OLD MASTER Gary Sampson’s lifelong passion for art will be reflected in a high-profile exhibition showcasing Derbyshire’s creative forces.
The retired art teacher’s pottery will be on show at the Peak District Artisans 2013 Spring Showcase, which opens at Chatsworth today (Tuesday, January 8).
Works from 35 members of the collective - including 10 from Derbyshire - will be displayed in two rooms adjoining the Carriage House Restaurant.
Gary, 77, who lives in Elton, near Matlock, said: “Although I have previously exhibited ceramics at the Edensor Institute at Chatsworth, exhibiting in the restaurant area near to the House is quite new and therefore very exciting, especially considering the high reputation that Chatsworth has achieved from its modern sculpture display in the gardens.
“I shall be exhibiting ceramics at Chatsworth which will be a cross section of the ware that I usually produce together with some individual pots; about 10 or 12 pieces.
“With ceramics my obsession is making pottery of a high standard that can be used in the daily lives of people, such as jugs, mugs, bowls of all sizes, teapots, pitchers, platters etc with some individual personal objects.
“These ceramics are glazed fired by a gas fired kiln to 1280/1300 degrees, with glazes that I have made myself from wood ash and other ceramic ingredients. These glazes give a wonderful, subtle range of colours and finishes.
“Over the years my ceramics have been exhibited widely and regularly in England and Scotland.”
Gary’s creative talents aren’t restricted to pottery. He said: “I divide my working time in the year by producing stoneware pottery during the summer months and painting in the autumn and winter months.
“My paintings which are painted mainly in oil paint are based on aspects of my environment in the Peak District.
Gary studied at the Derby and District College of Arts in the mid 1950s, focusing on Fine Arts for five years and ceramics for two years.
After graduation he started teaching art and ceramics in Derbyshire schools including Alfreton’s Mortimer Wilson School, Ripley Technical Grammar School and Ripley Mill Hill Comprehensive School.
Gary added: “I must emphasise that during my time in teaching I always produced and exhibited my own work. In the late 1970s set up my first pottery workshop.”
Also taking part in the exhibition is mosaic artist Kate Pheasey who has all the pieces in place for her first exhibition with the Peak District Artisans.
Kate, who lives in Rowland, near Bakewell, said: “I was only accepted as a member of PDA last year, so to exhibit with the group at Chatsworth, most probably Derbyshire’s premier visitor attraction, has come as a very welcome opportunity for me to show my work to a wider audience.
“i will be showing examples of a variety of my work - a mix of animal portraits, seasonal/landscape-inspired mosaics and some textured abstracts.”
Kate, who is a member of the British Association for Modern Mosaic, produces imagery with a contemporary twist by using a variety of non-traditional metals, ranging from gold leaf and stained glass to rusty metal and found objects.
She said: “From schooldays I always had a deep seated desire to follow an artistic career but a variety of circumstances precluded this. Finally in my late 40s I thought if I didn’t give it a try I would aways regret it.”
Kate studied art and design at Chesterfield College as a mature student. She said: “About 15 or so years later, I am thoroughly enjoying my new life in the art and craft world; just short of time and wished I had gone ahead with it earlier.”
Other exhibitors contributing to Spring Showcase include:
Artists Dave Griffin of Bakewell, Mark Langley of Belper, Jenny Mather of Bamford, Roger Allen of Matlock, Suzan Burgess of Matlock and Suzanne Cannon of Matlock; ceramicist Sue Gorman of Chesterfield and potter Janine Mannion-Jones of Brampton, Chesterfield.
This is the second time the group has collectively exhibited at Chatsworth since its tenth anniversary in 2001. PDA chairman Chris Farrow said: “It’s fantastic to be invited back to this stunning venue. The Spring Showcase marks the beginning of our exciting 2013 exhibition programme.”
Chatsworth’s head of catering and retail, Richard Palmer commented: “The exhibition will be an excellent showcase of the talent the Peak District has to offer.”
The exhibition runs until March 2.