Garden City Potters is a small group of ceramicists living and working in North Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They first met working at the Digswell Trust, Fenners Building in Letchworth five or six years ago. When that facility closed down pre-pandemic, the group dispersed, but staying connected, it soon became obvious that cooperation and sharing of ideas, equipment, and materials would motivate and help everyone.
Naturally, individual styles vary hugely and our work is influenced by many sources, ancient and modern. Imitation in its nicest form is fundamental to the tradition of ceramics, from Chinese porcelain to Mediterranean earthenware to modern European ceramics studio pottery. Some makers concentrate on form and shape, whilst others see their work as three dimensional canvasses. For these workers, surface decoration is of equal of greater importance to form.
The Group is fortunate and privileged to have a highly experienced and internationally respected ceramicist as one of its members. Providing invaluable technical advice and guidance, as well as motivation, she is central to the success of the Group.
Miche Follano, MA
“Inspired by my love affair with collage, alongside text, printing and painting, together with the overlaying of multiple surfaces, my current body of work uses urban landscapes to inspire contemporary works. The interplay between surface and form, the ways in which colour, text and imagery exist side by side, provide infinite ways that processes can be transformed into rich, visceral and individually personal expressive statements. Intuitive mark making, lithography, and clay manipulation builds an exciting visual language. Overfired terracotta clay can represent grubby industrial brickwork and rooftops of the urban landscape. Use of slips, stains, oxides and printed material provides endless possibilities of personal freedom of expression.”
The Arts and Craft movement is the main influence of her work, both in its aesthetics, its principles of respect for craftmanship, and an appreciation of our native flora, all of which she believes has particular resonance in today’s world.
This has been a journey of discovery, researching ceramic materials, techniques and design principles used within the movement, both in Britain and North America.
The aim was to develop her own designs using this knowledge and her love of native flora, to produce pieces true to the aims and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement.
This has influenced the development of her work at every stage, together with the influence of the physical and natural environment, being a resident of Letchworth Garden City.
“My chosen way of making is influenced by the Japanese philosophy of Utsawa, literally “cup” or “vessel” for everyday use.
Developing a style was the result of many and long discussions with my potter friends. It reminded me of the time I worked in mental health, offering help and guidance, and I decided that I needed to make pieces that reflected my feelings and personal experience. I realised that this is common to many creative artists.
Building beautiful objects from clay can be very therapeutic and the concentration required takes one away from life’s everyday stresses. The pleasure derived from the magic of producing a pot from a bag of clay into a useful or lovely object can be immeasurable.”
“ I often ask myself: “what makes an interesting or beautiful pot?” Is it form and shape or surface decoration? I have never quite managed to work that out. My work is influenced by classical ceramics, especially from China, Japan and Korea. Form and fine glaze was most definitely valued here. However, as a painter, I find it very difficult to ignore the opportunity to use the surface of my pots as 3D canvasses.
Potters will often find a theme for their work and way of making, and stick closely to it for long periods of time. Me, I tend to flit about, trying different techniques and styles. So don’t expect uniformity in my work.”