Fred Gatley

Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, (MIMMM) and also a Member of the Craft Potters Association.

Fred Gatley  

I am always trying to achieve balance within my work, striving to produce work that has an understated visual richness set against a feeling of quiet simplicity, paring away the non-essential. Some of the pieces shown here contain fragments of the Thames, trapped within each piece, the ‘Refuge’ series contains tiny fragments of an air-raid shelter that used to stand in our garden. These inclusions, many as small as grains of sand, have been used as ‘captured grains’ to fleck and pattern the works you see. The introduction of these various particles into the clay bodies gives each piece a reference to location and time. As these materials mark the works they also reference the places where they were found, so bringing to the object both location and history and thereby linking each piece to a particular place and time.

My work may often be seen as referencing the ceremonial, offering an object for contemplation. Many see echoes between this work and elements found within a Japanese garden, with its carefully arrange stones and meticulously raked gravel, these may be accidental, or the influences on his work may come from nearer to home with the beauty to be found in the rich simplicity of a dry-stone wall or the innocence of a water-washed pebble lying on a beach.


  • Fine Art - BA (Hons)
  • Jewellery and Silversmithing  - BA(Hons)
  • Architecture - BA(Hons)
  • Other MA and post-graduate programmes

After my Foundation studies between 1973 and 1975 at Warrington College of Art I undertook a BA (Hons) in Three Dimensional Design, Ceramics, at Bristol Polytechnic, graduating in 1978. After many years of working at the Cass I studied here as a part-time student from 1996 to 1998 obtaining an MA by Project, (Distinction) entitled ‘Researching the Grinding and Polishing of High- Fired Ceramics’. This was followed by five years of further study and research culminating in 2006 with an MPhil. I am a Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, (MIMMM) and also a Member of the Craft Potters Association.

Selected recent shows:

  • 2013 Ceramic Art London, Royal College of Art, London
  • 2012 Open Studio Show, curated by Sara Lee, Blackheath, London
  • 2012 Made in London, The Contemporary Ceramics Centre, London
  • 2012 An English Summer, The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
  • 2012 Summer Show, The Bevere Gallery,  Worcester
  • 2012 Ceramic Art London, Royal College of Art,  London
  • 2011 Ceramics Now, curated by Nigel Hunter, Milton Gallery, London
  • 2010 Subtle Edges, curated by Dr. Bonnie Kemske, Unit 2 Gallery, London


  • Ceramic Review, March/April 2009, ‘Polishing Ceramics’ an article on developments within the MPhil research project.
  • Ceramics Technical, Dec 1998,  ‘Polishing High-fired Ceramics’, an outline of my polishing and finishing techniques and developments 1986-1998
  • Ceramic Review, Nov/ Dec 1997, ‘Engineering and Ingenuity’, an article on the origins of the MA work
  • Ceramic Review, Jan /Feb 2014, ‘Deptford Creek’, an article on the source materials incorporated into my work.


  • Additions to Clay Bodies, Kathleen Standen, to be published May 2013. Including a section featuring my work and methods
  • The Ceramics Book, 2012, Third edition edited by Bonnie Kemske, Ceramic Review Publishing Limited
  • Working with Paperclay and other additives, 2000 Ann Lightwood, Crowood Press, Marlborough, England, supported by touring exhibition of Scottish Art Galleries
  • Colour in Clay, 1998, Jane Waller, Crowood Press, Marlborough, England.  


A river runs through it

Fred Gatley

Polished terracotta bowl with inclusions of blue grog

Fred Gatley

'Refuge’ piece bowl on base

Fred Gatley

Three ‘Refuge’ pieces

Fred Gatley

Hand polished black porcelain bowl

Fred Gatley