Matthew Foster

Ceramics artist Matthew Foster studied Fine Art at Kent University and after winning the Seasalt Bursary in 2009, he became an apprentice at Leach Pottery in Cornwall. Alongside growing his individual practice, Matthew continues to work as the Studio Production Manager at Leach Pottery and draws much inspiration from his contemporaries there. In line with an on-going exploration of the Mingei Philosophy (focusing on the beauty of ordinary, everyday craft), he is currently exploring peasant stonewares of the Korean Yi dynasty, Gongxian pottery, Tang dynasty, and porcelain pots from the Chinese Sung period.

Ceramicist

Matthew Foster

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THE PROCESS

Matthew has examined pottery from around the world to question, learn and inform his pieces and each finished product communicates these discoveries. Matthew’s pottery often includes unique patterns applied using a handcrafted porcelain roller, notched with a motif of his own design. Pieces are initially thrown on the wheel and left to dry until they are firm enough to apply detail. Once bisque fired, the pot’s exterior is covered with a glaze mixed using raw materials and selected to enhance particular features.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

Lots of things motivate me, from everyday objects I use around the house to manhole covers in the street. I also explore work that I don’t like. Examining the reasons why I don’t like a particular pot challenges me to make work which communicates my discoveries. I learn more and feel motivated to improve. Ultimately it is a love of making which motivates me – it’s hard to explain, but it’s like a mix between addiction and insanity.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

Aside from my colleagues at the Leach Pottery, I’m inspired by potters like Shoji Hamada because of his use of form and spontaneous way with decorating. Warren Mackenzie produced pots with an ease that made it look like magic. It was through him that I was introduced to the Mingei philosophy, and the beauty of everyday things. I try to interpret this philosophy in my aesthetic, examining storage jars from around the world, to create great pots that get even better with age and hint at the maker’s personality through touch and use.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

I want to make unique pots that showcase the making process, rather than obscure it. I think it’s important to try and capture some personality in my work and enjoy myself whilst making too.

I try not to stick to one particular way of working and I like to facet (cut bits off) and do a lot of stamping and pattern-making so that each pot is uniquely different. Sometimes I work with hakame slip and iron oxide brushwork decoration, other times I’ll focus purely on form (shapes). Function and suitability to purpose are key to my approach and most of the pots I make are for practical use as tableware. Their function is what makes them beautiful objects.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

I was given a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust award for the third year of my apprenticeship at Leach Pottery, where I work today as Studio Production Manager. I’ve also travelled with my craft, leading a workshop in Uzbekistan and showing at the St Croix Valley Pottery Tour in Minnesota.

5. What is your dream project?

I like the idea of setting up a craft school along the lines of the Leach Apprenticeship, learning through working is a great way to support craftspeople and help them become fully functioning potters. I am interested in designing a bowl to be mass produced. This is because I would love to see the process involved in large scale production, and to see if the pots would retain personality or become diluted and flat like many mass produced or electric fired pottery.

 

To find out more about commissioning Matthew Foster for a bespoke piece or to be kept informed about new collections from this particular maker, please email [email protected]

ALL PRODUCTS

 

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Products 1-24 of 45 found

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  1. Hakeme Platter I by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Platter I
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £160
    Out of stock
  2. Hakeme Platter II by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Platter II
    Matthew Foster
    £160
  3. Ying Ching Platter by Matthew Foster
    Ying Ching Platter
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £500
    Out of stock
  4. Hakeme Serving Bowl I by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Serving Bowl I
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £160
    Out of stock
  5. Hakeme Serving Bowl II by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Serving Bowl II
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  6. Hakeme Serving Bowl III by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Serving Bowl III
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  7. Tenmoku Serving Bowl I by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Serving Bowl I
    Matthew Foster
    £380
  8. Tenmoku Serving Bowl II by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Serving Bowl II
    Matthew Foster
    £200
  9. Ying Ching Serving Bowl by Matthew Foster
    Ying Ching Serving Bowl
    Matthew Foster
    £450
  10. Hakeme Casserole Dish I by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish I
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £140
    Out of stock
  11. Hakeme Casserole Dish II by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish II
    Matthew Foster
    £140
  12. Hakeme Casserole Dish III by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish III
    Matthew Foster
    £140
  13. Hakeme Casserole Dish IV by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish IV
    Matthew Foster
    £150
  14. Tenmoku Casserole Dish by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Casserole Dish
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £140
    Out of stock
  15. Dolomite Casserole Dish by Matthew Foster
    Dolomite Casserole Dish
    Matthew Foster
    £200
  16. Hakeme Teapot by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Teapot
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  17. Tenmoku Butter Dish by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Butter Dish
    Matthew Foster
    £90
  18. Tenmoku Jug II by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Jug II
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  19. Wood Ash Teapot by Matthew Foster
    Wood Ash Teapot
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  20. Wood Ash Butter Dish by Matthew Foster
    Wood Ash Butter Dish
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £90
    Out of stock
  21. Hakeme Jug by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Jug
    Matthew Foster
    £120
  22. Tenmoku Teapot & Teabowls by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Teapot & Teabowls
    Out of stock
    Matthew Foster
    £180
    Out of stock
  23. Tenmoku Tall Vessel by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Tall Vessel
    Matthew Foster
    £360
  24. Wood Ash Lidded Jar II by Matthew Foster
    Wood Ash Lidded Jar II
    Matthew Foster
    £600
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Products 1-24 of 45 found

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