Paul does not use coils or slabs but builds each piece slowly by hand using a mixture of clays including Devon ball clay (a creamy buff colour), Staffordshire fire clay (used for building bricks) and earthenware clay. It’s time consuming but a technique he prefers as it allows the form to evolve naturally. Organic material such as sand, wood ash, cement board and firebrick are added in varying amounts and then fired at a high temperature multiple times - a complex process that has remarkable results. The combustible materials melt into the clay and cause glaze spots or runs, or burn away to leave an array of unique abstract markings and subtle erosions. Paul's palette of dreamy chalks, warm sandstone, weathered slate and rich charcoal grounds us and connects us to the earth. He is influenced by his interest in ancient culture, oriental art, geology and the natural world.
Paul has been working with clay for over forty years and over that time has experimented with a variety of materials and techniques, some of which have never been tried before. This has resulted in equal measures of delight and frustration as some attempts work and others fail. It’s not an easy task especially as each of his pieces face, what he calls an “unknown future”, as various “breakdowns” (unpredictable cracks and fissures) occur as they are fired multiple times in the kiln. However, this is all part of Paul Philp’s unique creative process. It’s very important to him that each of his pieces develop into something that have their own individual character and identity. He wants them to have a life beyond him and soon after he starts to create them, they should continue on a journey of their own. We are attracted to this idea and hope that as owners and inheritors of his pieces that they will continue their journey in our own homes and beyond.