Lovingly Handmade and Crafted Ceramics
Kathryn Borg is the owner of Highley Crafted based in Willington, Derbyshire. She had her first experience in ceramics at upper school in Bradford. Having had a great teacher and access to a kiln she went on to get an A in her GCSE art studies. She then went on to Bradford college to do a BTEC in national ceramics where she learnt techniques in ceramic making and glazing which proved to be a great learning experience.
From Bradford Kathryn then moved to Derby where she enrolled at Derby university to do a BA (Hons) degree in Applied Arts specialising in ceramics which she experienced a lot of Raku firing. In 2003 she decided to take a teacher training course and became qualified to teach adults. Since 2005 Kathryn works for Derby City Council teaching pottery and ceramic making.
Kathryn in her small workshop smoothing a plate edge with a damp sponge. This plate, along with many others, will be going into an exhibition at the LemoArt gallery in Berlin. The collection comprises of small bowls and dishes and are inspired by leaves, plants, and flora and fauna.
Kathryn started Highley Crafted when her children started school and having more time on her hands.
“I love the medium of clay and its many techniques and how it can be transformed into many different forms, be that either functional or sculptural. Every time I open the kiln with the glazed pieces it’s like Christmas, you know roughly what colour you want but you never truly know what you are going to get.” Kathryn Borg.
Making A Handheld Jug
Below Kathryn explained the process of how to make a handheld jug. It all starts from a ball of crafting clay which is molded into a basic bowl shape using the thumb. It is then placed in a plaster mold and then rolled coils of clay are then layered on top of each other which can be built upwards and then blended together using a modelling tool.
A ball of clay now becomes a jug. The outside of the jug is further refined using a kidney shape clay cutter which is scraped across the clay surface, removing finger prints and other scuffs during the making process. The spout will be cut to shape, left to air dry and then sanded down before being bisque fired to 1000°C. Finally, the jug will be glazed and refired to 1060°C.
Kathryn’s work is on sale at the Design@44 shop on Sadlergate and she also has a collection of work on Etsy. Her work can also be seen at local craft events and fayres.
“The work in design@44 is concentrated on functional forms and glazes, the way the glaze flows and runs to create different patterns. The collection I wanted to be cohesive so I used a lot of the same opulent glazes on both the pinch pots and the handheld jugs. I wanted people to be able to use the items but also wanted them to look good in the home environment.” Kathryn Borg.
Some Finished Products
Photography © Daniel Dytrych