Stoneware garden pottery and sculptures
Paul Mossman produces stoneware garden pottery and sculptures. The pots are wheel thrown, using traditional methods which can trace their history back thousands of years. Extruded clay is used to extend the height of the larger pots, in the same way that the Ancient Greeks and before them the Minoan civilisation created their iconic pots.
It takes several days to build up the layers, so the edge of the unfinished pot needs to be kept damp so that the additional layers added later can adhere to it. However, while the Greeks used chamois leather to keep the pots damp overnight, Paul uses rather more prosaic plastic strips! It is quite a spectacular sight to watch the larger pots grow taller over a period of days.
The stoneware pottery varies in size, shape and texture. There are also pots which include elements of sculpture in them. Although there are some standard designs, most of the pottery is made to order and so variations in size, shape and colour are all possible.
Why do some garden pots break with frost?
There are two main types of garden pottery, stoneware and earthenware – also known as terracotta. Earthenware or terracotta only has a two way bond which allows water to pass through. Unfortunately, as water expands on freezing such pots do not often survive the winter, as slivers of the eathernware become detached – the familiar sight of bits of pot appearing on the patio! Also, when caring for plants in the summer the water passes through the soil and the body of the earthenware. The salt crystals in plant food reform when they reach the glaze: the crystals grow and force the glaze away from the body of the pot.
Paul’s vitrified stoneware avoids these problems. The stoneware is fired at a higher temperature (1,260 degrees) – ‘vitrified’ – which means the elements have a three way bond which doesn’t allow water to pass through. This means that instead of buying new pots every spring you can enjoy your chosen pottery for years to come.
Commissioning your own stoneware pottery and sculptures is a fairly easy and enjoyable task. Paul usually asks that you find something of a similar size to the pottery or sculpture you want and simply dropped into place. This might be a box, wheelie bin or some other household, or garden object, to help you get a sense of size and perspective. A quick measure up then will give you the dimensions of the pottery, or sculpture you are looking for. It’s usually a good idea to take a photograph as well, so Paul can get a sense of where the pottery or sculpture will finally be displayed.
One of Paul’s signature designs is a series of unusual dragons. Dragons come in many guises all around the world, embracing different cultures, religions and time and history zones. Children buy cheap ones, teenagers buy into goth trends and then some adults are prepared to spend serious amounts of money on collecting unusual dragons.
Paul’s dragons are humanistic and represent the work and hobbies of our modern lives. Focusing on dragons enables him to create sculptures that cannot be deemed wrong or inaccurate. If you change the head for a human head, then they can immediately be judged right or wrong in terms of proportion or accuracy, look or glance. After all Michelangelo captured the human physiology so well millennia ago!
If you would like to commission some garden pottery, please contact Paul using the contact form here, or simply call the contact number below.