Diane Hunt – Norfolk based artist
Diane enjoys working with stoneware clay. It has a unique feel, a tenacity for outdoor use, and it suits her style of hand building with slabs.
A Nottinghamshire girl, she was born and brought up as a youngster on a farm and a love of the countryside runs through her veins. She did well academically at school and was steered towards sciences which led to a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Biology. Thereafter she spent some 30 years in a career in commercial business.
She says “I have always been good at making things with my hands and my father had artistic talent. He went to Art college in the late 1930s at the age of 12. My working life involved a lot of business organisation, dealing with clients and logical thinking. I initially took up pottery at night school as a form of relaxation but quickly became hooked. This led to various residential courses with experienced potters across the UK. Hours and hours of practice in my own studio have culminated in a golden time in my life where I am now retired from the old day job and I can now spend as much time as I like in my studio.”
Designing and bringing original ideas into reality now shapes the pattern of her life. She finds the process is both relaxing and rewarding.
The freedom allows an evolution to her work and for this reason she refrains from specific client commissions and prefers to concentrate on her own design development.
Diane makes two distinctive styles of ceramics, one range enhances any garden space and the other is purely for your home.
She is interested in ceramics having a function, as well as providing pleasing and attractive objects. Her vessels should inhabit domestic spaces providing a feeling unlike that of other artwork. Clay has a unique way of retaining the essence and mark of the potter’s hands, and she feels that the energy of the maker stays with the piece, giving it vibrancy.
She is fascinated by the natural world, particularly the weathering of the landscape where she lives, the colours of the North Norfolk coastline and the oxidation of manmade buildings and structures by weather and sea.
Her obsession with texture touches all her work. She uses a lot of differing materials to make marks on wet clay, ranging from everyday kitchen utensils right through to her own linocut designs. Very often a new design will evolve from an abstract linocut that she loves to work on when taking a break from handling clay.
She expects her customers to firstly fall in love with the texture of one of her pieces of work. The tactile delight of ceramics is of most importance to her. She thinks that our intimate living spaces both indoors and out should reflect individuality. She personally loves sharing her living space with unique and cherished one off pieces of art and ceramics that have been collected over the years, as well as her own work of course! Each piece tells a personal story….
She blends her own recipe of clays to produce a grogged stoneware clay body giving great strength and frost resilience for large ceramics designed to live outdoors. The lightly toasted buff colour that arises after firing is a fabulous base for her surface treatments, and the incorporation of slips and oxides.
She is a passionate gardener and this provides endless inspiration for new garden vessels. Her pottery studio is a log cabin overlooking a Mediterranean style gravel garden at her home. It has interest throughout the year, even in the bleakest of Winters.
Building large garden planters is both time consuming and requires a great deal of physical energy. Each Winter she therefore makes a capsule collection of designs for sale later the following year at shows.
She began making items for the home as she was searching for the ideal vase for cut flowers. Her style is simple allowing the flowers to flaunt their stuff!
She uses a white stoneware clay which gives a good neutral base for the addition of either colour or surface texture. She began her monochrome range of vases, jugs and canisters, with geometric and linocut textures. Black and white gives a modern and contemporary edge and suits many interior styles.
Her colour range of homewares includes Brancaster vases that showcase the brightest of azure blues, and a multitude of colours enhance her other designs including the funky clocks.
She is always adding something new to both ranges
A second log cabin in her garden is dedicated to gallery space for her work. She comments… “It is also affectionately called Café Havana”. Along with her husband Paul , she enjoys time away from her studio to enjoy a coffee and chat during the working day.
They have open studio and gallery days, but visitors are always welcome by prior arranged appointment.