Rosalind Smith was born in South Yorkshire but by the age of four her parents who were teachers had moved her older sister Nicky and herself to Africa to run a school in Uganda.
At the age of six, Rosalind had to attend boarding school, as the nearest primary was 50 miles away and this set the pattern for her education, as from age 11 she was dispatched to a school in the UK, returning to Africa for the long school holidays.
“My parents moved with their work several times and by the time I was 16 I had lived in Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kabale, Kampala and Jinja. We moved to Nigeria when Amin came to power and after several happy years there I eventually settled in the Peak District.”
Rosalind works in earthenware using simple slips and glazes to create the highly decorative figures that are a feature of her work. Unlike most potters, Rosalind only ever concentrates on one piece at a time, modelling each by hand, so that it is uniquely different from its predecessor.
While Rosalind has admired many other ceramic artists over the years, nothing inspires her as much as Geoff Fuller’s figurative work which evokes the simplicity of early English earthenware of the 18th and 19th centuries.
“There are certain things I have discovered about being a potter. One is that you need an infinite amount of patience, especially when the beautiful towering decorative centrepiece that took you weeks to create, can be lost at any stage – a piece may crack beyond repair at any time while being worked or during the firing.”Part of the appeal for Rosalind is the beautiful fragility of earthenware. “The power of a piece when you have created it, It truly seems to take on a life of its own, which I find absolutely enthralling.”
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