One of our customers’ favourite ceramicists, Karen Atherley’s work remains popular year after year. Karen’s distinctive and decorative style is influenced by the curvy figures of Greek antiquity combined with the palette of the Impressionists. She uses bright ceramic slips painted directly onto the white earthenware surface and glazes the pieces with a clear lustrous glaze.
How did you get started in ceramics?
I first touched clay in junior school and then again in high school. We had a wonderful art department that included a well-equipped pottery run by Mr Hardiker. He also ran a Saturday morning pottery class at the local art college which I attended and loved every minute.
Our customers love your work for all the different colours – what’s your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is RED. One of my earliest memories was a pair of red boots my mum bought for me.
What kind of brushes do you use to paint your figures – do you have a favourite brush and use special brushes?
I use a variety of brushes, liners, big flat brushes as well as the usual round art paint brushes. The liners are the important ones. They have to sit right in my hand before I can start drawing the ladies. I usually have a favourite brush which I will use ’til it wears out. I use the other brushes to do the filling in and decorating.
Do you listen to music or radio when you work – if so, what?
I listen to Radio 4. I like the variety of programmes and I usually learn something! Woman’s Hour, Afternoon play and the News and a whole lot more. It’s very informative. But not as good as it used to be.
Quite a few animals feature on your work – do you have a pet?
We have rabbits Bluebell and Buck that keep me company. They are my daughter Olivia’s but I feed them and talk to them. Ha!
What’s the most unusual commission you’ve made?
The most unusual commission was for an urn.
Mark used to run the Craft Shop at Nottingham Castle till his early death.
The commission was from his partner, he wanted something they would both love.
I was asked to make a commemorative bowl in memory of him and about their love and it is on display in the museum, which I am quite proud of.