Philip mainly works in hand thrown and assembled porcelain
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Philip Wilks, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires him and his favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making?
I cannot remember a time when I have not enjoyed the activity of making. Generations of my family have been involved in various crafts but I am the first to have gone to Art College where I studied Ceramics. I have my Art teacher to thank who told me that I was good enough to do a degree at Art College. I first used clay on my Arts Foundation course and as I was to be found in the pottery studio at every opportunity, applying to study ceramics at Loughborough was a natural next stage.
After graduating, I started my career in teaching and setup making ceramics at home. There was no room for a pottery wheel and so I made stoneware slabpots. These were influenced by my final year degree work and tutor, Martin Smith, who had just graduated from the Royal College of Art.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
My current work is mainly in porcelain, which is hand thrown and assembled. My recent work Coral Bowl was inspired by a drawing of coral that I did whilst visiting the zoology museum at Cambridge University. I created the glazed used that are called Ocean Blue and Matt Crackle. The bowl was made using Glacier Porcelain and Acrylic resist creates a deep relief surface decoration which I then fill with glaze.
What are your inspirations?
Having given my time to a career in teaching, raising a family and building our home, I returned to producing individual pieces of pottery. Form, function and craft are equally important to me and whilst I strive to create finely made pieces that are pleasing both visually and to hold, they are also functional. Harmony and purity of form are central to my current work, inspired by drawings of natural forms.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
Doing sketches from observation, throwing and turning are my favourite part of the making process and, whilst I enjoy creating and developing my glazes, I find glazing my pots difficult.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently refining my resist/relief decoration and I am working to produce some large porcelain bowls. I have also built a catenary arch kiln at the bottom of the garden with Jack Doherty’s helpful written guidance and am looking forward to developing some soda fired pots.