Sheila Herring’s work is visceral and impassioned, combining a kind of abstract expressionism with subtle and robust functional shapes.
Exploring expressive techniques of working with the clay is a vital aspect of Sheila’s pot making. She seeks out and employs processes that have elements of the unpredictable, irregular and enlivened about them. The surface decoration emphasises the freedom of the clay work, often involving the movement of various thicknesses of slips over the clay, traces of the application processes revealed. Slips also build up defining lines, as can the glazes used.
Free pencil line drawings and gestural sgraffito marks are informed from Sheila’s spontaneous drawings. Sometimes there are suggestions of flowers, at others the repetition of freely drawn patterns. Her functional pots are made from black earthenware clay.
Born 1959, Norfolk.
1982 to 1987 Evening and day classes in London including class tutored by Ian Godfrey at Montem Pottery Hornsey.
1990/92 Monkton Wyld, Dorset. Jointly tutored Raku weekend workshops. Constructed a wood fired Raku kiln using it for the courses. Also facilitated sawdust firings and made functional ware for use in the community kitchen.
1990 to 2003 Self employed basket maker, using home grown and Somerset Willow.Baskets sold through shows and galleries. Taught basket making and willow work.
1994 Awarded a grant from South West Arts and Elmhurst Trust to study with basket maker Joe Hogan in Ireland.
2003 to 2005. Part time Art Foundation course at Hereford College of Art and Design. Focused on clay throughout this course, culmilating in impressed, monoprinted, moulded sculptural forms with smoked terrasigalata glaze surfaces displayed in final show.
2005 to 2009 Self employed construction worker specialising in ecological building (followed on from our own self build timber and straw bale house).
2007 to 2009 Started evening classes with Patia Davis (earthenware), a year later also with Jeremy Steward (stoneware) Wobage, Upton Bishop, Herefordshire.
2008 Summer courses at Wobage, Upton Bishop, Herefordshire. Attended 3 courses working in stoneware and porcelain.
2009 Whichford pottery, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire. Woodfiring workshop weekend.
2009 Received first award allocated from Adopt a Potter Trust. Commenced apprenticeship with Jeremy Steward at Wobage workshops, Upton Bishop, Herefordshire. Continued working for Jeremy until the end of 2011.
2012 Started working independently as a self employed potter.