Even in the mundane there lies great beauty. This thought provoking philosophy is one that Whithorn-based artist Peter Wareing firmly believes in.
His inspirational belief has led to a fascination with how things constantly change and the fact that nothing stays the same.
Well, not completely. One thing has never altered and that is Peter’s desire for art.
Now based in his studio in an outbuilding at the back of his Georgian town house, the potter had a gift for drawing, which became a passion from an early age.
With encouragement from his parents, along with a trio of teachers from primary and secondary school, a passion for art flourished and initially 3D design caught his eye.
But prior to a degree level course he discovered working with clay – a love of the material was born and ever since he has continued to develop his own style.
To work full time making pots has always been his ambition since leaving Art College but it was not until he took early retirement from teaching that he has been able to achieve this.
Technically, his style is illustrated earthenware pottery, mostly wheel thrown and using the ancient technique of tube lining in an expressive way. His surroundings though play their part.
“Taking walks along the shore line or through woodland you come across objects which natural forces have brought together if only for a moment,” he said.
“It’s these fleeting compositional happenings that I often try to replicate in the illustrations I apply to the pots I make. The intention is also to show in the carefully constructed designs that even in the mundane there lies great beauty.”
He said his style often evokes imagery created during the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, mainly because they had a similar starting point in the natural world.
There was also a similar sense of composition found in Japanese prints and some of the forms he makes are Chinese in origin.
He moved to the area four years ago so now has the dilemma of deciding whether to work on renovating his house or getting on with pots.
“Creating something is never easy and one is often challenged, he said. “When those challenges become seemingly insurmountable I tend to go and do something totally different, a bit of work on the house, gardening or go for a walk somewhere.
“You have to be honest to yourself about what you are trying to do, not to be afraid of change and constantly be pushing the boundaries of what you think you are capable of.”
Having a studio on site is certainly a big advantage – a daily commute of 25 miles to teach has become one of just three metres to create – and being in an area that is flourishing with arts and crafts is also a huge advantage.
“Since moving to the area, I have discovered a wide range of artist craftspeople, both amateur and professional operating in the Machars and more have moved in since we arrived,” he said.
“When the first Whithorn Arts and Crafts trail was organised we expected about ten or so to take part, but in the end there were over 30.
“Selective events like Spring Fling highlight the outstanding quality of work that is based in the area. With other major events like the Wigtown Book Festival, it is clear the arts are thriving here.
“There are ideas about creating some form of centre in Stranraer similar to Gracefield or the Cat Strand. I believe something of that nature in the west of the county would be a useful addition if it is feasible and the funding can be found.”
Until that possibility becomes reality, Peter books himself to exhibit at specialist shows and events throughout the year and that dictates what he works on.
“There is nothing like a looming deadline to help one concentrate on work,” he notes.
“I intend to extend the range of places where my work is shown, possibly including other parts of Europe. I am constantly developing the imagery I create on my pots and I am always looking for new combinations of objects to use in my designs.”
Alongside that, he has a small showroom in an old shop that forms part of the house, which is open most weekends and by appointment at other times.
“I also occasionally show work in galleries in different parts of the country and more locally at the new showroom at St Ninian’s Hall in the Isle of Whithorn,” he said.
Prices range from £5 for small items such as brooches to over £300 for large pieces.