About the Maker
Nicki Martin makes a range of wheel thrown stoneware ceramics- mugs, jugs, bowls and batter bowls, all of which are designed to be enjoyed in every day use. She hand paints her designs using vibrant coloured slips. She also makes small porcelain vessels which are glazed in delicate greens, turquoises and blues inspired by the Cornish colour palette. "My fascination with clay began at an early age. My childhood was spent on a farm which bordered Ruan creek. In those days the mud banks sparkled silver and white with the waste from the china clay pits miles upstream. As an eight year old, having seen the potter at work on our black and white TV, I really wanted to be able to do that! I secretly dug the clay from the estuary and attempted to throw pots on a beautiful wind-up gramophone which had been kept in the old apple loft. It was unsuccessful as far as the pots and the gramophone were concerned. However for me, the pleasure of throwing a lump of clay onto a revolving wheel and making something useful from it has not diminished at all."
Nicki’s process begins with weighing clay, wedging it to eradicate air bubbles and then sitting at the wheel, centring, lifting and guiding each lump of clay to become the desired form. These are left on the bats until they are dry enough to be turned and finished. Handles are pulled and added and the slip decoration is painted, poured or trailed at this stage.Two firings follow once the work is completely dry. The first is a bisque firing to 1000 degrees when the clay changes to become a hard ceramic piece but which is still porous enough to accept a glaze onto the surface. This is done by either dipping or pouring after which the pieces are fired once more to a higher temperature when they become stronger and non porous. The final glaze firing completes the alchemy of transformation from the original ball of clay to a finished piece.