Anastasia Simmons

ApprenticeshipsAnastasia Simmons

With the valuable financial assistance of the ‘Adopt a Potter’ trust, Ana joined me for 2 years, 2012-2014. She is currently artist in residence at Mayfield School in East Sussex, where she continues to make a range of wood-fired salt-glaze. Here she writes about her current clay-work and her apprenticeship.

“Using repetition of process around utilitarian themes, my ideas evolve through open-ended playful experimentation before being refined.  Currently focusing on faceting and texturing freshly thrown pots, these marks are investigated; often softened or stretched, altered or re-thrown. The pots are then complimented with combinations of salt-slips and ash-glazes, offering simple, beautiful opaque and fluid surfaces.

My two year apprenticeship with Jeremy was an invaluable experience, providing me with knowledge and skills that enabled me to refine my understanding of clay learnt during my university degree. The weeks were spilt between apprentice jobs (clay mixing, kiln building, slip sieving…) and downtime to experiment with my own forms and styles of work; the balance between formal teaching and relaxed self application of knowledge was incredibly effective at installing techniques. The production of the ‘standard-ware’, not only pushed and developed my throwing, but also formulated a deeper understanding in aesthetics and function. However, I found the skills learnt beyond the wheel of most value, practical knowledge of materials and skills vital for daily running of a workshop.

I am truly grateful for Jeremy’s continuous support and encouragement. This was not only evident throughout my apprenticeship but it continues now that I am developing my own practice, giving me confidence to question and push my work further.”