Shiro Ceramics are a new local independent business selling unique pottery pieces, created by Lincoln ceramic artist Stephen alongside Cherry Willingham resident Claire.
Stephen, the artist behind the business, first discovered pottery in his early twenties whilst studying A Level Art. “Ceramics felt like the right medium for me” recalls Stephen, “I loved the permanence of clay and making a pot with the knowledge it could last lifetimes, appreciated and of course used.”
This passion continued into his time at Wolverhampton University where he found engaging in ceramics acted as a form of escapism from the worries and stress of everyday life. The interest in human form, especially faces, developed and the artist Matisse was a big influence on Stephen’s work.
Once graduated, ceramics took a back seat for a while. “After university it wasn’t the right time to set up a business. I fell into floor fitting as it met my financial needs at the time, and life continued. I didn’t really think about ceramics again until around the age of 40 when I discovered Grayson Perry and found him very inspiring.” Stephen explains.
Stephen’s style is extremely eclectic and hard to define, as it is continuously evolving and doesn’t stick to a certain style. “I draw inspiration from life experiences, dark portraiture, humour, animals and nature. My pots explore different subjects and themes,” Stephen continues, “some are quirky, colourful, bright and fun and some explore darker themes.” He works with little to no planning, avoiding over working the pieces to keep them expressive and energetic. Stephen also likes to show the marks of the makers hands; therefore, he uses few tools and performs the technique of Sgraffito and paints with underglazes.
The encouragement for Stephen to buy a kiln and delve back into the world of pottery was made by Claire. “After years of enjoying pottery as a hobby and talking about how great it would be to make it my full-time job, I was persuaded to try.” says Stephen, “I was very nervous and insecure about how my work would be received but seeing the reactions of people has shown me that there is someone out there for every pot I make. Seeing people smile and laugh and enjoy my pottery is very inspirational and rewarding.”
Claire continues to support Stephen and his ceramics by organising the admin side of the business, “I research for events, fairs, festivals and galleries” explains Claire, “I also speak to fellow crafters and artists and use Facebook, Instagram and our website for selling the ceramics.” Claire also has a love of art and got into ceramics when she first met Stephen. Her garage in Cherry Willingham is currently undergoing renovations into a pottery studio for more space with a potential of running pottery classes.
Alongside this plan of running adult pottery classes, throughout 2023 the duo intends to sell their creations at more ceramic and art fairs and festivals, as well as continue discussions with galleries with a hope of exhibiting.
If you would like to find out more about Shiro Ceramics or have a look at their creations, you can find them via