Harriet Coleridge started out as a production potter after being apprenticed for four years at Aldermaston Pottery under Alan Caiger Smith. During these formative years she learnt how to throw earthenware pots and to decorate them by brush with pigments made from metal oxides.
In the ‘nineties, whilst living in America, she built a salt kiln and worked in stoneware and porcelain, moving away from brushwork decoration.
In the ‘noughties, she spent time in France and participated in several firings of a large anagama kiln in the Charente.
For the last ten years or so she has been fairly obsessed with the vagaries – and delights – of carbon trap shino glazes, fired in different kinds of flame kilns.
All the pots in the exhibition (March 2019) at The Stratford Gallery have been made in Harriet's Oxfordshire studio, and are of porcelain (from Limoges) or stoneware and glazed with a carbon trap shino which fires amber through charcoal according to the ferocity of the reduction and the proportion of soda ash in the glaze mix. After the pots are dipped in shino they are decorated with wax, sang de boeuf glaze and sprinklings of rose ash. After the firing (to 1280’) liquid gold lustre is (sparingly) applied by brush and the pots are fired again to 730’.
Harriet is currently engaged on a new project in collaboration with The Oxford University Anagama Project, firing pots in the ‘anagamina’ kiln in Wytham Woods and experimenting with ash glazes derived from the trees grown in those woods. All the trees used for this project need to be culled for the good of the woodland and more will be planted than felled.