Teän in Studio

Teän Kirby – Ceramics

My first encounter with clay began very young, with a visit to a local pottery.

So entranced wwild_blue2as I by the magic of someone throwing a pot, that I took some clay home to try it out secretly on my parents gramophone record player. Huge electric shock later, but luckily still alive, I sculpted the clay into figures, which my Mother baked in our cooker for me. I was only 7!


I am still entranced by the magical properties of clay and the huge possibilities offered by working with it. Though, hopefully my approach is now much more informed. Following a BA Honors in 3 Dimensional Design Ceramics at Loughborough Art College at the end of the 60’s, I have worked in ceramics for most of my life, mainly as a studio ceramist.

 My work nowadays is very much influenced by where I live and what is around me. My studio base is in Portishead, with its sweeping views of the Severn Sea, so the natural environment and the sea are very important influences.  The colours of dawn or sunset over the sea inform my colour choices. The short spiky waves caused by chasms in the sea-bed and wind over tide, turn into imaginary sea creatures. The wild flower meadow in my garden is reproduced as tall quirky meadow vases.  I try to recapture that mystical engagement with the natural environment that I recall from my childhood. 

One thing hasn’t changed, I still hand build with clay and do very little throwing!