I work mostly in stoneware, sometimes in porcelain, producing a standard but evolving range of strong, practical and affordable wares for the kitchen and home. Teapots, jugs, mugs, storage jars, bowls, ovenware casseroles, serving and cooking dishes, vases and bins. They are all made on a foot-propelled continental kickwheel. I also devote some of my time to ‘individual pieces’ which extend the intuitive and experimental aspects of the work.
As a young student, while studying to be a doctor at university, I visited many museums to see collections of mostly early Chinese, Korean and medieval English pots. I became increasingly convinced that that was where my future lay. After a short, unsatisfactory course at Hammersmith College of Art I left and with £90 to my name set up my first pottery in a rented cottage in the tiny village of Edburton just north of Brighton. 40 years later I am still passionate about this great craft.
The pots are fired in an oil-fired kiln in what is known as a ‘reducing flame’ to create warmer, earthier colours. I have researched and tested a wide range of rocks (local, if possible ) e.g. Somerset basalt, Devon hornfels, and Cornish granite, as well as local clays and woodashes for use in glazes and slips. I attempt to stay true to the qualities I most admire in preindustrial country workshops worldwide. Qualities such as generosity of form, unpretentiousness, directness and spontaneity.
“I love the process of discovery, of letting go, of allowing one's aliveness its own unique play - it’s fascinating to watch and to be absorbed by this relationship between disciplined technique and the free play of the heart.”
Mike Dodd has exhibited widely both here and abroad and is now widely acknowledged to be one of the leading practitioners in this field. He is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and a fellow of the Craft Potters Association. In 1980, funded by Oxfam and Survival International, he built a wood-fired kiln for an Amuesha Community in the central jungles of Peru, and he has lectured and run workshops in India, Norway, Germany, Denmark and the USA.
“Essential to his philosophy is an oriental view that the role of the individual in the creation of true art is unobtrusive. Mike's work has maintained this philosophy in the making of unshowy pots with simply applied surface textures and subtle glazes sourced from naturally occurring materials. It is a rare approach that has required during his career an intense personal application. As a result his work enjoys the support of many serious collectors of English pottery, as well as that of some respected critics whose judgement of Mike's work is unusually and openly generous, simply that it has beauty.” Paul Vincent, Founding Editor of ‘Ceramics in Society’