Penny Simpson

From an early age Penny enjoyed playing with clay at home as her mother had a small pottery studio. However, it was not until she lived in Japan in her twenties that she became more seriously interested in making pots.

She loved the delicious food in Japan and the way it was often served on handmade pots. The variety of tableware and its wide use in homes and restaurants was very inspiring. She started pottery classes and travelled widely in Japan to visit the many pottery areas. In getting to grips with the Japanese language of pottery, she wrote The Japanese Pottery Handbook (Kodansha 1979).

After her apprenticeship at Dartington, she chose to work with red earthenware clay, following in the English slipware tradition. She loved the warm colour of the clay and the decorative possibilities of using coloured slips with a few simple glazes.

Penny’s inspiration for decoration comes mainly from nature. She walks in the countryside where she lives and the trees and plants provide a wealth of inspiration. She also likes to explore texture in her work and often uses sgraffito technique, incising through layers of slip to the clay colour underneath. She has worked at her present workshop in Moretonhampstead, Devon, for the last 25 years and enjoys having her own showroom here, where she can meet her customers and work with her apprentices.