Brenda Green

Botanical Artist and Potter

Brenda Green's detailed botanical drawing of a
Centauria using coloured pencils.

Biography

Botanic Drawing

My venture into Botanic Drawing has been a fairly recent step along life's journey, but drawing has always been a great delight from an early age.

After my education at Colchester County High, I progressed to Colchester School of Art in 1965, but it was the call of the clay that beckoned me. However, whilst at Art School I was fortunate to be taught Botanic Drawing by John Nash and he encouraged us to use coloured pencils. We completed our six weeks course in that discipline and that was it! I became a potter!

To cut a long story short, I then trained to become a Primary School teacher, but still managed to run my pottery studio for most of my twenty-four year teaching career and also sang with The London Philharmonic Choir for some time, singing being my other passion!

Then, some years later, a friend who did botanical watercolours rather scathingly muttered about someone who did botanical drawing with coloured pencils indeed! I quietly reminded her that I too had produced work using coloured pencils and showed her my efforts. Not wholly convinced, she signed up to Ann Swan's course at Dedham Hall, cursing the cost of pencils and assuring me she'd hate it! Not so! She returned completely converted, singing Ann's praises.

The following year my friend firmly suggested that I too should attend Ann's course and the rest is history. Ann has been an excellent, long-suffering and patient tutor for a person whose feet were in clay, in more ways than one! I shall ever be indebted to her tuition so far and her encouragement to strive for what I thought was an impossible goal.

I now exhibit my work, mainly in local agricultural shows in the Anglia region, produce cards and prints from my botanical drawings and have several pieces, both original and prints, in private collections.


A stoneware planter with a poppy design made by Brenda
Green in her own pottery studio.

Pottery

When I finally left college to teach, I determined to continue potting (in the days when teaching wasn't 24hrs x 7!) I was fortunate in that we had an excellent ceramics department at St. Osyth's headed by Graham Eccles, who, although himself a hand-builder, encouraged me to develop my throwing skills under his tuition for three years.

Soon after college, I met Sally Dawson, a Canadian studio potter working in Cannonbury Square, Islington, and she continued to be a mentor and friend for many years. My greatest joy was to visit London galleries, eat at Cranks and absorb all the wonderful pots made by expert potters, Sally being one of these, in the Craftsman Potters Shop next-door in Marshall Street.

Today, I am a studio potter still producing wheel-thrown pots. I use chiefly stoneware clay, sometimes porcelain and make my glazes from natural materials. These are mainly tenmoku and dolomite glazes, with oxides and slips applied by brush to decorate. My botanic interests sometimes influence the decorative elements of my pots and floral designs are added in various ways. I love the process of making teapots and produce both the cane-handled and conventional sort. Making these "non-drip", however, is a potter's dilemma! I biscuit-fire my pots initially, then glaze-fire in an 8cu.ft. electric kiln up to 1280 degrees centigrade.