Stephen Murfitt British, b. 1953
'My work is driven by an obsession with clay and its versatility. I make ceramic forms and vessels which are hand built and Raku-fired. I became addicted to Raku because of the direct involvement with each stage of the process. The pots absorb and reflect the intense drama of the firing.
'Influences are diverse and come from a fusion of visual elements seen in the natural and built environments. The effects of weathering, erosion and decay provide a constant source of reference.
'Small groups of related forms are handbuilt simultaneously. The slow and contemplative pace of coiling allows for considered developments and refinements to be made. Each stage of construction enables intuitive and selective marks and textures to occur.
'Glazing and firing methods are adapted to enhance the form and surface of each piece.
'This combination of the making, glazing and firing methods result in one-off pieces which are completely unique.'
After several years spent as a tutor of ceramics and sculpture at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, Stephen Murfitt now lives and works from an established studio in a converted Methodist Chapel in his native Fens. Another artist who likes to work with small groups of related forms and vessels, Stephen creates hand-built Raku-fired one-off pieces which are completely unique.
In describing his work and methods Stephen says: ‘I am driven by an obsession with clay and its artistic versatility. I became addicted to Raku because of the direct involvement with each stage of the process. The pots absorb and reflect the intense drama of the firing. The effects of weathering, erosion and decay provide a constant source of reference and the slow, contemplative pace of coiling allows for considered developments and refinements to be made at each stage in the creative process.’
Throughout his career, Stephen has exhibited widely throughout the UK, most recently at La Galleria, Pall Mall, London for the Royal Arts Prize. Stephen is a selected member of the Anglian Potters and the Craft Potters Associations and author of ‘The Glaze Book’, published by Thames & Hudson in 2002.
Cambridge School of Art, foundation course 1972-74
West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham 1974-77
Middlesex Polytechnic, Art Teacher’s Certificate 1977-78
On leaving college, Stephen combined teaching Art and Design with making pots. After several years spent at Marlborough College in Wiltshire as the ceramics and sculpture tutor, Stephen returned to his native Fens and established his studio in a converted Methodist Chapel.
Throughout this time, Stephen has exhibited his work widely and most recently at:
La Galleria, Pall Mall, London (Royal Arts Prize)
York Ceramics Fair
Contemporary Ceramics Centre, London
‘Innovations in Ceramic Art’, Cambridge
Primavera Gallery, Cambridge
Pyramid Gallery, York
Gavagan Art, Settle, Yorkshire
Gallery 57, Arundel
Babylon Gallery, Ely, Cambridgeshire
The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely
Stephen is a selected member of the Anglian Potters and The Craft Potters Associations.
Author of ‘The Glaze Book’, published by Thames & Hudson in 2002.
Currently working on a Raku book for The Crowood Press in Wiltshire.
Ceramics Art + Perception October 2017
Ceramic Review ‘Masterclass’ May/June 2018 , and repeated in July/August 2020 including YouTube.com video
CONTAINEDNew contemporary ceramics by leading UK and International ceramicists 12 Mar - 9 Apr 2021The Porthminster Gallery in St Ives has a strong reputation for showing quality ceramics by emerging and collected names and is delighted to launch its 2021 season of shows with ‘Contained’, a curated selection of new ceramic 'vessel' forms for Spring by artists showing for the first time with the gallery in St Ives:
Gabriele Koch Ruth King Sotis Filippides Stephen Murfitt Mitch Pilkington