Pottery Background

Stuart HoughtonI trained in studio pottery at Birmingham College of Art and Design. Immediately after graduating I established Collection Gallery, specialising in contemporary craft, and a gift manufacturing business in Birmingham. As much by chance than anything else, I took on an old brass works which lead on to combining ceramics and brass in my work.

In the early 1980’s I moved everything – family, gallery and works –  to Ledbury, Herefordshire, where the gallery gained a good reputation for studio ceramics and was for many years one of a small group of galleries across the country selected for quality by the Crafts Council. During this period my manufacturing business thrived and absorbed much of my waking hours – along with my clutch of six children.

Forty years after leaving Birmingham College, I returned to potting and enjoy “going back to my roots”,  making pots by hand on a traditional potter’s wheel using up to the minute firing technology and equipment – I must admit a soft spot for well-built “kit”. In a fire what or who would I rescue? Pug Mill? closely followed by one or two kilns…..

Stuart throwing porcelainConcentrating on pots, at last, I  aim to  produce uncomplicated, plain designs that provide a foil or simple setting for the foods they hold; useful pots that can be used straight from the oven or kitchen to the dining room and have a sophistication which emerges from their simplicity.  When all is said and done, the proof of the pot is when it has the pudding in it – try it out and tell me what works and what needs more thought, I appreciate direct responses.

I have, in the past, taught pottery – both formally in schools and informally in my workshop and at events.  In particular, helping to set-up a pottery for Salter’s Hill, a Herefordshire-based charity that helps to support people with learning difficulties, was a very rewarding project and my link with the charity is on-going. Whilst the main focus for me is production throwing, if you are interested in learning a little about traditional pottery processes, please ask about 1 to 1 teaching sessions in my Ledbury studio.

Towards the end of 2011 I began working with artist, Peter Arscott and business advisor, Roger Payne. Working creatively with Peter and Roger opened up completly new avenues for me as a potter. Whilst Peter is used to working freely with paints, I am rather more reserved with my coloured glazes. Roger gives perspective and we find working together very agreeable. In 2012 we formed “Belatrova” – a new company producing furniture and ceramics. To see more of Belatrova have a look at the website or visit us at our joint workshop in Ledbury.