The Jetty Gallery

The Jetty Gallery

Michelle Freemantle

"I create functional ceramics that are tactile and visually pleasing, using a mix of hand built, press mold and thrown techniques. Lines and text, often snippets of thoughts or poetry written during my travels, are inscribed into the surfaces and slips applied. I like the way you can get more pleasure from eating and drinking from handmade vessels and I try to meld function and art into each piece.

After graduating from Derby University with a BA in Applied Arts, I was selected to take part in IWCAT 2000, an international workshop in Tokoname, Japan and subsequently invited back two years later, to make work for an international group exhibition.
Japan had a huge effect on me and my approach to ceramics. Through staying with a host family I saw at meal times, each dish complimenting the food it contained. Conscious thought had gone into the placing of foods and the choice of ceramics used. I liked the idea that I wasn’t simply eating to sustain my body, I was feeding my eyes and my mind at the same time.

Before setting up my own studio I  worked as an assistant to Rob Bibby at Woodnewton Pottery as well as with salt glazer Christine Pedley in La Borne, France. It was Christine who taught me to throw really. I would have to weigh out a pile of balls to a certain grammage and sit and throw cylinders one after another. She’d come along with a wire and cut them in half exposing the thickness of the walls and evenness of the throw or not as the case was then!

After first experiencing Finland whilst studying, over the past 20 years I’ve been back to the country on many occasions after falling in love with its snowy landscapes. It was bitterly cold that first time I was there with temperatures down to -40degrees, icicles hung on my lashes as I walked over frozen lakes. It really was magical. I think these experiences lay seeded in my head for a long time before it arrived in the form of my 'Talvi' series which translates as winter in Finnish. The silver birches, lakes, patternation on the land, made from the likes of roads, fence and field boundaries intersecting through blankets of white provided inspiration for this range. Even down to the shadows created on the snow from blue blue skies above."