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Introducing Mike Scown

How did you hear about the Starter Studio Programme?

My interest in ceramics developed after graduating from a BA in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2012. Whilst getting to grips with the basic processes of making, a family friend recommended visiting the Open Studios at Manor Oaks in November 2013. After seeing the facilities there and talking to the ceramicists on the programme it was clear that the place was exactly what my practice needed in order to develop.

Can you describe your practice?

I am currently exploring the possibilities of thrown form and decoration using raku processes. I am intensely interested in universal use of mythology and religion throughout the course of human civilization, and believe that the immense legacy of imaginative imagery that has accumulated over the milennia is of great value in forming an understanding of the relationship between the individual and environment. The selective and illusory nature of the senses with which we experience and interact with the world around us, combined with the function of a highly sophisticated memory that facilitates the perception of the passage of time, leaves us with a sensation of existence that is nothing but a wholly convincing mirage, a notion that we are nothing but temporary aliens in an unimaginably vast and hostile external world. I believe a significant change of perspective is needed if we are to escape from the trap we have built for ourselves, a constant awareness of the astounding scale, complexity and harmony of the universe that we are a part of and the interdependence of the human organism and its total environment. We are not strangers in the world but incarnations of the world, the same fluctuations of matter and energy as everything else. Having worked until now from a garden shed in near isolation I am very excited to begin at Manor Oaks, and believe the peer group, facilities and business guidance provided there will be of immense value to my practice.

Where can people see your work?

I will be participating in the Open Studios event at Manor Oaks in November 2014. My work is also on display on my website at and at the following locations: Baslow Pottery, Baslow, Derbyshire, Fischer's at Baslow Hall, Derbyshire,  Room,  Abbeydale Road, Sheffield.