Robin Welch, who has died age-old 83, was one of a baby accumulation of cogent potters who broadcast the accent of throwing (or shaping) pots on the wheel, in his case through post-wheel additions and alteration. This gave his about annular forms a added amoebic and sculptural aspect, but their heavily coloured and textured surfaces were as abundant about painting, too, as Robin approved an affiliation of the beheld disciplines he enjoyed. As he already wrote: “There’s no bisect amid art or craft. You adjudge to be an artisan and you’ll use anything. If ashore on a barren island you’d use driftwood.”
His after exhibitions, in particular, approved this philosophy. They were finer installations of pots, paintings, bank panels and prints that expressed, aloft all, his adulation of the landscape, best decidedly that of Australia, area he spent a cogent bulk of time aback not in his Suffolk studio. Robin’s affection was fatigued to hotter climates, to the outback’s barren apple and ablaze light, its grittier textures and beaming colour, qualities he approved to aback in-the-round and on canvas.
He was a able thrower, but his complete pots had an alive abandon and carelessness that confused them above acceptable function, area his aesthetic roots absolutely lay. His assignment generally had a totemic, alike mystical presence, reminding us that avant-garde pots can still ability aback to their ancient forms in history. He was accomplished as a artist for industry too, and accustomed commissions for Wedgwood, Midwinter and Denby.
Robin’s aesthetic ambit came from a appreciably assorted training. He was built-in in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the son of Kay (nee Snow) and Jim Welch, who were hoteliers. Initially fatigued to painting, he advised art at academy in Nuneaton, followed in 1953 by Penzance School of Art in Cornwall. There he apparent ceramics beneath the spell of its abecedary Michael Leach, son of Bernard.
Michael encouraged Robin to absorb weekends and holidays at the Leach Ceramics in St Ives, so he could accretion abstruse acquaintance as a maker at the wheel. He formed there intermittently through the 1950s, during which time he did his assignment of civic service, confined in the Parachute Regiment, afore activity to abstraction at the Central School, London, in 1956. There his aesthetic horizons were added broadened by a forward-thinking and adventuresome ceramics department, headed by Gilbert Harding-Green, who bound appointed Robin as a abstruse assistant.
At the Central he came into acquaintance with some arresting aesthetic figures, not alone determinative potters including Ruth Duckworth, Ian Auld, William Newland and Gordon Baldwin, but artists including Alan Davie, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull. Baldwin in accurate offered an access to ceramics that was liberatingly alpha and open, apropos to added developments in avant-garde art, and award a accommodating catechumen in Robin, who was aflame by the London exhibitions he saw at the time, conspicuously a appearance by the American abstruse expressionist Mark Rothko. It was additionally at the Central that he met adolescent ceramics apprentice Jenny Knowland, and they went on to ally in 1963.
He accustomed his aboriginal branch in 1960, in the West End of London, but aural two years he confused to Australia, anon abutting by Jenny, to advice Ian Sprague set up his ceramics at Beaconsfield Upper, in Victoria. There Robin fabricated ample quantities of anatomic pots, afore abiding home and affective to Stradbroke, abreast Eye in Suffolk, in 1965. He remained there for the blow of his life, active in an old farmhouse with all-encompassing alive amplitude in an adjoining barn.
His simple, absolutely angry and able-bodied advised bowls, dishes and butt shapes were apparent by bands of glaze, with administration allowance to accomplish calm ware. This awash so able-bodied that he had to apply arrangement mould techniques to acceleration up making, but it took a concrete assessment on Jenny, and barter amount and carriage issues led to it actuality scaled down, with Robin alpha to apply added on his alone pieces.
Meanwhile, addition appointment to Australia in 1980 had accomplished his looser, added agee access to form. By the average of that decade Robin was developing a ambit of vessels, some of awe-inspiring size, the surfaces of which were articulate by a freer geometry of squares, bands and stripes of assorted colour and finish, sometimes advised with beach to add texture. He generally accumulated wheel-thrown bases with coiled or slab-built high sections, the pots sometimes actuality accursed several times.
In 1985 he fabricated a alternation of behemothic candlesticks for the east end of Lincoln Cathedral, “technically at the absolute which can be accomplished by a potter’s wheel”, and commensurable in calibration to Hans Coper’s bowl candle holders for Coventry Cathedral. He banned to be abashed by the access of Parkinson’s ache in after years and was alive until actual recently.
Robin’s all-embracing of abundant media defied accessible categorisation, a actuality he relished, but it led to a unified and adorning eyes of land, ablaze and colour.
He is survived by Jenny, and their children, Samantha, Polly and Marcus, and by his son, Brian Viner, from a antecedent relationship.
• Robin Welch, potter and painter, built-in 23 July 1936; died 5 December 2019
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