John Pollex has carved out a unique niche in the world of studio pottery. During the 70s and early 80s he established himself as a respected maker of traditional Slipware, before his work took a dramatic turn.
Toft-style slipware dish (20″)
In 1984 Pollex decided to change direction. Referring to the work of painters such as Sir Howard Hodgkin, Robert Natkin, Patrick Heron and Ben Nicholson, Pollex used his knowledge and understanding of the application of slips (liquid clay) to develop a completely different style of working. He dispensed with slip trailers in favour of paintbrushes and sponges and more recently plastic spatulas, intensely coloured earthenware slips are applied in a free and painterly abstract manner. The change seems to have been clean and dramatic and appears to owe nothing to the slipware of before.
Apart from his regard for the aforementioned painters, Pollex’s work often includes references to his interest in Zen Buddhism, in particular the immediacy of brush strokes in Zen calligraphy.
Pollex is often asked why he never paints in the conventional manner. He says that he has always been a potter who enjoys what he does and he still feels there is much more to discover in the world of ceramics.
Pollex studied at Sir John Cass in Whitechapel from 1966-68; he then went on to become Technician at Harrow College of Art during 1968-70. After Harrow he became assistant to Bryan Newman and Colin Pearson until 1971. He moved to Plymouth in the autumn of 1971 establishing a studio and gallery in the historic Barbican area. In 2000 he moved his studio to his house where he now works.