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James Oughtibridge

I was first drawn to clay back in 1995 on an Art Foundation course under the guidance of Raku Potter David Roberts. I was immediatley struck by the way it could be turned into almost anything.  After this exciting introduction to the material I gained a place at Loughborough University and began developing a range of making processes.  The physicality of the making and the challenge to work on such a large scale has always been at the forefront of my work.

After graduating with a  first I then went on to study an MA  at the Royal College of Art, where, from the offset, I was challenged and pushed to move away from the refined, monumental sculptural forms I had made on my degree.  It was time to push and try new things and after over a year of playing with the material, generating quick ideas on the wheel, I developed a range of large scale sculptural seating aimed at the growing garden/design market.  Although this body of work proved very popular with numerous sales, commissions and television work I felt it was time to start exploring the vessel again and return to slab building which had always been a passion.

A new chapter began when I setting up a studio in London with colleagues; I began to combine the experimental approach at the RCA with my love of slab built vessel making, which I had explored on my degree. I began experimenting with curved and press-moulded sections of clay.

My work is constructed with numerous planes and perspectives, allowing the onlooker to look inside to a world of contorted shadows.  Sculptures often appear to float, with no visible flat base creating a tension with their surroundings.  The structures, initially overpowering, hold delicate and enticing surfaces. The many hours I spend refining, scraping and sanding the clay creates gentle flowing curves.

Layers of underglaze and stains  are applied and are fired to 1240 degrees. The dark and light granulated surface and imposing colour creates shadows and areas that invite a closer inspection.

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