Seen en masse you might be forgiven for thinking that these are identically decorated pots – their primary distinction being shape and function. The benefit of listening to Richard talk about his creative drive and making processes is to understand that every pot - large or small - has a provenance based on his British Guianian heritage. His father came from Guiana and his mother from Wales. The cliché 'every picture tells a story' is no cliché in this case, Richard knows the origin and meaning of each of the myriad images he reproduces on his vessels.
He is deeply interested in the history of the British Empire and the contribution of peoples from many Empire nations to the UK and its institutions. His pots are an interesting mix of delftware and contemporary studio pottery. This adds to the sense of the past embedded in each and every vessel.
It would be difficult to spend two hours with him without reference to his role as technician on the Great Pottery Thrown down series. He provided an insiders perspective on the programme and there was acknowledgement of the stress and effort required to support the competitors. He also talked about the tile making company which he acquired when it was closing and turned it into a successful business.
So – in summary - we were greatly entertained by this charming and articulate potter. It was another example of how our appreciation of pots is significantly enhanced by understanding 'the what' rather than 'the how'.
Thank you Richard for a stimulating experience and I am confident that I speak for all those that attended the lunch.
Stuart Dickens - Ceramic Curator