Green Jade Ceramics

I am a studio potter based in St John's Wood, north-west London. My aim is to produce elegant and individual pieces, all thrown on a wheel, which combine traditional forms with beautiful, often complex, glazes. My pieces can be used decoratively but are all functional: I make pots for people to hold and use on a daily basis. The strength of high-fired stoneware and the use of shiny glazes make my pots particularly suitable for use as tableware.

My pots are made from stoneware clay. They are thrown on an electric wheel and left to harden slightly before the base is turned (or shaped) on the wheel and any alterations (such as incising) are made to the clay form. In preparation for glazing, the pots are then fired at 1000 degrees centigrade to the biscuit stage. This makes the pots more porous and therefore easier to glaze. I use a variety of glazes and combinations of glazes, applied through dipping, pouring, sponging or painting. Once glazed, the pots are fired again in an electric kiln at 1260 degrees centigrade. The whole process takes weeks and one of the joys (and sorrows) of studio pottery is that no two pots are ever the same.

Current research dates the first ceramic pot to around 18,000 BC in Jiangxi, China. Twenty thousand years later, the process of pot-making remains essentially the same. Those of us with studios in cities might now use electric kilns rather than wood fires, but potters still work daily with the four elements, their pots made from earth, shaped using water and then hardened through exposure to air and fire. Then, as now, the hands of the potter communicate directly with the hands of those who use his or her pots. For me, that is one of the great pleasures of making functional ware.

Judith Hanson