In March 2016 I was interviewed in my workshop as part of the Artists at Work Series for Open Studios, West Berkshire and North Hampshire. The talented Isabel Carmona not only interviewed me but also sketched and painted me at work, all in a remarkably short time. The resulting article is shown below.
ARTISTS at Work Series
Open Studios has invited Isabel Carmona to prepare a series of Graphic Interviews of artists to make a personal connection with the variety of visual art forms that are represented in Open Studios. We are lucky to have such a great number of artists that are opening their doors throughout May in West Berkshire and North Hampshire. To choose where to go it can be daunting. We hope to bring you with this series a flavour of what to expect, what to talk about with each artist and to present them in a human light, finding out how they got where they are now.
KEVIN AKHURST – Potter/Ceramics
Kevin works from his large spacious studio at home in Adbury Holt. The space is organised in areas for different stages of the process from receiving the clay to throwing pots, biscuit firing the pieces, glazing them and finally firing them outside in his wood fired kiln that he built himself in 2015. There are shelves everywhere with pots in different stages of the process. The pots will be all fired and ready for display by the time we get to open studios in May.
When I visit, Kevin is throwing a pot and experimenting with a few new tools he has got recently for decorating pots, a mechanical mechanism from a pencil sharpener and a handmade wood and wire faceting tool. I stay while he goes through the process of throwing, centering, opening, pulling, and decorating the pot. There is control at each stage and the hands move precisely but there is still room for experimentation and decision making along the way, the process is fast but not as much as I thought, there is time for aesthetic decisions to be made.
After he finishes throwing the pot, the pot is separated from the wooden batt with a twisted wire cutter so that it can dry and shrink without cracking. The pot is then left to dry for a week before doing a first firing at 1000C, then it is glazed and fired again, this time the temperature goes up to 1300C when the clay vitrifies and will not be porous anymore.
Kevin is excited as he is planning the loading of his wood-fired kiln for his fourth firing within one year and is meticulously planning which piece will go where within the kiln. We will need to wait to the open studios show to see the results.
This year, Kevin has invited a new open studios artist to exhibit with him, Keziah Burt, a sculptor and portrait artist. They await your visit and will welcome you to the pottery studio and show of their work– for full details see www.open-studios.org.uk or look up the Open Studios directory.
All drawings are by Isabel Carmona-Andreu (www.isacarmona-art.com)