Helen Baron Pottery
Clay is the most wonderful stuff. Any trip to a museum will demonstrate the endlessly varied ceramic objects made over the centuries in different cultures and by different potters. Many people can identify at a glance the work of an individual potter or factory. It can be very humble or high art, there is a huge array of materials and techniques at our disposal. The difficulty all we potters have is trying to find the use of clay which suits us best in a world of possibilities. You will see from this website that I use clay in different ways - to make burnished, pit-fired pots, domestic earthenware, tiles and mosaics. I enjoy making them all and find that in 365 days there's time to develop each of these different strands every year.
It seems to me that working in pottery one is bringing together the four elements of earth, water, fire and air and adding to them humanity. Whether by luck or skill, if these five elements are all balanced in a pot it can have an indefinable rightness - soul. Occasionally one comes across a pot which looks absolutely right, in its proportions, decoration, honesty, usefulness. It is evidently made of clay, one can see that it was soft when formed, but the clay hasn't taken over, nor the fire with all its pyrotechnic possibilities, nor the potter with laboured decoration. Many medieval jugs have these qualities. Perhaps there's no replacement for a long apprenticeship turning out workaday pots until skill is assured and self consciousness has been carried away.
Domestic pots are at the heart of things. It's good to make pots that become part of everyday life. I want to make pots which
- look as if they're made of clay
- are in the English tradition
- are functional
- are thrown
- are earthenware
- are straightforward and a pleasure to use
- are timeless and quiet
- tell their own story
- retain the life and energy they have when first thrown
- have decoration that seems like part of the pot
Most of all I want to make pots that have soul.
And in my very long odyssey in search of the Perfect Jug, I'm trying to make the kind of jug that might be used in a Thomas Hardy film, that Tess of the D'Urbevilles might have filled with armfuls of wildflowers and plonked on the kitchen table after a romantic walk.