Whatever visual qualities a functional pot may possess its interior volume is the reason for its existence.


The visual elements of three-dimensional objects include colour, surface, texture, proportion, edge, profile, size and form. Though interrelated, I find it useful at some point to consider these separately.

Colour. The colour range of clay and grog which I use has been evolved primarily because I like the way neutral, rather than vivid, colours reveal form and readily relate to diverse contexts.

Surface. It is important to me that the objects are smooth and that some parts of the surface, usually the upper parts, are sufficiently smooth to be light reflective. This slightly reflective quality helps to draw focus to form.

Texture. Though I work with smooth surfaces the visual texture of these surfaces is very varied. I aim that the lightly or heavily speckled texture slows the eye, to draw attention to form and surface. 

Proportion. Even slight variations of proportion have a profound effect on the perception of form. There are multitudinous aspects to proportion: height in relation to width; the largest width in relation to the smallest; the height of the largest width in relation to the height of the whole object; and the height of any interruption to the form in relation to the totality, and there are many more. The width of the opening, as that relates to the other dimensions of the form, is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of proportion, and within limits, determines function.

Edge. The visual importance of the edge of thrown forms (indeed all hollow forms) cannot be exaggerated. Thick edges, thin edges, rounded edges, sharp edges, inwards sloping edges, outward sloping edges all give a very different quality to any object. The dark glaze I use on the inside of forms is intended to give focus to the edge form as the important junction between the interior and exterior of the form. 

Profile. Important as it is, considering profile is a factual but potentially misleading way of looking at pot forms. A profile drawing is factual because it accurately records the different dimensions of the form. But focussing only on profile is misleading because pots are rarely seen at eye level, or from a great distance, which is when profile is least misleading. 

Size. Intended use determines the appropriate size of objects. So, if they are to be used, the dimension of vases necessarily is determined by their intended function. But, apart from function, size is an element of fundamental visual importance. The visual texture of a material, for example, has a very different visual effect if there is a small or large expanse of it, and the same is true of surface and colour. But the perception of profile, proportion and, most fundamentally, of form depends on the size of an object.

Form. Form is revealed by light and, as well as viewpoint, the perceived identity of any form is dependent on the strength and direction of light.   Form exists relatively independently of colour, texture and surface, but profile, proportion, edge and size all contribute fundamentally to the perceived totality of form. With all three-dimensional forms – sculpture, buildings, furniture – different viewpoints are crucial to full perception and appreciation, and this is as true of small things as well as large.

Weight, physical weight. Weight is not a visual quality but because pots invite touch and, unless they are massive, are often picked up, it becomes a part of their quality. They can seem heavy or light in relation to the unconscious expectation created by their volume. Lightness can carry a message of fragility. I want the weight of my vases to carry a message of substance so, intentionally, they are on the heavier side of expectation.