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Philomena Pretsell

Artist Biography

Teaching 1992 - 2000 Sunderland University; Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art Dundee; Edinburgh College Art

Always remember the JOY of working with clay and acknowledge the unashamed irony found/seen in the work.

In any art form my search is for that something that awakens my senses; I’m looking for a generosity of spirit in form, content and expression. At a concert, theatre or exhibition I’m hoping for the unexpected, the fearlessness of the creator, something to make me draw breath in amazement - or laugh out loud.

However, it doesn’t do to be predictable so the paintings of Georgio Morandi are equally appealing as that of Kirchner; then there’s Beethoven, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Eric Clapton all float my boat and I wish I could sing like Adele or Aretha Franklin; rock band 4 Non Blondes are great too.

The work of Dutch Architect (Delirious New York) Rem Koolhaas appeals; always extending himself and coming up with the unexpected

So, no pressure on me as my own claywork develops in the workshop…….this approach to making comes in stark contrast to the current viewpoint for a cooler approach to clay and glaze but it comes from deep inside, a place where humour, heat and heart play a huge part; a place of escape, perhaps, but also a recognition of the JOY and privilege of working with this fascinating medium.

‘Loudmouth’ - it’s noisy! Does it make you laugh or grimace? Either is ok as you have reacted……it’s drawn your attention – they remind me of the Muppets………!!? (unintentional – not a fan)

Flash – unashamed irony….

Sun-drenched bowl with big fat juicy nuggets of real bright gold lustre!

Home from Home – look closely for copies of a painting (of wallpapers and Ercol) by Peter Pretsell, my late husband; artist, painter, printmaker and Head of Printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art until 2003.

Untitled – carpet painted by Peter

Lined Blue Coracle – the lines are from a drawing by Peter Pretsell

Polka Dot Coracle – as above

Yellow Joy – sheer expression of joy and playing with materials – why not

Selected Exhibitions 

2008 Scottish Arts Council Award research in New York and Chicago

2003 Scottish Arts Council Award Solo Touring Exhibition

1999 Major Scottish Arts Council award

1990 Post Graduate scholarship Edinburgh College of Art


2004 Galerie Albion Putti Groningen Holland

1999 51st International Competition of Ceramic Art Faenza Italy

1997 Time for Tea Brasilia Cultura Inglesia Musea da Republica Rio de Janeiro BrazilKutani International Decorative Ceramics Competition Japan

1992 Bienniale Internationale de Ceramique d’Art Vallauris France

Selected UK

2018 July - October Contemporary Ceramics Centre London WC1B 3BF

2017 4 - 30 October - Scottish Arts Club

2017 May - August Tatha Gallery Newport on Tay - Solo ceramic show

2016 Awards - Visual Arts Scotland - Scottish Arts Club Prize

2016 Invited Artist Pittenweem Arts Festival Fife 6 – 14 August

2016 VAS Royal Scottish Academy 29 January – 20 February

2015 Ceramic Art York September

2014 Potfest in the Park

2013 Potfest in the Park2012Contemporary Ceramics Centre Great Russell Street London

2011 Unite Collins Gallery Glasgow2009Origin Somerset House The Strand London

2008 Ceramic Art London Royal College of Art

2001 Form and Transfer curator Stephen Dixon for Drumcroon Wigan Lancs

1997 Hot off the Press Crafts Council Gallery London

Work in Permanent Collections

International Museum of Ceramics Faenza Italy

Ceramic Collection Aberystwyth Arts Centre Aberystwyth

British Council London

Aberdeen Art Gallery Schoolhill Aberdeen

Museum of Ceramics Vallauris France

Professional Membership

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW)

Crafts Council Photostore Selected Makers

Craft Potters Association of Great Britain

Visual Arts Scotland

Scottish Society of Artists


2016 Subversive Ceramics by Claudia Clare Bloomsbury Academic

2011 21st Century Ceramics Lark Books

2009 Ceramics and Print Paul Scott A&C Black

2008 500 Plates and Chargers Lark Books

2007 The Potters Bible Marilyn Scott A&C Black

2002 The Potters Guide to Ceramic Surfaces by Jo Connell Quarto

The Potter’s Question and Answer Book by Gill Bliss A&C Black

The Art of Hand-Built Ceramics by Susan Bruce Quarto

1999 Slipware by Michael and Victoria Eden A&C Black

Buyer’s Guide to Contemporary British Studio Ceramics Crafts Council

1998 The Potter’s Directory of Shape and Form by Neal French Quarto