Born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, Mark is the son and grandson of directors of Spode, the fine china manufacturers. In 1983 he moved to Pittsboro NC and set up his pottery. Mark built a very large wood kiln and began making the distinctive functional pots for which he is known, specializing in very large planters and jars, along with finely made smaller items. He uses local clays and blends the different North Carolinian folk traditions together into a contemporary style.Mark’s work has been featured in the Smithsonian magazine and on the cover of American Craft magazine, he has written extensively in the ceramic press, and he has exhibited in London, New York and Tokyo, as well as throughout the US. He is well-represented in museum and private collections.
“Every clay has a feel, a quality like the cut of different cloth. This quality can vary from the seductive satin of porcelain to the cozy flannel of earthenware. North Carolina’s stoneware clays have the relaxed, purposeful, and unassuming quality of denim overalls. They can be clean and elegant but are prone to being unkempt and scruffy, even a little wild. Old pots made with clays that the potters themselves have dug and simply refined are vibrant to the touch, warm to the eye, and possess an elaborate micro-aesthetic that rewards attentive inspection. Clay has meaning and value beyond its physical properties: clay is a clue. I have a 900 cubic foot wood-burning kiln and specialize in the production of very large garden planters, storage jars and vases, ranging from ten to thirty gallons, along with a full range of tableware. I mine and refine my own stoneware clays and glaze materials from the local area. My principal glazes are the traditional Southern alkaline glaze and salt glaze.”