For many years most of my work was primarily vessel based and mainly handbuilt or press moulded, using coloured and laminated clays and Raku fired. The graphic qualities of the decoration and the contrasts in surface finish that raku allows are of paramount importance to me. Recently I have returned to throwing some of my pots, usually variations on tea bowls and all this work is also rapidly fired using the raku technique.

Journeys and periods of work abroad led me to investigate new directions in my ceramics; returning to an early interest in figurative sculpture. Inspired by the simplified figurative forms of African tribal art and of early Mediterranean culture I hope that my contemporary interpretation still retains the sensitivity and sensuality of these ritual artefacts. Through these elegant forms and groupings of these sculptures I try to create a narrative that invites the interpretation of the viewer.

In all my work the interaction of fire on the ceramic surface are of prime importance and all these pieces are fired in live flame kilns - whether by raku or wood-fired stoneware and salt/soda glaze.

My work is represented in many collections throughout Europe and the UK. In 1992 I was one of six international ceramic artists invited to work on the first European Union Ceramic Scholarship and the completed work was toured to European Community countries. I have also been an invited artist at the International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemét, Hungary, as well as an invited guest demonstrator at the first International Day of Hungarian Ceramics and the Hungarian Festival of Ceramics. Since 2003 I have also been co-ordinating the international artists and artist in residence program for this world famous institute.

I have also been an invited artist at many international ceramic symposia, working with renown ceramic artists from all over the world.

In 2005 I was elected a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. The Academy consists of about 500 members worldwide and is the major international organisation representing ceramic artists.

In 1987 I helped to found the International Ceramics Festival held every two years in Wales and from 1991 to 2004 was its co-ordinator and director. a period which saw the festival firmly established as Europe's premier educational ceramics event, attracting guests and participants from all over the world.

Working as a professional ceramic artist for nearly twenty five years, I am a firm believer in the education and development of the ceramic arts. Since the mid 1980's I have been an active educator, endeavouring to pass on the enthusiasm and knowledge to new generations of artists, teaching art and design in several universities and colleges, including lecturing in Manchester City College.

I also teach several short courses each year at Schola de la Ceramica, in Gordola, Switzerland (left).

My first book, a ceramics skills project based book entitled "Two in One Ceramics", was published in the US and Canada by Sterling Publishers Inc. This edition was also translated into German - "Töpfern. Ideen und Projekte. Alle handwerklichen Techniken" and French - "Ceramique".

My second book "The Complete Potter" was published in 2003 and is now a best seller and textbook in several US colleges. This technique book is also available in Dutch, Finnish, Spanish' Czech, Polish and Slovak, and I especially pleased that it is one of the first widely translated ceramic books into the languages of the former Eastern Europe. These books are available online from Amazon (US). or from Amazon (UK) .

I am currently writing a third more specialised technique book called "Painting with Fire - The Art and Craft of Raku" and a new book aiming to de-mystify the art of kiln building.


© Steve Mattison
6 Chapel Street, Mochdre, Colwyn Bay LL28 5BB, Wales, UK