Studio Pottery by Simon Olley…

Commission the art of creative custom ceramics. Unique custom ceramics based upon your lives, loves and special dogs.

As a potter and ceramic artist Simon is fascinated by the relationship that develops between man and man’s best friend. His work combines illustration and sgraffito in the commissions of unique pottery based on his customer’s favourite four-legged friends.

Simon also makes work celebrating the exciting (sometimes imaginary) life of his Labrador Retriever (the least demanding of supermodels) in permanent, everlasting ceramic form – so much easier to keep clean than the real thing!

Simon Olley is a Selected Member of the Craft Potters Association (CPA).

Inspired by country life

My ceramics make perfect gifts for dog lovers, my walks in the beautiful countryside of Kent providing inspiration along with my own dog ‘Uly’, a Black Labrador, who also enjoys acting the role of model (so long as he’s well rewarded). I make all types of ceramics as commissions for all types of people across the globe. From mugs to jugs, butter dishes to vases, sculptures to urns. Each is made with the same care and attention to detail resulting in unique works of ceramic art.

The potter’s wheel

Many of my designs are thrown on the potter’s wheel using a variety of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain clays, then illustrated, usually at leather-hard stage (damp but not soft), with a combination of slips, oxides and glazes – this may involve scratching into the clay’s surface with a range of small tools – a technique called sgraffito.

Work is fired twice in the kiln at temperatures between 1000 and 1300 degrees centigrade. The result is original, impervious works of craftsmanship that could last for thousands of years.

About Simon Olley

At the age of nine, under the watchful eye and guiding hands of Tessa Oates, I threw my first ever pot on the wheel at Chipstead Craft Studios near Sevenoaks. After exploring ceramic sculpture I  returned to the potters’ wheel, making all types of work. I’ve experimented with just about every type of clay and used many different glazes and firings, however, my love of illustration brought me to underglazes and imagery. Most of my work is illustrated and uses sgraffito techniques. I hugely enjoy making custom work (commissions) where I get to work with my customers to create ceramic works of art, many of course with a canine theme.

Craft Potters Association

Simon Olley is a Selected Member the Craft Potters Association.
The aim of the Craft Potters Association (CPA) is to promote and encourage the creation of high quality ceramics. Selected membership is a highly regarded title within the studio ceramics industry and is awarded to makers whose work demonstrates a very high technical and aesthetic level of sophistication.

London Potters

Simon Olley is a member of London Potters.
London Potters is a voluntary organisation formed in 1986 to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences of all those involved with an interest in ceramics.


London Potters 32nd Annual Members Exhibition Morley Gallery 2023:
Judges Commendation

London Potters 31st Annual Members Exhibition Brixton 2022:
Best Functional Exhibit Award

Contemporary Craft Festival Bovey Tracey 2022:
Best Stand in Show Award

Potfest Glynde 2022: Organisers’ Award
Potfest Glynde 2022: Visitors’ Award

London Potters 30th Annual Members Exhibition Morley Gallery 2017:
Best Decorated Work Award

Talks & Demonstrations

“Scratching Dogs, Taming Commissions”
CPA Oxford Ceramics Fair 2023


Ceramic Review, Issue 324 Nov/Dec 2023: Potters on Pots
London Potters News, Issue 203 Jun/Jul 2021: Meet the Maker

Galleries, Selected Shows & Exhibitions

Ceramic Art London (CAL), Kensington Olympia West, 19–21 April 2024
CPA York Ceramics Fair, York Racecourse, 9–10 March 2024
Margate Turner Gallery Ceramics Fair 2023
London Potters 32nd Annual Members Exhibition Morley Gallery 2023
CPA Oxford Ceramics Fair 2023
FiredUp4 Studio Ceramics Auction 2023
Potfest in the Park – Penrith 2023
Celebrating Ceramics – Waterperry Gardens, Oxford 2023
Potfest by the Lake – Compton Verney 2023
Potfest South East – Glynde 2023
CPA York Ceramics Fair 2023
London Potters Showcase Barbican Library Exhibition Space 2023
London Potters 31st Annual Members Exhibition Brixton 2022
CPA Oxford Ceramics Fair 2022
Potfest in the Park – Penrith 2022
Contemporary Craft Festival – Bovey Tracey 2022
The Dog Show Exhibition – Brighton 2022
Potfest South East – Glynde 2022
2021 and earlier
CPA Oxford Ceramics Fair 2021 (Associate’s Stand)
Cup: The Intimate Object XVII Charlie Cummings Gallery, Florida 2021
Twenty Twenty Gallery Shropshire 2018
London Potters 30th Annual Members Exhibition Morley Gallery 2017
The Elements: Artichoke Gallery Ticehurst 2017

One-off ceramics with humour and style

Each one of my one-off ceramics is individually thrown, turned, decorated, glazed and fired. Although similar themes are explored and refined, no two will ever be quite the same.

Gallery of Simon Olley’s Ceramics

Here are a few of the custom ceramic pieces I have made, each a one-off, commissions via my webshop and for customers around the world.

‘POP!’ 2023 Potfest Glynde ‘Nursery Rhymes” theme competition piece by Simon Olley

Olley Pottery Newsletter

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