I was born in 1965 in Harare, Zimbabwe, brought up there, in the Seychelles and at school in England. I first began throwing aged 16 and after graduation from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1989 with a degree in Art History, I returned to Zimbabwe to lecture in Art History. Subsequently I joined the Benedictine Order where I was known as Brother Alexander. Whilst a monk of Buckfast Abbey, Devon, I was trained as a potter by Mary Boys-Adams (nee Gibson Horrocks), a pupil of Bernard Leach, in the monastery pottery. Following a move to Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, I was mentored by Molly Attrill with Arts Council backing. I had my first solo exhibition at Quarr Abbey, and we then exhibited jointly at Quay Arts Centre, Newport, in 2007. Having left monastic life in 2008, I now practice as a full-time potter at Dartmouth Park Pottery in North London. I have exhibited at the Arts Club Mayfair and twice at Cranley Gallery (2012 and 2015).
I am excited by the possibilities of pattern and decorative surface in dialogue with the form of the vessel. My African childhood and background in Art History inform my love of invention as part of the process of exploring this relationship. It is never a conscious decision where or how the pattern evolves. Rather, I leave this to the inspiration of the moment and the shape of the pot. Others have detected references to Islamic, North African, Sub-Saharan and Aboriginal art - wherever pattern is the driving force.
Sgraffito and carving through slips and into the body of the vessel are my chosen modes of decoration. I am also developing and refining the interplay between the sgraffito patterned slip areas and the background glazes, with greater use of coloured and transparent glazes.