Tenmoku Owl Vessel I

Matthew Foster
Tenmoku Owl Vessel I by ceramicist Matthew Foster is part of The New Craftsmen’s ‘Claylarks’ collection. For these new works by Matthew, he primarily looked to historical dinner and serveware and the decoration and rouletting that can be found on them. Whilst looking through the archives at the Museum of London, he was also intrigued by the various shapes and animal figures that were found on pots from the Medieval, Roman and 14th century. This medium-sized pot demonstrates Matthew’s real eye for detail, complete with a carefully handcrafted owl. Matthew chose woodland creatures to decorate these pieces as they would have been ubiquitous during the Roman era.

Material: Stoneware, glaze
cm: Diameter 25cm, Height 29cm
inches: Diameter 9.8in, Height 11.4in
Care Instructions: Hand wash in warm soapy water


This piece is first thrown and then trimmed into its form. Matthew then begins to carve into the pot’s exterior and finishes the lid with a handcrafted owl to make it functional. Once dried and bisque fired, it is glazed with Tenmoku glaze, mixed from raw materials. The pot is fired one final time at a high temperature in a reduction kiln. The iron-rich tenmoku glaze originates in China and results in a deep black finish, breaking to red-brown in areas where it is thinner.
The Maker Matthew Foster Ceramicist - South West England

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.

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