In this film, originally made back in 2011, we followed the working life of Mike Dodd, one of Britain’s most prestigious potters.
Dodd lives and works in the beautiful rural surroundings of Glastonbury, Somerset. Here he discusses his love of pots and shares some of his personal philosophies, talking about the importance of using local materials and hand made tools in the making of his work.
Mike uses as much local clay and other sustainable materials as he can when making his pots and mixing his slips and glazes. In this film we see him sourcing basalt from a nearby quarry, a dark, igneous rock which, when mixed into a glaze, offers a deep glossy black surface much like Tenmoku.
Since filming him Mike has experimented even further with different materials, using iron oxide sourced from local rivers, local porphyry and granite, peat clay, and a host of ash glazes. In our last show of Mike’s work in 2015 we counted over 30 different permutations of glaze, a remarkable feat that highlighted an immense knowledge and understanding of the behaviour of his materials and an incredible dedication to their sources.
(above) Mike throwing one of his textured round vases on his kick wheel, as shown in this film; (below) a finished textured vase (left) with Mike’s wheel (right)
As well as producing beautiful pots for display, such as his typical faceted bottles and vases, a great proportion of his output as a potter remains supremely functional domestic wares: small cream and large water jugs, teapots, rustic tankards and mugs, ash-glazed plates and stunning tea bowls.
His storage jars, with their strong influence from domestic ware potters such as Michael Cardew and Richard Batterham, are without doubt some of the best in the business and grace many gallery members’ kitchens, filled to the brim with rice kernels and assortments of dried pasta.
‘a gentleness and kindness personified by their maker’ – white slip bottle vase
Dodd’s pots embody the spirit of making and function that can be traced back through Cardew and Leach to the very first pots made for daily use. Imbued with a gentleness and kindness personified by their maker, they would make a welcome addition to any pot collection.