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Richard Phethean



Born:11.08.53


Richard Phethean trained at Camberwell in the early seventies, making domestic stoneware under a self-imposed 'Harrow' regime and tutored by Colin Pearson and Janice Tchalenko.  Spells followed in the studios of both, including one year as a production thrower in Colin's Kent workshop.

“In my first studio space, established in 1980, an interest in early English slipware began an ongoing exploration of the medium. Using traditional slip-trailing and sgraffito techniques, I spent two years developing ranges of honey and clear glazed tableware. However, preoccupied with achieving greater depth and texture of surface, a more personal style began to evolve. I brushed rather than dipped the base colour onto the terracotta, building up layers of thin slip washes. Using paper resist and sponge-printed motifs the decoration became geometric and analytical, the forms concave and stylised.

Two years spent working as a volunteer on a crafts project in the Papua New Guinea highlands 1985-87 had an overwhelming impact, both emotionally and politically. This led to a radical reappraisal of my work as a craftsman, and marked a return to classical vessel forms, a looser decorative style and a more sombre palette.
Recent work reflects a fresh sense of optimism and signals a further move back to the essential spontaneity and warmth of functional pottery.”