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Alan Wallwork was born in Watford, Hertfordshire in 1931. He studied pottery at Newlands Park Teachers’ Training College. After that he gained eligibility for a one-year course at Goldsmith’s College and studied pottery. Under Kenneth Clark and Gordon Baldwin where he gained superb technical & design knowledge. And whose attitudes influenced him heavily.
Upon leaving Goldsmith’s he spent some time teaching at local schools.
In 1958 he opened his first studio and gallery in Forest Hill, South London. The gallery, named The Alan Gallery, exhibiting works by Lucie Rie & Kenneth Clark amongst others. He continued to experiment with tin-glazing, brush and sgraffito decoration, rubbed-on oxides. Textures were created by incising, rouletting and stamping often inlaid with white slip.
It was soon clear that Alan had outgrown the Forest Hill premises. Which were designated as retail. Subsequently moving to much larger premises in Greenwich. Work produced here sold successfully and Alan’s designs were accepted by the Design Centre and his work found outlets through Heal’s department store and the Craft Potters Association, of which he was elected a council member. The association with Heal’s led to Alan’s work being exhibited in Copenhagen. A very large order for tiles from an advertising agency led to Alan’s next move.
It was necessary to take on larger premises to produce these tiles. So Alan bought a building previously uses as a chapel in Marnhull, Dorset. For a while he commuted between the two addresses. However this was impractical and before long he decided to stay permanently in Dorset. Heal’s and the CPA remained as retails outlets and also the showrooms of Briglin Pottery. Alan occupied these premises for many years working on tiles, hand-built, slabbed. Coiled and altered pots and sculptural pieces in reduced stoneware.
Following illness in the late 1990s Alan’s work rate decreased and in 2004 he opened a workshop in France where he continued to pot. Alan Wallwork sadly passed away in November 2019.
A vivid and highly engaging character, Alan epitomised the often quietly subversive spirit of British studio pottery. He was a prolific and hardworking artist, an enabler who contributed much to ceramics’ sense of community and professionalism, but he also lived life to his own rules, away from the mainstream.