Breck Stoneware - Poulton ceramacist Stephen Green is fired with a new passion.
PUBLISHED: 16:07 05 February 2013 | UPDATED: 21:08 10 February 2013
After more than 30 years teaching art, Poulton ceramacist Stephen Green is fired with a new passion.
Stephens studio in Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, opens as part of an art trail scheme in May. For more information see www.breckstoneware.co.uk. Potfest in Penrith is scheduled for August 2-4.
The old jibe that those who can do while those who cant teach has a particularly hollow ring when you talk to Stephen Green, an award-winning ceramicist in Poulton-le-Fylde. Hes done both.
The Preston-born artist spent more than 30 years at the chalk face, endeavouring to share his skills with pupils at Montgomery High in Bispham.
But when the chance came to take early retirement, he jumped at the opportunity to reveal his work to a wider and, perhaps, more appreciative audience.
I suppose going into teaching is the safe option for an artist, he admits. But safety first was not an approach he intended to take into retirement for making high quality pottery has become a full-time, if highly enjoyable, new career.
Recognition came swiftly when he not only picked up the Craft & Design gold award for ceramics but was also named Maker of the Year. It gave him a national profile. It really kicked things off for me to the extent where my work is now for sale in galleries from the north of Scotland to the Bristol Channel, said Stephen, whose pottery carries the name Breck Stoneware.
The awards combined with some adept work on social media led to him invited to join an online gallery in New York and quite of a few of the 200 to 300 pots he produces each year go across the Atlantic.
Packaging can be a nightmare with something as breakable as pottery, he says. It can cost almost as much as the pot but the Americans understand that. Ive established a following over there.
Another breakthrough was when his work started to fly off the shelves at a shop in St Annes. That led to him exhibiting at Potfest, held each year in the cattle stalls at Penrith Market. You have to time it right or it can be a bit whiffy, he laughs. But its a great event with 120 potters and a couple of thousands visitors each day.
Stephen sells his work for prices ranging from around 60. Not bad for unique, handmade stoneware, created by coils rather than on a wheel. A lot of potters would disagree, but I think using a wheel is almost too instantaneous, he says.
His pots are not just for admiring. They are frost-resistant so they can be used in gardens and he also takes commissions including a recent job to produce heart-shaped urns for someones ashes!
You only have to look at his work to realise Stephen is heavily influenced by the art nouveau movement and his own recipes for glazes used at extremely high temperatures produce stunning effects.
The amount of piercing to create a lattice effect is also an outstanding feature. Ive had some disasters over the years, he says. Pots need to be what they call leather hard too soft and they collapse, too hard and they break. Must be why Ive got so much grey hair!