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MARGARET FRITH


Born 1943.


TRAINED

1959-60 Bolton College of Art.

1960-62 Liverpool College of Art. (Intermediate in Arts & Craft.)

1962-64 Stoke-on-Trent College of Art. (Art Teachers Diploma. A.T.D. A.T.C.Manc..)


WORKING PRACTICE AND APPROACH.

As a young art student at Bolton College of Art I was eager to work with clay. The enthusiasm and dedication of the pottery lecturer there, L.F. Matthews, gave me an insight into 'the craft of the potter' and set me on a course of learning, research and experiment from which I have never wanted to deviate.

Stoke-on-Trent School of Art under Derek Emms introduced me to working with reduction fired stoneware of the Eastern tradition. At this time I met David and together we started to lay the foundation for the establishment of our workshop which we have had now for thirty five years.

The early years of domestic production throwing were invaluable as a foundation for the work that I do now and I look back with great respect to the struggles that we overcame and the insight that was gained into the nature of clays, glazes and form. As our two boys Daniel and Gregor grew up I was able to develop my own personal work more and explored my deep attachment to reduction porcelain.

Over the last few years much effort and experimentation has gone into the development of my own porcelain body with glazes to fit this low expansion body. The qualities of translucency and lightness sought, demand that it is potted quite finely and it takes time, care and patience. It fractures easily and needs skill in handling.

The smoothness of the porcelain body makes it ideal for carving, which I do particularly on open bowls and jars. These designs are mainly floral- I draw beforehand- but I like to work directly onto the clay without copying as I achieve a greater spontaneity and flow. Every imperfection shows on a pale blue celadon carved piece and the losses can be frustratingly high.Some of my work is heavily decorative achieved with the use of coloured glazes and pigments applied over a white base glaze. I may use wax to paint the initial design or mask out areas for overglazing with poured, painted or trailed glaze. Lately I have been experimenting with copper red glazes with their elusive appeal. They require careful control during the reduction firing as they tend to burn out easily. I am using them in combination with other heavy iron glazes achieving deep shades of purples, oranges and reds all intermingled.

A piece of soft maleable clay (specialist though it may be) nurtured through all its processes, then carefully placed in the fire and coached to orange heat never ceases to amaze at the opening of the kiln. A wonderful transformation into a structure which can last for thousands of years, this is the force, which drives me on!