Jennie's fascination with the natural world is central to her work both as a sculptor and potter. At Primavera we have a selection of domestic ware made by Jennie, including mugs, bowls and jars, as well as larger jars and figurative pieces depicting British animals in her characteristic style.
After gaining an Honours degree in Ceramics at Loughborough College of Art and Design Jennie Hale worked at Shinners Bridge Pottery, Dartington. During this time she became interested in salt glaze. In 1982 Jennie Hale moved to Coryton and set up Longham Pottery with her husband, Andrew Osborne. For some years she worked alternately in Raku and salt-glaze and then after 1986 she exclusively worked in Raku developing her own unique style.
Starting from a slab base each piece is hand-built using coils, gradually building up the form. The form is developed by ‘paddling’, scraping and compressing before smoothing with a rubber kidney. Detail is added using a combination of blobs, slabs and coils of clay and the shape of the mouth, fur and feathers are drawn on with a scriber. When dry the work is decorated using wax resist, underglaze and oxide before biscuit firing in an electric kiln. Then the pieces are Raku fired; the work is drawn red hot from the kiln and smoked in a bin of saw dust. The Raku firing gives the pieces another dimension especially with crazing which imparts unique effects and surfaces to the wares.
Since childhood Jennie has had a fascination for the natural world and would often explore wild places. From an early age she always wanted to capture some essence of their lives and while still at school she would draw and paint the flora and fauna that intrigued her.
Then later in life she was able to set up a pottery with Andrew Osborne in an isolated farmstead in a beautiful valley. This of course delighted her as she could once more explore the natural world. Today she ventures out on to the land early every morning to capture moments with her pencil or paint in her diary or just to watch the goings on of the forest. Jennie has been compiling these drawings and observations into diaries since 1994 and these studies are an essential and integral part of her work.
Jennie says that not only does the natural world fuel her creations but also the Scottish folklore and legends. As a child she was a hunter collecting and watching the wild and would dream of joining these creatures. Therefore although Jennie’s work is based on life, humour and mystery does play an important part. Jennie’s sculptures are comic, fierce and tender manifestations of a lifelong passion.