Melanie Horner

About Melanie Horner

Melanie Horner has been playing with clay since childhood when at the tender age of 5, she wrote to Father Christmas to ask for a potters wheel! She would always be found playing in the mud outside, getting as dirty as possible. Whilst at secondary school, she was lucky enough to learn the skill of throwing on a potters wheel and a passion for this developed at age 12. 

Although Melanie decided to pursue a career as a nurse, her interest in pottery never waned. As she has moved around, she has always managed to find her way to some clay! Various night school courses and workshops along the way have meant she has gained knowledge in the various aspects of pottery. Finally in 1995, Melanie bought her first potters wheel and housed it in her kitchen (not recommended!).

After making a clay impression of her son’s hand on his first birthday, the idea for First Impressions was born. So, in 2001 First Impressions opened it’s doors. There’s a huge satisfaction from capturing a moment in a child’s life and making it last forever!

Since moving to Canada from England in 2011, Melanie has decided to pursue her passion for pottery and set up Firing Time. Melanie has always enjoyed making clocks and she loves to have fun creating different designs and enjoys bringing a smile to someone’s face when they see a clock they like! Raku (which is fired outside) is a specialty that she has been perfecting more recently. She loves to make vessels and decorate them with horsehair and feathers giving them a truly unique look.   

Over the passage of time, Melanie has delighted in sharing her knowledge and skills with others and in doing so hopes to spark an interest in this ancient but magical skill.

 Melanie’s TV debut was through a Gift of Art. She was also featured on Durham Now in January 2015 demonstrating how to make a clock.

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 I currently work in white low fire earthenware clay. I made this decision because firstly I like the white background of the clay and secondly, I am cognizant of leaving as small a carbon footprint on our world as possible and a lot of my decorative work like clocks doesn’t need to be high fired. More recently, I have switched to a white stoneware clay to make functional wares such as mugs and bowls. The stoneware glazes give a different quality to the pieces and I am enjoying experimenting with this.

I prefer to create pottery with a contemporary look and frequently use underglazes to decorate my work. I enjoy the various effects that these give as they can be used in a painterly fashion, as transfers, layering, colour washes, bubble and marbling to name a few. Colour is very important to me and this is evident in my work.  

I get excited by the endless possibilities of a piece of clay holds but also by the decoration techniques available too. It is something that I never tire of and am continually challenged by. I especially like to create one of a kind ceramic pieces and take commissions.  I’ve never been great with repetition and ! Having fun with my pottery is important to me and I hope this shows through in my work and the lessons that I teach both in my studio and in the community. 

Raku is another area of ceramics that I am currently exploring and developing my own style. It brings its own set of challenges but is an exciting process and quite unpredictable at times.


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