Pat Birks

Pat Birks

I entered Harrow Art College at the age of 13, which was the beginning of a lifelong involvement with artistic studies. Since opening my own studio in 1986 I have successfully specialised in handmade pottery - particularly majolica ware. 

The distinctive style of pottery known as majolica was developed by the craftsmen of the Near East and Europe as they attempted to copy the bright colours on white porcelain from China. It arrived in Europe via Majorca, which accounts for the name; but it is also known as faience in France, fayence in Germany and Delftware in Holland and England. 

Majolica is essentially tin glazed earthenware decorated with metal oxides. Without the refined materials to make porcelain, European potters experimented with alternatives, reproducing the general principles with what materials they had. This type of work is very time consuming, with the emphasis on the decoration rather than the simplicity of an interesting glaze. Inevitably, very little majolica is being produced today. 

I have developed my own designs and direction using the inherent qualities of the majolica style. All my work is hand-thrown and hand-decorated, incorporating a love of drawing and design that I then apply to three-dimensional form.