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Phethean, Richard

About Richard Phethean

Slip decorated earthenware pottery
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

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.”

Training and Experience

  • 1968: Visited Scott Marshall’s pottery, St Just, Cornwall, resolved to become a potter.
  • 1976: Ceramics Degree Show, Camberwell School of Art and Crafts
  • 1977: Art Teacher’s Diploma, Goldsmith’s College
  • 1975-79: Occasional studio assistant to Janice Tchalenko
  • 1977-78: Assistant and production thrower at Colin Pearson’s Studio, Aylesford, Kent.

Other Activities

  • Teaching: Visiting Tutor, Harrow College
  • Richmond Adult and Community College
  • From the studio: Phethean School weekend workshops and one-to-one tuition all year round.
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