Madeleine Watkins

I grew up in the north of England mid-way between the city of Manchester and the Peak District National Park. I have lived in Charlottesville for nearly 40 years, and first started learning to make pottery in 2005.


I enjoy making pieces that are surprising but ordered, especially using less common glaze colors and including straight lines by applying colored clay and/or carving (sgraffito technique) when the piece is rotating on the wheel. My pottery is modern and functional with simplicity of design, often in bright colors with crisp lines. I’m not always aware of where my influences come from though I am very drawn to the work of Lucie Rie, the Austrian-British ceramist who I had actually never heard of until I started making pottery myself. I enjoy
getting custom requests, and find it helps me discover new directions.

The majority of my work is wheel thrown, though I do sometimes make hand- built pieces. For many of my pieces I apply colored underglazes to unfired clay, which is then fired to bisque temperature and afterwards glazed with clear glaze. I use a variety of clay types and enjoy seeing how different clay bodies, underglazes, and glazes react. Many of my smaller striped pieces are in porcelain, which best shows the crisp lines and bright colors in those pieces. I often use white and brown stoneware for my larger pieces. I discovered that the
manganese flecks in speckled brown clay add a sparkle to my lanterns. I have recently been making carved porcelain mugs with celadon glazes. These glazes are glossy and transparent and pool in such a way that enhances the carving.

 

Among the types of pieces I make are cups, mugs, bowls, vases, lanterns, plates, pie-dishes, teapots and lamps.