Paul Dennis became interested in ceramics during visits to potteries in Cornwall on wet summer's days as a child.
Later on Seth and Ara Cardew took him on at their Wenford Bridge Pottery in Cornwall where he lived and worked for a year making wood-fired stoneware.
After Wenford Paul went to work at Muchelney Pottery in Somerset with John Leach and Nick Rees, where he stayed for almost three years, again making wood-fired stoneware.
In 2000 Paul settled in Somerset and built his own kiln where he has been firing ever since.
Paul Dennis concentrates mainly on the “bottle” varying both form and surface decoration. His throwing body is a blend of two west country ball clays (Hyplas 71 and Hymod AT) to which sand, china clay and feldspar are added roughly 6% each w/w. The ingredients all being blunged to a slip before drying back to plastic clay. At leather hard stage Paul often applies dark and light slips, the dark slip is a local red earthenware clay and the light slip a mix of Hyplas71 and molochite 200's.
The pots are then glazed using natural materials such as stone dusts and wood ashes. These 'unrefined' ingredients, and the decorative effects of wood firing, giving his pots their rich earthy surfaces. Paul uses a two chamber climbing kiln which is fired about 8 times a year holding roughly 1000 pots each time. It uses about 1.5 cords of wood to fire the kiln over 20 hours of stoking to reach 1320°c ( heavy reduction from 1000° upwards).
Hot air rising up the chimney draws the fire in the fire box, at the other end of the kiln, through the setting of pots in the middle. If you keepstoking wood in for long enough, temperatures can be reached that will turn mud to rock and melt glass on to the outside of the rocks.