MY STORY & PHILOSOPHY
I think I was born an artist and craftswoman. I was brought up in the countryside with plenty of time to find ways of amusing myself. I was always curious and filled with wonder about the world around me and I still am. I love losing myself in a meticulous, time-consuming task, something I inherited form my grandmother who was an accomplished needle woman. It allows my mind to float free and my consciousness to rest. Nowadays we call that mindfulness.
CREATIVE AND MESSY
I spent many years studying and pursuing career paths in which I never felt really at home. I married and had four children. Like many women having a family took over all the time I might previously have spent making art except for one afternoon a week when I attended a local pottery class, which I did for seven years. Pottery, like motherhood, is inspiring, creative and messy: it was a perfect fit.
In 2015 I put a kiln in the old stable in our orchard. My marriage had ended and my pottery teacher saw that I needed a new start and and income. He kindly encouraged me to begin running a pottery club in a school and offering classes and parties to children and adults. I still have the mug he gave me for helping him out at my first school arts week. When I use it I think of how far I have come.
A PRAYER TO THE KILN GODS
I called my workshop Phoenix Pottery because like me that magical bird is reborn from the ashes of a former life. To work with clay is to work with the elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water ... and magic. I find many people in the ceramics community to be humble and phlegmatic. I think that is because you have to be: things are always going wrong! I know I am not the only ceramicist who has made little shrine to offer up prayers to the kiln gods before each firing.
In a world obsessed with recognition and measured by financial success, working with clay helps me to slow down, listen to my inner voice and to be comfortable with who I am. I try to share that philosophy with my students. Creativity is a gift we are all born with and I hope that through teaching I can share my passion and inspire my students to grow their own talents.
CAPTURING THE SPIRIT
In 2020 we were all thrown a curve ball in the form of the Covid pandemic. I stopped teaching and found my children needed me in the house so I could not spend much time in the pottery. My friend's business was so badly affected that she lost her house. The only way I could think to help her move on was to paint a portrait of her new home and somehow inspire her to fall in love with it. Friends on social media liked the painting and commissioned more work from me. My work as a painter grew by word of mouth. I particularly love painting house portraits. A home is more than just a building. I paint them at full moon when the magic of the night reveals the history of the place and the people who have lived there. I try to capture the spirit of someone's home.
A SENSE OF EMPATHY
As I began to sell paintings as well as ceramics I realised I needed to change the name of the business. Joanna is my name and Lampley Farm is my home and inspiration. I grew up surrounded by antiques and beautiful objects and paintings some of which were created by my mother. I love Charleston Farmhouse and I have visited the home of Vanessa Bell many times. She was an artist with whom I feel a strong sense of empathy. One of my cats is even called Nessa! My home Lampley Farm is filled with beautiful things. Handmade ceramics showing the maker's finger marks; original prints which came through the press on a slant; embroidery with slipped stitches; and, antique furniture made before mass production; it all inspires me and my work.
THINKING, WALKING AND DREAMING
My method of working is long and slow. An idea lands and I spend many days, weeks and months thinking, walking, dreaming and note making. I often have the sensation that an idea has come from outside me and I am the vessel in which it will be contained until I can break the spell by releasing it into the world.
I could describe myself as a mixed media or interdisciplinary artist but really I just want to create objects which make people feel good: small treasures in clay, paint, paper and fabric to inspire and to bring a sense of beauty to your world.