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Q & A with Timna Taylor

Timna Taylor’s work inspires devotion.

The patina of scores and textures that decorate her handbuilt ceramics are an ode to the natural world, her inspiration. This ardour is reflected in the appreciation of her work by those who I like to call Timna Superfans: visitors to Chinaclay who can identify her work at 20 paces and are always up for a chat about it’s unique beauty.

We talked to Timna about what drives her creative practice, and what the future holds.



Q. How did you start working with ceramics? 

A. I was lucky enough to have spent time house sitting for Margaret Tuckson. I became entranced by her collection of New Guinea pottery. She explained to me how it was made so thin. I was hooked. I had to unravel its mysteries for myself.


Q. What governs the style of work you make? 

A. Good hand to eye co-ordination. Hand building skills and sensitivity to the dryness/dampness of the clay.


Q. What do you love the most about working with clay?

A. Mud and volcanos... need I say more!


Q. What frustrates you the most about working with clay?

A. Nothing really… once patience and acceptance happen, everything is just pleasure.


Q. What has been the biggest motivator for you to pursue a creative life?

A. Creativity has always been my way of calming anxiety. Making requires time, investigation, trying to understand, unravelling complexity… 

But on a more spontaneous level it is usually accidental encounters in a second-hand bookstore that provide the hints necessary to progress.


Q. Whose work do you really admire?

A. So many but initially Maria Martinez, Paul Soldner and Shoji Hamada.


Q. What is the process for creating your work, eg: clay body, glazes, firing technique?

A. I am happy experimenting with anything, right now my focus is stoneware and reduction firing.


Q. What are you interested in right now?

A. Being a fidgety person, ceramics is a good obsession, but I like painting & drawing, reading, writing poetry and working in the garden. Most of all I spend a lot of time looking at things and imagining, although some call it daydreaming.


Q. What would you do if you weren't a potter?

A. Probably gardening/landscaping


Q. Is there something you would like to explore further in your work?

A. Woodfiring is next.


See Timna's collection here


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