Norman Yap is a British potter who throws stoneware or porcelain studio bowl and vase forms. His forms are simple but striking and rely on their size, clay and embellishments for their identity. Norman is also on the council of London Potters and writes and edits London Potters News. He exhibits regularly in UK shows and his website www.normanyapceramics.com is where he keeps the information on his shows updated.
Norman uses a British stoneware clay which he stains with manganese, copper and iron oxides. These oxides are pugged with the clay several times until they are blended and invisible until the pieces are fired. The bare clay then takes on a warm, brown, toasted colour and the oxides bleed through the matte feldspathic glazes to form swirls and variations in colour which are random and unpredictable.
For the porcelain versions of the forms,Norman uses British Porcelain Royale. The forms are not glazed on the outside but are either left smooth, etched or incised, all textures being to draw attention to the coolness and whiteness of the porcelain. The insides are glazed with blue green crackle and Jun glazes in up to 12 layers with some local embellishment in Derek Emms red. The thick glazes flux and move in the firing to soften the starkness of the form.
Norman’s bowls are either flat bottomed or footed, the latter being thrown at the same time as the bowl is made to ensure a smooth transition of line from body to foot. His pieces are characterised by their bevelled rims and altered forms which he creates by squeezing the bowl to create an undulating rim.
His bottle and vase forms are tall and may also be altered. Whether in stoneware or porcelain, these upright forms act as backdrops to the glazes.
Norman’s stoneware glazes are stiff, dry glazes which do not flux in the firing. His glazes are matte but allow the oxides in the clay to bleed through in order to create layers of colour and texture. His porcelain glazes are by contrast brilliant and liquid. Normantries to build up these glazes at the top of the pieces in order to capture them in mid flux during the firing.
Norman uses a gas kiln to fire his pieces in a reduction atmosphere (where the oxygen content in the kiln is reduced) resulting in more lively colours as they do not oxidise as they would in an electric kiln. All his pieces are raw glazed and once fired in temperatures up to 1300C.