Ben Arnup’s interest in ceramics started at home. With a sculptor and a potter as parents, he grew up learning ceramics skills and technology. Ben has exhibited in Britain, Europe and America, his work is represented in public collections in Britain and Germany, and he is a fellow of the Craft Potters Association.
Originally trained as a landscape architect, Ben worked in the industry until 1984 when he returned to making pots, heavily influenced by the design process. Previously working in Ross Moor and with his father near Holtby, Yorkshire, he now lives and works in York.
From the beginning of his career as a potter, Ben’s pieces were always shallow, with trompe l’oeil illusions. For the first fifteen years his work was high fired stoneware in an oil reduction kiln, now he fires to an oxidised stoneware in an electric kiln to achieve cleaner, brighter colours.
“In order to create a colourful fluid field for the trompe l’oeil image I laminate a porcelain veneer onto a stronger clay body. The drawn illusion is complemented by the colourful rhythm in the base clay. The pots are an exploration of the way we see. The onlooker will be well aware of the frail illusion and the contradiction between what is suggested and what is tangible. I like to play a game: setting the prosaic nature of clay against the unlikely structures of the drawings.” – Ben Arnup