- James Burnett Stuart
James Burnett Stuart - Potter
James trained at the Harrow Studio Pottery course at Harrow College of Higher Education 1986-8, having originally taken a degree in English Literature at Cambridge University.
“In 1989 I set up my first workshop in Ealing and moved this three years later to a boatyard on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham. Here I made a range of tableware, selling to many shops and galleries in England and Wales. During this time I exhibited five or six times at Chelsea Craft Fair. I had solo shows of more individual pieces at The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, Egg, London and Charleston Farmhouse, E.Sussex. In 1993 I was Artist in Residence at Charleston, and returned there twice more for extended periods, working in the pottery there and selling through their shop, and also in London. After a ten year break my current pots I hope take some influence from my Herefordshire surroundings, local hedgerows and weather. As well as certain types of Japanese and European pottery and ancient Roman glass, and the everyday vessels of my childhood. On the whole they are of a scale — my preferred scale — that invites being picked up, felt and used.
All my pots are made from red earthenware clay which is slipped with a lighter coloured clay, and glazed, possibly with a second layer. Many pots are thrown and often altered immediately — for example scalloped or fluted. Increasingly I like making pots freehand or with simple wooden moulds. This enables one to make pots that aren’t round.
I like the way pots enter our lives stealthily, benignly, and exert their quiet influence. As companions, offering beauty, comfort, practical service, sensuous experience all in a modest almost subliminal way. This is the beauty of pottery — that it lives side by side with us not calling for attention, and not provoking self-consciousness. But allowing, as it were by slow release, discoveries of depth and detail.
This is why I would always make mugs, cups, drinking vessels generally. Of all pots the cup is the one we have the most intimate relation with. We raise it to our lips, we cradle it, we wash it. Daily, several times a day. We have favourites. We cast our eye over their shelved ranks. We select or reject them according to our mood or according to some inward inclination we are hardly aware of”.
Tinsmiths has an ever changing selection of James’ pots and we try to photograph these as they arrive but occasionally visitors will see pots in the shop that they won’t find on the website – another good reason to visit us in Ledbury.