About Martin Dickson
"…hand building, with a particular emphasis on slab construction, has been my preferred working method. My early pieces aimed to explore form and surface within the constraints of vessel and container forms. This is a thread that has run continuously through my output in a number of ways. "
My first encounter with clay was at teacher training college in Exeter in the mid 1970’s. Having completed maths and science A Levels followed by a short-lived spell as a trainee Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy, a change of direction followed. By 1978 I was teaching Art and Maths at Weymouth Grammar School; the start of some 35 years working in schools and Adult Education in Dorset.
By the mid 1980’s I had discovered the workshop in the heart of Dorchester that I have to this day. While I have always been active as a maker my production has been quite limited in part due to the demands of teaching and to my involvement over the years with the Dorset Craft Guild and Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne. I was a Full Member of the Guild, Chairman in its final years, and later Chairman of Walford Mill as it took on and developed the vision for a contemporary craft centre in Dorset that the guild had started. In 1991 I completed a postgraduate course in the history of art and design at Winchester School of Art.
My college course focused entirely on hand-building and though I later learned to throw on the wheel, hand building, with a particular emphasis on slab construction, has been my preferred working method. My early pieces aimed to explore form and surface within the constraints of vessel and container forms. This is a thread that has run continuously through my output in a number of ways. I work with a variety of coarse stoneware bodies to produce sharply defined, often symmetrical vessels with scraped and stained surfaces. A series often develops through the systematic reworking of a particular form before that is, sometimes temporarily, exhausted. Similar themes are sometimes explored through wheel thrown pieces in white stoneware bodies and in porcelain.
In addition to these more sculptural pieces I also make to order a series of slab-built garden planters, sundials and fountains. One-off pieces are made to commission. For the past 5 years I have been teaching small groups of students in my workshop and am again managing to find a bit of time for my own production.