Norman Yap, MSDC

profile

close
close

Statement

Norman Yap makes studio bowl, vase and bottle forms in either stoneware or porcelain.  His forms are simple and rely on their size, choice of clay and embellishment for their identity.  His pieces are wheel thrown, raw glazed and once fired in a gas kiln in a reduction atmosphere for bright celadons, bright blue green Jun and deep red Derek Emms copper red glazes.  For his stoneware forms, Norman uses stained stoneware and matte feldspathic glazes in blue greens and tans.  When fired, the exposed clay is toasty brown and the oxides in the clay bleed through the glazes to form swirls or bands of colour.

Norman is a writer and editor with London Potters News and sits on the council of London Potters as Vice Chair.  He shows regularly in the UK and welcomes visits to his studio upon prior arrangement. Norman is also a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.  Both these organisations share the ethos of promoting and supporting excellence in British craft.

Biography

 I throw stoneware or porcelain studio bowl, bottle and vase forms and also a small range of domestic ware.  My work is starkly simple in form but complex in colour and texture.  The thrown vessel provides many opportunities for me to explore the choice of glaze and/or surface texture which have to complement the vessel and provide a visually exciting or pleasing result.

 
In terms of inspiration, I look to modern British architecture, sculpture, modern studio pottery and fashion, especially that of Vivienne Westwood.  I exhibit frequently and greatly profit from the exposure to other British makers and their exciting work.  My aesthetic is grounded in British and European design and my technique is rooted in British pottery.
 
I sit as a council member on London Potters as editor of LP News and Vice Chair.  
 
Summary

All work is raw glazed with my own recipes and once fired in reduction in a gas kiln.  All porcelain work is fired to 1300C and stoneware to 1225C.  

 

I use oxides, not stains to achieve my colours and textures.  My ingredients and materials are British, as are my recipe sources and tools. 

Materials
I use a British stoneware clay which I stain 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, I use 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 30 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. 

My current work also includes large porcelain bowls which are ultra thin for translucency. These are highly carved on the exterior and are lightly glazed inside to enhance the translucent walls of the pieces.

Forms
My 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. My pieces are characterised by their bevelled rims and altered forms which he creates by squeezing the bowl to create an undulating rim.

My 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.

Glazes
My stoneware glazes are stiff, dry glazes which do not flux in the firing. These glazes are matte but allow the oxides in the clay to bleed through in order to create layers of colour and texture. My porcelain glazes are by contrast brilliant and liquid. I try to build up these glazes at the top of the pieces in order to capture them in mid flux during the firing.

Firing
I use 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 my pieces are raw glazed and once fired in temperatures up to 1300C.

 

 

 

Background and History

Previous career – management consultant and senior manager specialising in change delivery and business transformation, employers included BBC and Ernst & Young.

Ceramics
Self taught potter (4 years), shared studios with professional potters, studied widely, attends masterclasses to refine technique and develop designs.
Full time maker since 2006/7, first professional collection was sold in its entirety to one collector.

Council member of London Potters and Society of Designer Craftsmen.
Writer and editor of LP News, written work includes reviews, investigations into toxicity and profiles of professional potters.

Winner of LP Best Thrown Piece 2010.

Recent Exhibition History

2010 - Art in Islington
2010 - Bloomsbury Festival
2010 - Islington Art Festival
2010 - London Potters’ Members’ Show 
(Award - Best thrown piece, London Potters’ Members’ Show 2010)

2011 - Origin at Spitalfields market, London
2011 - Handmade in Britain, Chelsea Old Town Hall, London
2011 - MADE11, Corn Exchange, Brighton, Sussex
2011 - Solo ceramics show with 3 painters at North Light Gallery, Huddersfield – Land and Sea
2011 - London Potters Members’ Show
2011 - Effervescence at West Dean

2012 - Mend Piece, an art installation by Yoko Ono, Gazelli Art House as part of fund raising for Japan post earthquake and tsunami
2012 - Craft Design Gallery, Leeds in March – invitation to be part of permanent collection of the gallery
2012 - Handmade in Britain at OXO Tower, May
2012 - Solo exhibition in private gallery in Bloomsbury, 
2012 - MADE at Marylebone, London
2012  Handmade in Britain at Chelsea Old Town Hall
2012 - MADE12 at Brighton, Corn Exchange in November.
2012 - Effervescence at West Dean.

2013 - Society of Designer Craftsmen annual show, Mall Galleries, Pall Mall, London.

Publications

British Studio Potters' Marks, BloomsburyCoast magazine, November 2011 (photo shoot of altered stoneware bowls)

Ceramic Review online Gallery, 2015

Handmade Book – published by Vivays, profiles of British designers and makers.
London Potters News – Toxicity, August/September issue (article)
Also:
- various book and exhibition reviews.
- Profiles of Chris Keenan and Daniel Smith

 

- Commissioned series of articles to follow Ceramics in the City from planning to execution to post show analysis, in collaboration with the Geffrye Museum.

 eexcellence.both 

Exhibition History

22-25 November 2012MADE12 at Brighton Corn Exchange
16-18 November 2012Handmade in Britain at Chelsea Old Town Hall
26-28 October 2012MADE at One, Marylebone
September 2012Solo exhibition at Bloomsbury Design, London
May 2012Handmade in Britain at OXO Tower
March 2012Mend Piece, an art installation by Yoko Ono (by invitation)
December 2011Effervescence at West Dean College (by invitation)
November 2011MADE11 at Brighton
November 2011Handmade in Britain at Chelsea Old Town Hall
September 2011Origin at Spitalfields Market
March 2011Solo Exhibition at Northern Light gallery, Doncaster