Liz English Exhibition 2022

Melissa Graham is a studio potter living in Tarring, Worthing. After a lifetime of (mostly suppressed) longing for hand-made pottery, awakened by experience of robust, friendly pots often found on kitchen tables in the 1970s; and a yearning, from early childhood, to try the magic of a pottery wheel, she finally found the impetus in 2018, after an illness gave her time to reflect on her priorities.

Melissa first studied at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. She has subsequently been tutored and mentored by local potter John Evans (widely known for  his fume-fired raku work) whose support, knowledge and wide acquaintance in the world of ceramics, has been invaluable.

During the last 6 years Melissa has been greatly inspired by receiving tuition from established artists. In 2019, a course with Miranda Forrest (who works in the Hebrides using materials from her local landscape) kindled Melissa’s interest in ash glazes. In 2022 she took a workshop with Dylan Bown, whose unique slipware style was a revelation concerning spontaneity and flow. Most recently, she undertook a course exploring the Korean Moon-jar, with notable artist Michel Francois, who has made it his mission to know and understand this beautiful form. From this course she gained much technical knowledge and began to think about the relationship between throwing and sculpting to create dynamic forms.

Melissa’s primary focus is functional pots, as she finds a great sense of human connection in using hand-made pots to cook and serve food and longs to pass this on. She is fascinated by the way a hand-made pot can surprise the hand by its weight, shape or balance; and how a small personal touch on a pot can feel like intimate communication. However, as experience of using the clay suggests possibilities, there are also some pots which are more whimsical or exploratory.

Melissa has chosen to call this exhibition ‘Moments in Clay’ as this is how she experiences the creative process. Each cup, bowl or plate is for a time (or several times, i.e. throwing, trimming, decorating) the subject of her deepest focus and attention; and these moments are captured in the clay.

Tuesday – Sunday // 10.00 – 17.00

Part of Worthing Artist Open Houses