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Throwing Pottery At The Settle Stories Festival
Fresh from his victory in the massively popular television series, 'The Great Pottery Throw Down', organisers at the Settle Stories Festival are delighted to announce that master potter Matthew Wilcock will be joining them to give audiences a feel for his art and his motivation.

As well as being a professional potter and ceramicist, Matthew is a teacher of pottery at Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire, where he now lives.

Born in Garstang near Preston, the son of a pottery technician at the University of Central Lancashire, it seemed a logical step to undertake his degree at the same location.

A gifted artist, Matthew comes to the Settle Stories Festival bearing examples of his own work, and he will be giving a demonstration to fledgling potters!

Always pleased to discuss his work with others, we spoke to Matthew about his life and work:



QCongratulations on taking first place on 'The Great Pottery Throw Down' Matthew, and on surviving the media whirlwind that surrounds high profile TV programmes! Are you currently exhibiting any of your work?
AMy work is currently being exhibited at 'Studio Vault' in Settle; I like to supply them with new work all the time, quite often it is fresh out of the kiln. However, there are many exhibitions lined up for the forthcoming year, at a variety of different venues across the country, and even a couple of international ones. It's going to be a very busy year!
QYou've said elsewhere that your father is a potter and an arts technician. Tell us a little about your formative experiences. Were you introduced to the art form very early on, and was it a fait accompli for you as soon as you first became aware of it ?
AWhen you grow up in an environment where both your parents are heavily involved in the arts, it's of course going to have an effect on your future.

From a young age I've always enjoyed being creative and its always been encouraged by my parents; I didn't really consider it as a future though until I was 16. In my teens I had flying lessons and was convinced I wanted to be a pilot; it wasn't until the summer I left school that I chose to grow dreadlocks and go to art college.
QYou work at Giggleswick School. How do you balance the creative and teaching aspects of your career? Is teaching as rewarding as the impulse to create?
AI would be lying if I said it was easy to balance. Quite often I won't really start making until 18:00. During the day, in between classes, I do tasks which can be stopped as and when, such as packing a kiln or recycling clay.
Teaching is more rewarding than the impulse to create.

It's incredible to watch young minds at work, they are very free and have few boundaries. The impulse to create is the opposite of rewarding, it's like a little voice in my head telling me to do things; however, we are only given so much time in life and I need to make decisions constantly of what not to make because another idea is more important.

Really I would love another one of me so I could play around with new ideas, the only problem then would be we would have twice as many ideas.

QColour and abstract design are clearly very important to your creative method.

Can you tell us some more about how you arrive at a decision to use a particular colour shade or ceramic design? Is the process random and inspirational, or do you plan in advance of the workQ?
AI use one glaze in my work, and with that glaze I rely on the different colours of clay underneath it, and the different stains/oxides I add to the glaze to change the outcome.

It can sometimes be an educated guess as to how a piece may look but everything is a learning curve.

Most of my work is taken from the Mediaeval potters of Britain; they had limited resources and had to do the best they could.

I also look at a range of contemporary artists too. The forms and decorations which are applied to my pots is something which has developed over centuries, however the basic formula remains the same.
QAnd finally, what are your ambitions for the future ?
AI try not to plan too far into the future. It is my intention always to do some teaching whilst being a potter as I enjoy that creative environment.

Discover more of Matthew's story at the Settle Stories Festival where well known Yorkshire artist Margaret Uttley will be interviewing him and discovering more of his story.

Article written by Dr Steve Whitaker

Throwing Pottery At The Settle Stories Festival, 26th February 2016, 16:33 PM