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Jemma Gascoine in Monson Pottery Workshop

I discovered Barry Guppy's evening pottery classes when I flicked through a ‘Time Out—London’ magazine that someone had left on one of the seats of my train. I attended his classes on a Thursday, after I finished my day working at the Arts Council of England. Soon I began turning up for a clay session on a Saturday too. Guppy had studied under Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. He then taught beside them at Camberwell College of Arts. I attended Guppy's workshop classes for two years, then moved to Maine in the US, bought a potter's wheel and a kiln and set up a studio of my own in Blanchard Township.

I began selling my work in 2001 when I helped set up a local Arts and Crafts co-operative called Lake Hebron Artisans in Monson, Maine. There I curated small exhibitions and installations often including my own work. My work has also been exhibited at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), the Center for Maine Craft, Aarhus Gallery in Belfast, at the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) and Susan Maasch's Fine Arts Gallery in Portland. I have been selling my work mostly in Maine but since the rise of social media I now have collectors in other states.

It was the tactility and the physicality of throwing which initially drew me to clay. I build my utilitarian work with stoneware thrown on a potter's wheel, which I adapt, alter or augment. I make models which helps me refine my ideas in preparation for my sculptural work. Over time, I’ve created a repertoire of signature motifs that I reuse and build upon. A minimalist at heart, I favor clean lines and solid bold colors to accentuate form. Weight, feel and texture are important to me but form is fundamental. My work is a studied exploration towards what I am curious about and what I find beautiful.

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MONSON POTTERY WORKSHOP

In 2015, I founded the Monson Pottery Workshop. It is a large studio that accommodates my work and that of my students'. The Workshop has four potter's wheels, two electric kilns, one raku kiln, a slab roller and an extruder. I teach through Adult Education and host classes for local kids. I teach tourists in the summer and I rent out studio time on a monthly basis to potters who are self-directed. I also sell functional pieces of mine and others at the workshop.

WHAT'S NEW FOR 2018

I was invited to submit two mugs to an invitational show at the Maine Center for Craft called ‘A Good Day’. The show opened March 1st and runs until April 30th. I shall be participating in the July 4th craft show and the Fly-In show on September 8th & 9th in Greenville Maine. On August 25th, I will have a booth at the Portland Fine Craft Show on Congress Street. I am working on a sculptural commission from the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) and I will also continue to stock my functional work at Pinelands Market in New Gloucester.