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Shirley Fleming

  • Creating sculptural ceramics


Artistic Disciplines


Full Biography

Studying in Bath many years ago, I tried all the various forms of ceramic art but in sculpting, I found my home.

Hand building large forms in stoneware is my ideal, often trying new ways to create pieces that will fit in my kiln, but then build on into larger works

Crank stoneware is my usual clay of choice, this supports its weight quite quickly in the process and allows me to start to shape the form.

We were told as students that, before starting a new piece, we should always visualise the completed piece down to the last detail –  sadly, it never works that way for me. I start with a general idea of what I want to create but it always evolves and quite often ends up in a very different place.

Usually introducing colour only in subtle variations of oxides, I have recently turned again to glazing. This has proved very exciting with some very interesting results.

Controlling the burn when firing to 1230 degrees is always a challenge, lap of the gods stuff. Often the hoped for colour doesn’t  appear but …..sometimes something magical!

The link between the very varied forms that I create is that they are all very sculptural. I tend to make series of similar pieces until I have arrived at a satisfying place before moving on in a different direction.

One discipline  that I repeatedly return to is the pierced form – utterly fascinating and always a challenge. These can take a long time to evolve – many changes along the way until that fascinating combination of mass, shape, space, and that perfect balancing point finally meld. So satisfying…..There’s still all the firings and experiments with oxides, possible glazing, and final additions of maybe  some gold leaf to navigate of course – but the shape is the thing. It would be wonderful to scale my pieces up in size via bronze casting but still only a dream I’m afraid.

How fortunate I am – to live here in this perfect corner of Devon with all the time and space to indulge in my totally immersive, often devastating, but oh so very satisfying craft.

Lucky me!





Contact Information

Full Name

Shirley Fleming