by re-cutting and carving the clay piece. Next I refine the cast bird jug by sponging with a natural sponge and leave to dry."
Firing and glazing
"I fire the clay piece in a biscuit firing to 1140oc and then it is ready to receive its glazing. I have developed a special speckle glaze and colouring technique which is peculiar to my work which I fire in an electric kiln to 1190oc. I spray the colour in the glaze and build up the colour around the piece gently shading the form."
"It is important that the work lifts the spirit."