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Artist's Statement


John Pollex has carved out a unique niche in the world of studio pottery. During the 70s and early 80s he established himself as a respected maker of traditional Slipware, before his work took a dramatic turn. In 1981 he was invited to take part in a lecture tour of New Zealand with the contemporary American ceramist Don Reitz. The bold use of colour in the work of Reitz was exciting compared to the muted tones of celadons, tenmokus and honey glazes back in Britain; consequently he became more interested in the colourful work being produced by potters in the USA.


In 1984 Pollex decided to change direction. Referring to the work of painters such as Sir Howard Hodgkin, Robert Natkin, Patrick Heron and Ben Nicholson, Pollex used his knowledge and understanding of the application of slips (liquid clay) to develop a completely different style of working. He dispensed with slip trailers in favour of paintbrushes and sponges and more recently plastic spatulas, intensely coloured earthenware slips are applied in a free and painterly abstract manner. The change seems to have been clean and dramatic and appears to owe nothing to the slipware of before.


Apart from his regard for the aforementioned painters, Pollex’s work often includes references to his interest in Zen Buddhism, in particular the immediacy of brush strokes in Zen calligraphy.


Pollex is often asked why he never paints in the conventional manner. He says that he has always been a potter who enjoys what he does and he still feels there is much more to discover in the world of ceramics.


For Pollex music plays an important part in the activity of painting a pot; it helps him to create an atmosphere that reflects his mood and feelings at the time. His preference generally falls into two categories, which he likes to think of, as inner and outer. The inner being more contemplative, which might include Gregorian chants, Indian music and the timelessness of the Shakuhachi from Japan. The outer would cover anything from modern jazz to opera.


John Pollex studied at Sir John Cass in Whitechapel from 1966-68; he then went on to become Technician at Harrow College of Art during 1968-70. After Harrow he became assistant to Colin Pearson until 1971. He moved to Plymouth in the autumn of 1971.


YouTube clips of me talking about my work and influences.
Clip 1.

Clip 2.






1979 South Wales Potters
1977/79 Potters Camp, Dartington, Devon
1981 Irish Craft Potters Society, Carrick on Shannon
1981 Chiltern and Dacorum Potters guild, Tring, Herts
1981 Craft Potters Association, London
1982 Wey ceramics Group, Chobham, Surrey
1982 North Wales Potters, Bangor Wales
1982 Potters Camp, Loseley, Surrey
1982 British Craft Fair, Kew, London
1983 Iron Bridge Arts Centre, Exeter
1983 Highland Craftpoint, Inverness, Scotland
1983 Cornish Craft Association, Truro
1983 Richmond Adult Education, London
1983 Midland Potters, Nottingham
1984 Potterycrafts, London
1984 Potterycrafts, Stoke on Trent
1984 Art in Action, Oxford
1985 Potterycrafts, Plymouth
1985 Potterycrafts, Feltham, London
1985 Potterycrafts, Nottingham
1985 Art in Action, Oxford
1985 Potterycrafts, Stoke on Trent
1986 Art in Action, Oxford
1986 Arts and Craft Centre, Beckenham, London
1986 Kent ,Potters, Gravesend, Kent
1986 Spelthorne Centre, Staines, Middx
1986 Northern Potters Camp, Bretton, Yorks
1987 Potterycrafts, Mitcham, London
1987 Potterycrafts, Stoke on Trent
1988 Potterycrafts, Enfield, London
1988 Briar Wheels, Fordingbridge, Hants
1989 Loughborough University
1990 Scottish Potters Association, Inverness
1990 Northern Potters, Manchester
1991 Potterycrafts, Stoke on Trent
1991 Potters Day, Bridgewater, Somerset
1991 Art in Action, Oxford
1992 South London Potters, Bromley
1992 Wealdon Potters, Haywards Heath
1992 Art in Action, Oxford
1992 Midland Art Centre, Birmingham
1993 International Potters Festival, Aberystwyth
1993 Chiltern and Dacorum Potters Guild, Herts
1994 Southern Potters, Winchester, Hants
2003 Westcountry Potters, Devon
2005 Appledore Arts Festival, Nth. Devon
2006 Sth Wales Potters, Abergervanny
2012 East Anglian Potters. Norfolk

2013 Cornwall Ceramics & Glass group


Overseas Lectures Demonstrations:


1981 New Zealand Society of Potters Annual Symposium, Palmerston Nth, New Zealand, followed by a series of two day workshops at Nelson, Dunedin, Invercargill, Hamilton and Auckland
1982 Podmore Ceramics Seminar,Amsterdam
1983 Podmore Ceramics Seminar, University Brussels, Belgium
1983 Potterycrafts Seminar, Reikjavik, Iceland
1985 Potterycrafs Seminar, Bregenz, Austria
1990 New Zealand, Seven Seminars Tour
1992 Irish Craft Potters, Sligo, Ireland
1996 Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa, USA




1977 Devon Potters, Royal Albert Museum, Exeter
1977 Presentation Pieces, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
1978 Solo Exhibition, Windjammer Crafts, Salcombe, Devon
1979 New Members, CPA, London
1979 South Devon Potters, Exeter University
1979 "Slipware", Craft Shop, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
1979 "10 Plymouth Potters", Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
1980 Pots for Drinking, Cyder Press Centre Dartington
1981 "Big Pots", British Craft Centre, London
1981 Podmore Potters, Stoke on Trent Museum And Art Gallery
1982 Group Show, Rufford Craft Centre, Nottingham
1983 "Jugs Jars and Jolley Boys", Whitworth Art Gallery
1983 Solo Exhibition, de Pottenbacker, Brussels Belgium
1983 "Slipware", Cornish Craft Association
1983 "Lazy Hazy Days", Cyder Press Centre Dartington, Devon
1983 Studio Ceramics Today, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
1984 "Ceramics 84", Rufford Craft Centre, Nottingham
1984 Ceramics Spectacular, Plymouth Art Centre, Devon
1985 "Shades of Blue", CPA, London
1985 Annual Exhibitor, Devon Guild of Craftsmen Bovey Tracey, Devon
1985 "Miscellany 85", Mid-Cornwall Gallery
1986 "Potters 86" CPA, London
1987 Pots and Tapestries, Otterton Mill, Devon
1987 CPA Members, Mid- Cornwall Gallery
1987 "Jugs", Innate Harmony, London
1988 CPA Members, Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool
1988 Showcase, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
1988 Solo Exhibition, Simon Drew Gallery, Dartmouth, Devon
1989 "The Mad Hatters Tea Party" Mid-Cornwall Gallery
1989 Solo Exhibition, Theatre Royal, Plymouth
1989 CPA Members, Mid- Cornwall Gallery
1989 Contemporary Devon Art, Coombe Farm Studios, Dartmouth
1989 "Blue Moon Fever", North Cornwall Gallery, Bude, N. Cornwall
1989 "Friends of The Earth", New St . Gallery, Plymouth
1989 "Teapots" CPA London
1990 "4 Legs Good,2 Legs Bad" Simon Drew Gallery, Dartmouth
1990 Solo Exhibition, Devon Guild of Craftsmen Bovey Tracey
1990 Fletcher Open, Auckland, New Zealand
1990 Solo, Christchurch, New Zealand
1990 Solo, Auckland, New Zealand
1990 "Pots Prints and Paintings", Opus 1, London
1990 Showcase, CPA London
1990 Contemporary Ceramics, New St. Gallery, Plymouth
1991 "Arts for the Environment", New St. Gallery, Plymouth
1991 Solo Exhibition, White Lane Gallery Plymouth
1991 CPA Members, Mid-Cornwall Gallery,
1991 Solo Exhibition, CPA London
1992 Solo Exhibition, Aberystwyth Art Centre Aberystwyth, Wales
1992 CPA Members, Catalan Craft Centre, Barcelona, Spain
1992 "Mug Shots", Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
1992 "Plats du Jour", Blue Coat Centre, Liverpool
1992 "Anyone for Tea", Gibbs Gallery Canterbury, Kent
1992 Solo Exhibition, Jewel and Roberts, Holmfirth, Yorks
1993 Heart to Heart, CPA, London
1993 European Ceramics, Knaresborough, Nth. Yorks
1993 CCA, London, Xmas Show
1994 Solo Exhibition, Bettles Gallery, Hants
1994 CPA Members, Mid-Cornwall Gallery
1994 "Wall Pieces", Rufford Craft Centre, Nottingham
1994 Studio Potters, V&A Museum, London
1995 "Jugs", Devon Guild Craftsmen Bovey Tracey, Devon
1995 Gordon Hepworth Gallery, Nr. Exeter, Devon
1995 British Art Fair, Royal College of Art, London
1996 "Art 96" London Contemporary Art Fair, The Business Design Centre, London
1996 John Pollex & Ashley Howard. Bettles Gallery, Hants.
1996 British Art Fair, Royal College of Art, London
1996 CPA Members, Mid Cornwall Galleries.
1997 Art '97 Design Centre, London.
1997 Messing with Mud, Plymouth Art Centre.
1998 Art ‘98 Design Centre, London.
1998 St. James Gallery, Bath.
1998 Montpellier Gallery, Glos.
1998 Bircham Gallery, Norfolk.
1999 Art ’99 Design Centre, London.
1999 Solo Ex. Brook St. Gallery, Hay on Wye.
2000 The Oxford Gallery, Oxford.
2000 Art 2000 Design Centre, London
2000 Solo Ex. Bettles Gallery, Hants.
2001 Art 2001 Design Centre, London.
2001 ‘Use it’ Rufford Craft Centre. Notts.
2001 ‘Kaleidoscope’ Coombe Farm Gallery, Devon.
2001 Mainhill Gallery, Ancrum, Jedburgh, Scotland.
2001 ‘Snake in the Garden’ touring exhibition. Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, Wales.
Collins Gallery, University of Glasgow, Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, England.
Midland Art Centre, Birmingham, England. Hove Museum & Art Gallery, England.
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, England.
2001 Clay no.8’ Woodbury Studio Gallery, Devon.
2001 Solo Ex. Dartington Cyder Press, Devon.
2002 Art 2002, Design Centre, London.
2002 ‘Teabowls’ The Oakwood Gallery, Notts.
2002 ‘Tea Party’ Bircham Contemporary Arts, Norfolk.
2002 Sofa – Chicago, USA.
2003 Art 2002, Design Centre, London.
2003 ‘Tea total’ Contemporary Ceramics, London.
2003 ‘Spring Ex. P.R. Collections. Herts.
2003 ‘Summer Ex’. Potters. Bristol.
2003 Ceramic Screens. Paul Somerville. Plymouth
2004 Art 2004, Design Centre, London
2004 Gallery Q2, Dundee, Scotland
2004 'Slipware' Rufford Ceramic Centre, Notts
2004 'Clay 11' Woodbury Studio Gallery, Devon
2004 'Images from the floating world', Marshall Arts Gallery, Totnes, Devon
2004 Ceramic Screens - 'The Gemini Series' Paul Somerville, Plymouth
2005 Solo Ex. Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, Nth. Devon
2005 'Teapots' The Queens Gallery, Dundee, Scotland
2005 Ceramic Screens, 'The Hendrix Series', Paul Somerville, Plymouth
2006 'What a Dish' Contemporary Ceramics, London
2006 'Picasso theme ex' Wetpaint Gallery, Cirencester
2006 Solo Ex. Broughton Gallery, Broughton, Scotland
2006 'Fire, Form and Function. The Gallery at Bevere, Worcester
2006 'Plates and Platters'. Paul Somerville, Plymouth
2007 Rufford Craft Centre. Notts
2007 The Gallery at Bevere. Worcs
2007 Bircham Gallery, Norfolk
2007 Artmill Gallery, Plymouth
2008 Bowie Gallery. The Guardian Hay Festival, Hay on Wye
2008 'Painted'. Contemporary Ceramics, London
2008 Bettles Gallery, Hampshire
2009 'Summer Ex.' The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
2009 Artmill, Plymouth
2009 'Clay 16', Woodbury Studio Gallery, Devon
2010 The Gallery at Bevere, Worc
2010 The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Devon
2010 Simon Drew Gallery, Devon
2010 The City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth
2010 The Gallery Upstairs, Henley-in-Arden
2011 Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbeighshire
2011 The Gallery Upstairs, Henley-in-Arden
2012 Solo Ex. Contemporary Ceramics Centre, London

2013 Porthminster Gallery, St.Ives.

2013 Leeds City Art Gallery

2014 Porthminster Art Gallery, St, Ives.

2014 Tim Andrew Woodbury Gallery Devon. 'Clay 21'

"Slipware" (pub. Pitmans 1979)

Kent University.



















































































TV Appearances:

WTV "Which Craft?" 1976
WTV "Preview West" (Arts Programme) 1980
TSW Today South West 1983
WTV Insight 1996



Mary Wondrausch on Slipware. 1986
Ceramic Review. No.132. Nov/Dec 1991
Ceramic Series No. 51. Jan/Feb 1992 John Pollex by Sandy Brown.
Ceramics Technical, No. 5, 1997. 'Slip painted ceramics'
The Studio Potter. Dec 1999. Volume 28 No1

The Snake in the Garden, Slipware: The renaissance of a European Tradition,
Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Devon Today. Dec 2003
Ceramics Technical, No. 20, 2005. Ceramic Screens - 'The Voulkos Series'
Engoben, A German book on Slipware by Wolf Matthes. (great images) 2006

Ceramics art and Perception. Issue 73, 2008.
My tribute to my Teacher the late Colin Pearson.

Techniques using Slip, John Mathieson. 2010.
CPA News, No 142 March / April 2012



Technical Information
Clay: White earthenware. Kiln: Electric. Bisque Temp: 1050c. Glaze Temp: 1115c. Slips:- Black background: Red Body Clay 68%, Potash Feldspar 9.5%, China Clay 4.75%, Manganese Dioxide 4.75%, Red Iron Oxide 13.2%.- White base slip for colours: Throwing clay dried and crushed to powder before adding water.Both slips are passed through a 120-mesh sieve twice.Preparation of coloured slips:Dilute 20gm of body stain in about 1cm of water in a 450gm yoghurt pot. Add the white base slip and mix to a thin creamy consistency. I also mix up neat solutions of the of the body stain colours in the plastic containers films are supplied in. Once the range of colours is laid out on a suitable non-porous surface, the neat solutions can be added to them with a brush to create varying tones of colour.