We are saddened to say that Thomas passed away in May 2019. Tommy was very kind and deeply connected to his practice, experimenting with ancient techniques of pottery to create contemporary work; his tale of how he came to be a potter and an artist deeply resonated with us and is still recorded here.
The Fish Factory is fortunate enough to have its very own potter, Thomas Newlands, who has worked in the studio since 2015. Originally from the Scottish highlands, Thomas began practising ceramics by chance when he chose to attend a day course in pottery.
Thomas has been a potter for twenty years and describes ceramics as a learning process of “trial and error,” requiring patience and preparation. A resourceful artist, Thomas visits car boot sales, where he finds objects such as fishing buoys, reusing them as moulds to create unique shapes.
Cornwall was the only place in Britain where ceramics was a degree, so he attended the Camborne Art College in 1998. In 2000, he continued at the Falmouth College of Art, gaining skills and developing his technique.
Inspired by Japanese ceramics, Thomas enjoys Raku pottery, which he claims is like “playing with fire". In his studio he explores the formula of ceramics as differences in temperature can transform colour and appearance. He is also experimenting with a golden glaze, meaning his pieces are both practical and extraordinary. His work has been exhibited at the Polytechnic Society in Falmouth and is currently very popular at the Penwith Gallery in St Ives.
One of his favourite exhibitions at the Fish Factory featured the Lord of the Logos, Christophe Szpajdel and Thomas appreciates how the Fish Factory welcomes all art into their space. In his new studio he can use his kiln, which can reach up to temperatures of 3000 degrees, making him the resilient artisan of the Fish Factory. Thomas explains “every time you open up a kiln it’s like Christmas” as each pot emerges differently.