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

South West England

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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 42 found

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  1. Breakfast Set for Two by Matthew Foster
    Matthew Foster
    £290
  2. Tea for Two Set by Matthew Foster
    Matthew Foster
    £190
  3. Set of Four Mugs by Matthew Foster
    Set of Four Hakeme Mugs
    Matthew Foster
    £180
  4. Breakfast Set for Two by Matthew Foster
  5. Wood Ash Tea for Two Set
    Matthew Foster
    £190
  6. Set of Four Mugs by Matthew Foster
    Set of Four Wood Ash Mugs
    Matthew Foster
    £180
  7. Breakfast Set for Two by Matthew Foster
    Matthew Foster
    £290
  8. Tea for Two Set by Matthew Foster
    Matthew Foster
    £190
  9. Set of Four Mugs by Matthew Foster
    Set of Four Tenmoku Mugs
    Matthew Foster
    £180
  10. Shino Teapot & Teabowls I by Matthew Foster
    Shino Teapot & Teabowls I
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    Products 1-24 of 42 found

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    Matthew Foster
    £250
    Out of stock
  11. Shino Teapot & Teabowls II by Matthew Foster
    Shino Teapot & Teabowls II
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    Matthew Foster
    £270
    Out of stock
  12. Shino Teapot & Teabowls III by Matthew Foster
    Shino Teapot & Teabowls III
    Matthew Foster
    £270
  13. Tenmoku Teapot & Teabowls II by Matthew Foster
    Tenmoku Teapot & Teabowls II
    Matthew Foster
    £250
  14. Hakeme Teapot & Teabowls I by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Teapot and Teabowls I
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    Matthew Foster
    £250
    Out of stock
  15. Sixteen Piece Dining Set by Matthew Foster
  16. Hakeme Casserole Dish II by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish II
    Matthew Foster
    £140
  17. Hakeme Casserole Dish III by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish III
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    Matthew Foster
    £140
    Out of stock
  18. Hakeme Casserole Dish IV by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Casserole Dish IV
    Matthew Foster
    £150
  19. Hakeme Serving Bowl III by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Serving Bowl III
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    Matthew Foster
    £120
    Out of stock
  20. Hakeme Jug by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Jug
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    Matthew Foster
    £120
    Out of stock
  21. Hakeme Platter II by Matthew Foster
    Hakeme Platter II
    Matthew Foster
    £160
  22. Ying Ching Serving Bowl by Matthew Foster
    Ying Ching Serving Bowl
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    Matthew Foster
    £450
    Out of stock
  23. Ying Ching Platter by Matthew Foster
    Ying Ching Platter
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    Products 1-24 of 42 found

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    Matthew Foster
    £500
    Out of stock
  24. Wood Ash Teapot by Matthew Foster
    Wood Ash Teapot
    Matthew Foster
    £120
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Products 1-24 of 42 found

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