Colin Saunders was born in Northampton and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, and later at North Staffordshire College of Technology. He taught for a time and worked with industrial potteries on large scale manufacture. In 1980 he moved to rural Suffolk where he established a workshop. He uses traditional materials: white earthenware and terracotta, so as to avoid preciousness.
Brickworks Late 1960's
Colin began his art training at Lowestoft School of Art. He followed a foundation course in 1956 by joining the Central School of Art in London, starting the ceramics course in 1958 under the patriarchal head Gilbert Harding-Green. While there, Saunders, like many other students of the day, fell under the spell of William Turnball, a visiting lecturer, who taught Basic Design to students from all departments. Turnball communicated the excitement of American Expressionism and, indirectly, the sculpture of Brancusi to a generation of students. So committed was Saunders to Turnballs lectures, and so great his determination to apply sculptural principles (rather than follow the traditions of the ceramic course) that he incurred the wrath of Harding-Green and to his great shock was told to leave the school. A moment of trauma, this unexpected event set Saunders on his own individual ceramics career. He moved to Stoke-on-Trent School of Art to study Design and learnt the art of mould making and slip-casting, the techniques he has used ever since to develop his work.
Born 1938 Northampton
1960-1961 N. Staffs College of Technology
1958-1961 Central School of Art
1980 Set up studio inSuffolk
1966-1980 Taught at Morley College, London Institute and Camberwell
School of Art
1961-1966 Taught at Stoke on Trent College of Art
A Handful of Potters' Exhibition, Saffron Walden Museum
1997-2001 Time for Tea, British Council
2003-2006 Everything but.. Contemporary British Kitchenware, British Council
2009 'Exploring Traditions in Contemporary Design', British Council
2010 Craftco., High Street, Southwold, Suffolk
I aim to make forms which look right and interest me in a purely formal way. I enjoy modelling in clay and being able to record and reproduce my efforts through the technique of mould making. In contrast to the mould-made ceramics, the thrown and turned work encourages varied pot sections and a corresponding different scale of weight. If people see in my work echoes of English 18th century creamware I take it as a great compliment.
Apparently unaffected by pressures to conform, Saunders is without question a highly creative ceramic maker, whose love of ceramics is informed equally by sculptural concerns, industrial methods and the traditionally functional repertoire of household pottery. The resulting work is, as one might expect, a visually challenging mix of the ordinary with the utterly unusual.