I am a ceramicist and produce both tableware and pieces for the garden. What I love about pottery is the variety that it offers the maker. This may be in the type and colour of the clay, the different making techniques and also the range of colours, stains, tools and glazes that can be used to decorate.

I have worked with stoneware and white earthenware, using both hand building techniques and throwing on the wheel. I am currently using terracotta clay and decorating with coloured slips. I see the pot as a canvas for my designs, and I love the contrast between the bare clay and the coloured slips and glossy glaze. I like the idea that a pot can be both beautiful to look at, but also functional.

My inspiration comes from the natural world, from plants and the landscape. I am particularly interested in seedpods, and the way a plant flowers, then goes to seed and then reproduces. I also note the patterns that can be seen within the seedpods, on the leaves and in the bark. This also combines with my love of textiles, particularly of the 50s and 60s, when patterns were bold and colours bright. I also admire the patterns that can be found in architecture, whether this be a beautiful ancient cathedral or an ultra-modern building. There are eye-catching patterns all around us.

My latest designs come from my observations in the garden – the seed heads of the allium flower and the leaves of the ginkgo tree. Both offer bold shapes and the potential for interesting patterns.

My web page is on the Surrey Artists website – www.surreyopenstudios.org.uk/find-a-surrey-artist/?artist=julie-barham