Image: David Binch

Iconic Japanese potter and designated Living National Treasure Shoji Hamada, said there were two kinds of pots. The first he compared to hot house plants, the second to the tree growing on the mountainside. In his own work he aspired towards the latter and I, in so much as I am able, have endeavored to do likewise.

This has involved a particular approach to both work and lifestyle in general. I knew from the start that what Michael Cardew referred to as a deliberately willed injection of personality would not do. This was not the way to make worthy pots.

I had looked at those historical examples I admired and loved so much, be they sixteenth century Korean, thirteenth century Chinese, or medieval English, and realized that their essential beauty and vitality was a direct product of the working environment in which they were made. I knew that if I was to have any hope of achieving even a hint of such breadth and character in my own work I would have to create for myself (in so far as was possible in the late twentieth century) a similar living and working situation.

I left the hot house of London, where I had been a student in the late nineteen seventies, and set up a workshop, initially in North Wales and later in Cumbria working, as I do now, within sight of the Cumbrian Fells. This involves a necessary slower pace of life, in touch with essential values, from which pots can grow, naturally and unforced and free from the superficiality of urban demands. My work is a reflection of my life and my concerns to understand and communicate beauty, as I see it, through pottery form.

©Jim Malone 2019