Mark Dally Ceramics

Working from my Staffordshire studio, I handbuild, cast and wheel form, my Black & White Ware in high-fired white earthenware. My tableware includes teapots, mugs, jugs, platters and bowls in a variety of sizes.  I decorate by sliptrailing and brushing black and white slips onto paper resist cutouts, layered with slipped dots, drips and linework. Finally, I apply platinum and gold lustre in a third firing, to handles and knobs. I also construct funky non functional and humorous ceramic sculptures, using slipcast shapes from the library of moulds that I have assembled over decades. These are cast from hand modelled forms, children’s plastic toys, industrial Victoriana, DIY offcuts and domestic throwaways. I handbuild each one-off, decorate with slip trailing and applying stained slips on paper resist, finally adding lustres of platinum and gold.

After training in textiles, at Staffordshire University, and progressing onto the MA in ceramics, I set up my studio in 1989. Since then I have applied my love of surface pattern to ceramics.

Inspiration comes from 17th Century Staffordshire slip trailing, mid-century Stoke-on-Trent industrial ceramics such as ‘Homemaker’ by Ridgway and Carlton Ware ‘Walking Ware’, and the sci-fi anachronisms of 1940s, 50s and 60s animations and comics. I like to combine traditional craft and contemporary techniques in a modern take on Staffordshire slipware and flatbacks.

Currently, I am experimenting with using paper stencil shapes, derived from digital manipulation with Adobe Photoshop. These I cut out by hand, apply them to the greenware clay surface and brush over with black body stained slip. The paper motifs act as a resist, and after peeling away from the surface, reveal the pattern underneath. Sources of influence, come from the beautiful patterns of the natural world and the stunning shapes of everyday objects observed under the electron microscope. 1950’s illustrated biology books of cell structure, also spark my visual interest and imagination.

After 28 years experimenting with every type of slip trailer available, in 2017, I perfected the Mark Dally Slip Trailer, to overcome problems like suction, line quality limitations, spluttering and RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). I manufacture and market my slip trailer in my Staffordshire studio, which now sells internationally, with a well earned global reputation for excellence.