Val Sparkes retired recently in 2018, after over 30 years as a ceramist. We asked Val if she could describe her career, so in Val's own words:
Val Sparkes studied ceramics at Bristol Polytechnic graduating in 1981. Apart from a couple of years abroad, and a teacher training course in Brighton, she has worked in the world of ceramics ever since. In 1993 Val established The Pottery at Danestream Farm, situated on the edge of the New Forest just a couple of miles from the sea, where, until May 2018 she made hand thrown, decorative, earthenware pots. Much of Val’s work reflects her love of the countryside and sea, with popular designs including the blue & white 'tiptoe' farm animal series and the 30s inspired ‘trees & sky’ pattern. Later work explores the technique of transfer printing with pots inspired by BBC Radio 4’s shipping forecast, including jugs and boat shaped containers for olives or salt. Over the years, Val has drawn inspiration from many sources, historic and contemporary, but her methods remain rooted in the traditions of the ‘country potter’.