Collins Nic

Collins Nic

Born Leamington Spa, 1958

Works in Moretonhampstead, Devon

Nic has been potting for more than 30 years. His first encounters with wood firing began as he had no other way to fire his work. From an early age Nic began building kilns as well as wheels and sourcing his own clay from the local river banks in his area. He has experimented in the past with raku, sawdust firings and salt glazing.

After teaching himself to throw, Nic went to Derby College of Art where he completed an HND. He then briefly worked in potteries in Germany and Italy, returning to set up home and workshop at Powdermills, the site of an old gunpowder mill, set in the heart of Dartmoor. Nic now lives and works in Moretonhampstead on the edge of Dartmoor.

He is inspired by medieval English pottery and wood-fired Japanese ceramics. Firing with wood gives the pots their warm ‘toasted’ colour and careful packing of the kiln, based on traditional Japanese anagama (single chamber) kilns, gives some degree of control over the production. The firing can take up to 60 hours, stoking every 15 minutes and after a four-day cooling period the kiln is unpacked. Nic is currently using a groundhog type kiln, firing for around 80 hours to temperatures exceeding 1300oC, and using shino and ash glazes. All work is made on a momentum kick wheel.

The Number 1 kiln built at Powdermills was of the Olsen fast fire design and soon replaced by a very large 500 cu. ft. anagama type kiln. Products made included large garden pots and a range of domestic wares. Use of local clays and firing techniques have resulted in more one-off pieces now being produced. Pots show a build up of ash glaze, wadding marks, scars and flame flashing.

After moving to new premises a smaller kiln has been built to develop his ideas further.
Nic likes to achieve a build up of texture from the effects of the firing. Some pots returning to the fire up to seven times. There is also the exploration of different effects by using different clays and utilising various areas of the kiln.

Background and history

  • 1983-1985: Stratford College
  • 1985-1987: Derby Art School: HND Studio Ceramics
  • 1987: Workshop experience in Italy and Germany
  • 1988-2000 Powdermills Pottery, Postbridge, Dartmoor, Founder and owner
  • 2000: Personal workshop in Moretonhampstead, Devon