SIMON RICH Pottery
Simon Rich was born on the 27th March 1949. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to Alan Caiger-Smith of the Aldermarston Pottery where he trained for four years before starting his own workshop in Tisbury, Wiltshire.
In 1972 he moved to Pembrokeshire and started up a pottery. Over the years, Simon has supplied many leading art / craft galleries and London Department Stores. He has had numerous exhibitions, and is a member of the Makerís Guild of Wales. He has also had pieces in the museums of Swansea and Bristol, and the Musee National de Ceramique in Paris.
For the past five years or so Simon has been concentrating on producing fumed copper Raku pieces. He also combines fumed copper with Terrasigilata using African bush fire techniques, and has recently resumed his work with crystal glazes. Simon aims through constant innovation, experimentation and perfecting of techniques and forms, to create works of outstanding quality and beauty.
Crystalline glazes are produced by overloading a glaze with zinc oxide. Small amounts of metal oxides are then added to colour the glazes. The pots are fired rapidly to 1260 C, allowed to cool to 1000 C, and held there for three hours. During this time the zinc begins to grow crystals within the glaze.
The process of fuming copper oxide and carbonate onto raku pottery can be one of the most spectacular and elusive techniques known. Given the correct treatment, copper can give the raku potter an infinite spectrum of exciting colours and surface qualities, which cannot be matched by any other oxide.
Simon limits himself to making only vases and bowls while producing fumed copper raku. The full rounded shapes that appeal to him actually lend themselves to this method, as the rounded form is more likely to give pleasing results. All his work is wheel thrown. Larger pieces are often made in two parts and joined together the following day. When leather hard they are turned, and smoothed to obtain the desired profile. After drying, the pots are biscuit fired to 1000 C. The first stage of the raku process is to glaze the inside of the pot, and allow this to dry before applying the copper. Copper oxide or carbonate is then mixed with small amounts of alkaline fritt-9 to 1, and then applied to the outside by spraying, brushing and dipping. Finally Simon places one or two pots in the raku kiln and fires them to 100-1100C. They are then allowed to cool to 900 degrees C, and removed by long handled tongs and plunged into straw to reduce the copper to a bright metal (a copper coated pot ). The pot is oxidised and simultaneously reduced to produce colour.