"My first introduction to functional ceramics was in the kitchen, always with food. The local potter was a close family friend and our breakfast bowls, mugs and dinner plates all came from him. Occasionally, at weekends, we would visit and I might be allowed to make a small pinch pot or a figurine.
Years later, whist working in a fine dining restaurant, again I came across wheelthrown table ware from another local potter. I was captivated from then on.
To me, pottery has always been about the kitchen; eating, cooking and food. This is what drives my practice today."
Iona Crawford Topp was born and raised in North Yorkshire and grew up around a variety of crafts people, being exposed to making from such a young age proved a great inspiration and instilled a respect for materials. After attending Newcastle University to study Marine Biology and then working as a restaurant manager for a number of years, where she attained an understanding and appreciation for food and the restaurant industry. Iona gained a place on the prestigious DCCOI Ceramics Skills Course in Thomastown, Kilkenny, in 2018, under the expert tuition of the master potters there, she developed her skill and own personal style. She now lives and works in Ardmore, County Waterford in the Republic of Ireland.
A LITTLE BIT OF TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Most of Iona's work is thrown on a potters wheel from white stoneware clay, a few specialist items are hand built in other clays. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the size and shape of the piece, after that the piece has to dry for a day until it can support its own weight enough to be turned upside down. This allows the underside to dry evenly with the top and then eventually for a foot to be turned into the base or a handle to be attached. After a few days the piece will be bone dry and then is sponged down to remove any fingerprints. The work is then biscuit fired in an electric kiln to roughly 1000 degrees C, after which it is glazed. Iona makes her own glazes and does her own glaze research. The pots are usually glazed by dipping the bisc pot into a bucket of liquid glaze to ensure an even coating. Finally the pots are fired up to 1280 degrees C in an electric kiln.