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H. 16 x dia. 20 cm



About Ian Henderson

Ian Henderson first worked with clay as a teenager at Rochdale Art College; in later years, travel in Japan provided inspiration to explore further.  Re-learning ceramic skills at Westbury Arts Centre and Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Ian eventually set up his own studio to provide the illusion of greater control of the ceramic process.


Ian’s ceramic interest is centred on Korean and Japanese styles, particularly the “Mingei” (Folk Art) style developed by Hamada Shoji & Bernard Leach in the early 20th century.  Many of his pieces adopt “functional” forms; however, they are intended for display rather than for practical use.


Much of his work is wheel-thrown, typically with coarse black clay.  Pieces are decorated with very lightly applied slip and atomised glaze.  This produces subtle and irregular textures over simple forms.  These pieces aspire to evoke a “Shibui” style of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.



Maker Q&A

Where did your relationship with art begin?

I: I vividly remember seeing Picasso’s series of interpretations of Las Meninas at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.  This was in the late 1960’s, when I was about 11.  I was stunned by his ability to interpret the original in so many different ways.  It was only in later years that I started to make more sense of this level of insight.


What first drew you to your current process?

I: First hand-building, then throwing, helped me establish a meditative practice where the process of construction took centre stage.  I found this clearing of the mind helped me express myself more simply, rather than obsessing about the final form.


Do you listen to anything as you work?

I: In the studio I normally listen to minimal classical music – usually streaming Radio 3’s Night Tracks or Unclassified.  “Music for 18 Musicians” is perfect for throwing.  But if I’m working on Saturday afternoon, I’ll be listening to Gilles Peterson.


Is functionality important to your work?

I: I prefer most of my pieces to look functional (with the Mingei school in mind) – but it’s not important that my work is functional.  I’m drawn to the mundane, the super-ordinary as a point of reflection.

Large Bubble Vase | H. 16 cm | By Ian Henderson

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