Sonia Lewis MSDC
Having intitially trained as a musician, Sonia was fortunate to teach at Dartington Hall where she inevitably came into close contact with many different artists. She had always been drawn to the potters and their craft but it was not until coming away from Devon to the flat lands of Cambridgeshire that she found a strong need for clay.
Her first experience came with Steven Murfitt who soon realised her ability and advised her to get her own equipment and set out. This was all the encouragement she needed.
Learning the techniques seemed a crucial part of the process. As a musician she understood the need for a complete mastery of technique so that she could truly express herself. Also the work had to be a direct response to the nature of the clay itself. Stoneware was her first choice . She never felt satisfied with oxidised firings and quickly realised that reduction firing with its more subtle colours and exiting firings offered more scope as well as more potential difficulties-something she fully embraced.
After moving to the Fens just over twenty years ago she had the space to build her own wood firing kiln. She uses various types of wood firing up to 1280oc and using hazel at the top temperatures to give the glorious amber glow to her work.
In 1988 David Leach persuaded her to use porcelain. She "discovered" the silk of ceramics and has continued to work in porcelain ever since. The porcelain is also fired in a reduction atmosphere but in a gas kiln and to just over 1300oc. The glazes are mostly of a celadon type with cool whites, misty blues and grey yellows that compliment the translucency of her porcelain.
She uses the wheel as a tool and as a reminder of the poise and balance that is to found in her work. However the stoneware has more robust approach whereas the porcelain needs lightness of touch to reflect the nature of the clay.
This responding to the nature of the material is fundamental to Sonia's approach.
Exhibitions-Ronald Pile GallerySolo Exhibition-2003, Take Five Exhibition-Bienniel 1999, 2001, 2003 Old Fire Engine House solo 2010, 2012,2014,2016
Links- Bircham Gallery Holt, Ouse Life website, Cambridge Open Studios
Workshop and seminar Adelaide School of Art Australia
Society of Designer Crafts Lund Humphries Prize 2004
Publications-The Glaze Book by Steve Murfitt-porcealin glazes, 500 Bowls Lark Books, Contemporary Ceramics by Emmanuel Cooper