Jeremy Nichols - Solo Ceramic Showcase
6th August - 1st October 2022
Renowned and celebrated ceramicist Jeremy Nichols joins our 40th anniversary exhibition programme with his first Solo Ceramic Showcase here in Leeds. His recognisable salt glazed pots are made from thrown and slipcast components and decorated with vitreous slip and stains which achieve his remarkable variations in colour, tone and texture. Added to this his expertise in salt glazing, and his pots come alive. We're truly delighted to be able to showcase this inspiring collection with us in our 40th anniversary year.
Jeremy creates saltglazed ceramics that combine functionality with visual impact. Graduating with a first in Workshop Ceramics from the University of Westminster (Harrow) in 1997, the following year he set up his workshop in a converted farm building in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, where he has been making ever since. The shape of each pot and the way they have been created is heavily influenced by Jeremy’s longstanding interest in aviation and the precision of engineered objects. With a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the 1970s the forms and structures of flight add a unique dynamic to his work, likely contributing to his success exhibiting widely across the UK and in Europe. With a passion for the art of problem solving, Jeremy’s signature teapots reflect his engineering-focused mind. Carefully balancing visually interesting designs, created to stimulate the imagination, while refusing to compromise on functionality, he enjoys the challenge of making and firing the pieces to form beautiful and reliable pieces for use in the home.
“I continue to take from my engineering training all those years ago, a fundamental interest in the relationship between function and form. My aim is to make functional and visually arresting pots that have a sense of movement and balance for both the hand and eye to appreciate. The ergonomics of the pot and the clarity of its form are equally important for me: for a design to be successful, the pot must be satisfying and pleasurable to use, whilst at the same time having the power to hold the viewer’s attention and interest."
Jeremy's pots are made from thrown and slipcast components where shape and form are key to his unique work. The teapots, for which he is well-known, are thrown in 2 halves, upper and lower, then joined and turned to their final shape. The slipcast spout and handle are then joined to the body, with clay fillets worked in to ensure a smooth transition from one to the other. Slip is subsequently sprayed onto these transition areas to enhance this effect. After biscuit firing and glazing internal surfaces, the external surfaces are decorated by applying a vitreous slip and stains to achieve variations in colour, tone and texture from the salt firing. The vitreous slip is sprayed on as a thick layer for the smooth surface effect and very thinly for the characteristic saltglaze ‘orange peel’ effect. The colour is obtained by then spraying on various mixes of blue and black stains. Alongside his teapots Jeremy makes pourers, beakers, mugs, jars, bowls and boxes to complete his collection of both functional and decorative ceramics.
What is Saltglazing?
Salt glazing as a technique originated in 15th century Germany, when, it is said, the potters of the Westerwald region started fuelling their kilns with the salt impregnated wood taken from boxes used for preserving fish and meat. From this happy accident sprang an industrial process used in Europe up until the 1950s to produce all kinds of ceramics from sewer pipes to high status tableware. The technique is now the preserve of studio potters and ceramic artists and has a following that is particularly strong in Europe, Australia and North America. In salt firings the glaze is created by the action of common salt, introduced into the kiln at the end of the firing, on the surface of the pots. The salt vaporises and is carried through the kiln by the flames, reacting with the silica and alumina in the clay to form a glaze from the clay surface. Depending on the silica-alumina balance in the clay this glaze can vary from smooth and silky to the characteristic dimpled surface commonly referred to as ‘orange peel’.
Please note - the above images are representations of Jeremy's ceramics and may not be the pieces featured in this showcase here with us. You can view what did arrive for the showcase below in our gallery photos and Virtual Gallery Tour. If you have any questions about the ceramics pictured just get in touch, we're happy to help!