Meet Artist Ian Henderson, a Lecturer turned Ceramicist

Updated: May 24

Why did you choose to be an artist/designer?

I have always wanted to be involved in making things from an early age. I don’t think I ever really seriously considered doing anything else in my life or career. I always knew that I would be involved in the arts; it felt like “home” from an early age.

What medium do you work in?

Ceramics, printmaking, video and sculpture. What's your background, have you always been an artist/designer?

After a foundation level, two-year course in Art & Design at a local Technical College I attended Edinburgh College of Art and studied Ceramics to Postgraduate level. Upon graduation I worked as an Arts Worker & Development Worker for Edinburgh based community arts projects for many years. I subsequently became a Lecturer in Art & Design at both Edinburgh’s Telford College and West Lothian College in Livingston – a post I held for about 15 years. During my tenure as a Lecturer I went back to ECA and studied for a Master’s Degree in Sculpture. After a very early retirement from my teaching post I started to make ceramics on a full-time basis alongside teaching at community access ceramics studios in both Edinburgh and Dundee. Throughout all of this time I have made art – sometimes in different media when resources have not easily allowed ceramics production. How has your practice changed over time? I make many more practical pots these days alongside the work that is shown in commercial galleries.

How and when did you started creating? I have been making things in clay since 1982. I first started at Technical College and then greatly expanded my ideas through an Art College education.

How would you describe your creations?

Mostly I make mugs and jugs and bowls and items for use in the kitchen, dining room and for decoration. The pots I make are completed by being used in people’s daily lives.

What inspires you?

Hundreds of things inspire me. There are so many things to look at that are directly influential on my work – ancient and modern pots, lots of paintings, sculpture, the natural world and richly patterned textiles, Where do you show / sell your art?

I sell my work currently in various commercial galleries such as the Torrance Gallery in Edinburgh, in various Craft Fairs around the country and also at SDX in both Glasgow and Edinburgh

Do you think art can have an impact in the local community?

Art – the appreciation and the creation of it – always have an individual impact and that sensation can be shared and communicated very widely. There is no doubt that participation in art – either as a viewer or as a maker is profoundly important. Who are your biggest influences?

I like lots of old painters’ work – the Old Masters alongside contemporary ceramicists and potters such as Peter Voulkos, Phil Rogers, Dave Cohen.

Which current art do you think is having an impact in the world right now?

I don’t know about that – my sphere of interest is far more local and self absorbed!!

What difference has working with SDX made to your business?

Working with SDX has had a considerable impact on my business – sales are up, I am more productive because the shop structure of SDX means I do not have to be present to sell work and commissions and other opportunities are more frequent as a result of the day to day visibility of my work.

Thank you to Ian Henderson for participating in our blog.

You can find some of his work in our online shop, click here