'bold Tenmoku and ash glaze bottles' - two Phil Rogers tall bottles on the banks of the River Wye
Phil was one of the very first potters we showed at the Goldmark Gallery back in 2005. For over 10 years he has supplied us handsomely with beautiful oil and wood-fired pots from his workshop near the River Wye: tall, proud Baluster jugs, bold Tenmoku and ash glaze bottles, and some of the best yunomis in the business.
Rogers' yunomis are some of the best in the business, rivaling those of the Japanese masters.
Rogers demonstrates how his pots are shaped with their final glaze in mind. Soft clay is often turned, leaving behind the textured surface of his tool marks. As the glaze melts in the kiln, it then conglomerates around the lines and ridges applied to the spinning pot, running away from contours to leave dark, glossy edges on a rim or a shoulder, or pooling in hollows on the pot’s surface to produce dramatic changes in colour and texture.
A paddled chawan with a Nuka glaze rim and interior showcasing Rogers' simple decoration
Phil's use of decoration is often kept to a minimum, relying on the simple marks made by faceting, combing, beating with a wooden paddle, and swiping with fingers or a hakeme brush. His pots have roots in much Korean pottery, where such techniques have historically been thought to originate, but also in the shapes of medieval British domestic ware and the Anglo-Oriental ceramic tradition established in the early 20th century by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada.
(above) hakeme bowl; (below) tenmoku baluster jug and ash glaze lidded jar
The sweeping finger marks through his Nuka and Tenmoku glazes, the delicately inscribed patterns on his hakeme slip, and the deep olive-green sheen of pine ash are all characteristic of Rogers’ work, but also hint at the history behind his forms and glazes.
A press moulded bottle featuring Rogers' characteristic finger swipe decoration
Phil sources as many local materials as possible for his pots, collecting wood ash from the fireplace in his house for his distinctive ash glazes, stone dust from local quarries, and coarse red clay from nearby woods that makes a fantastic slip. By limiting his range of materials, he has developed an intimate knowledge of their nuances and their particular ways of behaving in the kiln, resulting in pottery that is supremely confident and personal and which speaks deeply of its local Welsh environment.
(above) Rogers throwing a small guinomi; (below) the many varied glazes and surfaces of Rogers' guinomis
In recent years we have worked closely with Phil to produce magnificent sets of guinomis, miniature cups originally designed for drinking sake, arranged in a large custom-built display case. Each set features 80 unique pieces with varied surfaces and takes upwards of 6 months to complete, ensuring that Phil has enough time to place the guinomis in different firings to achieve a contrast of styles and glazes.
A magnificent made-to-order 80 guinomi set by Phil Rogers