Matthew Blakely

Matthew’s work explores the links between ceramics and geology and place, making pieces entirely from geological samples that he has collected from specific locations around the country, and that illustrate the ceramic qualities inherent in these materials.

He was born in the UK and had no contact with clay growing up. Matthew was introduced to clay at evening classes while at university, which he enjoyed far more than his degree in medicine. Later he worked in a pottery workshop at a Steiner residential home, then attended evening classes at Bondi beach in Australia, having emigrated there in 1988. He graduated in ceramics from the National Art School in Sydney and was awarded the State Medal in 1993.

Function is important to Matthew because it influences the way a pot will be appreciated. He makes pots that are beautiful visually and physically, and that are a pleasure to use. Often certain qualities present in the pot are quite subtle and will not be discovered easily or quickly.

Work is produced in three or four-month periods, the time it takes to prepare clays and rocks, make pots, glaze, pack, and fire his kiln. Clays have to be crushed and prepared. He makes his own grogs and crushes and mills all the rocks for his glazes. This is very time consuming but it has become extremely important to him that he is involved in the whole process of making.