Sam Hall has, over the past ten years, produced a consistent and significant body of ceramics. Born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, he studied ceramics at Harrogate and Loughborough colleges. He now lives in St Ives, Cornwall and works in the Gaolyard Studios there set up by the potter John Bedding.
Each piece starts as a simple thrown cylinder of stoneware clay. It is then cut and altered to produce a flat sided oval form. The extent to which this process is taken is governed entirely by the nature of the original cylinder and those minute variations in weight, form, feel which give each piece its unique character. Since 1996 there has been little variation in these forms, and the imposition of this limitation results in an intense scrutiny by Sam of the forms themselves and their inherent possibilities.
The blank expanse of these repeated forms become the basis for a series of layered "slip" washes and a minimal use of glaze/oxides that transform the surface of each piece into a work of art. Over the years Sam has developed a distinct vocabulary of mark making on his pots, from which he is constantly culling and continues to craft. Organic "grids" that cordon off the surface in to several sections often provide an opportunity to employ multiple techniques on a single piece. Some of the most recurring of the "hallmarks" include; dripping slip, gouges and grooves inscribed in the clay and a crackled effect that highlights the textural concerns in his approach. Using a muted palette, aside from the occasional small red slash, or gold enamel embellishment, his pieces achieve a harmonic balance of drawing and form