Josie Walter

the most popular item I make, and decorative after use

The Maker

Josie Walter has a long-established ceramics business, training in England and France and learning about both one-off studio wares and production ceramics. Josie is fascinated with kitchenware and creates functional earthenware, handmade and decorated with slips and coloured glazes. Her main motifs speak of the charms of the kitchen garden: fruit and vegetables, hens, birds and fish.

The Object: Lunch Plate with Two Hens, first created around 2014

24 cm diameter. Sculptural red clay, white slip, coloured glazes and a fritted lead raw glaze. £34

The Making

Josie’s family keep chickens and Josie now cannot imagine life without them scratching about in the garden. Her pots are thrown on a momentum wheel or slab built. Three clays are used, a standard red earthenware, a rough red sculptural body, and a chocolate brown clay which is mixed with the sculptural red to give it a more tactile finish. The work is then covered (‘slipped’) with white slip, before decorating with paper resist, slip trailing, coloured glaze and raw glaze. Firing is done in an electric kiln.

Josie Walter on her Signature Style

‘Since I started making pots in 1979 I have been focused on making functional work. When I completed my MA at Staffordshire University my dissertation concentrated on useful pots and finally was published as a book, Pots in the Kitchen. This lunch plate is the most popular item I make. It suits the fashion for smaller helpings and with its deep rim, it accommodates salad, pasta or just a sandwich. With images of either vegetables and fruit, hens or fish on the centre, the plate continues to be decorative after use. It also goes in the oven and dishwasher.’

Expert Eye

Josie’s beautiful slipware decoration mixes perfectly with her thrown earthenware pottery. Preston Fitzgerald (curator and collector)