Studio Pottery by Simon Olley…

As a potter and ceramic artist Simon Olley 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. He 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) and a member of London Potters.

Inspired by country life

Simon Olley’s walks in the beautiful countryside of Kent provide him lots of inspiration, along with his dog ‘Uly’, a Black Labrador, who enjoys the role of model (so long as he’s well rewarded). Simon makes all types of ceramics as commissions for customers across the globe. From vases to jugs, sculptures to urns. Each is made with exacting 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.

Awards

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

Publications

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

2024
Potfest in the Park, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, Cumbria, 26–28 July 2024
Potfest by the Lake, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, 21–23 June 2024
Ceramic Art London (CAL), Kensington Olympia West, 19–21 April 2024
CPA York Ceramics Fair, York Racecourse, 9–10 March 2024
New Members of the Craft Potters Association, Contemporary Ceramics Gallery, 1–24 February 2024
2023
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
2022
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