I first became aware of Julian King Salter and his hand-built ceramics at a solo exhibition of his work at the Harlequin Gallery in the late 1990s before taking over the gallery myself in 1999. Julian was born in 1954 and began potting full time back in 1983 in Pembrokeshire, Wales. He was self taught and began by making, as he continued to do, individual hand-built stoneware pots using flattened coils and then pinching. The glazes used were also his own recipes that he arrived at by experimentation and these were applied by pouring and brushing and were often layered.
At the time Julian stated that, “the method of both making and glazing is essentially spontaneous within an evolving vocabulary, which derives primarily from a direct experience of working with clay, rather than any specific external source.”
Despite being self-taught, Julian King Salter began to take part in group and solo exhibitions regularly from 1986 and had solo exhibitions at many of the most prestigious galleries of the time such as Peter Dingley in Stratford; Beaux Arts, Bath; the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh and the New Ashgate in Farnham, as well as at the Harlequin.
When I took over the Harlequin Gallery in 1999 I was discussing with Trevor Coldrey, the former owner and subsequently my landlord, about possible artists to exhibit and I am not sure now whether I contacted Julian or he contacted the gallery to say that under the pressure of life circumstances he was stopping potting, which he did in December 1999. From then until recently there hadn’t been any contact between us and so I was not aware that he had moved to Australia in May 2000.
It was probably two years ago that I purchased a few small vessels by Julian, which my customers bought, despite them not being the type of pots the Harlequin has become known for and when I had the opportunity to buy some larger examples recently I did. It was at this point that I began wondering what had happened to Julian and after a little research on the internet managed to track him down in Australia. I was delighted that Julian was please to be contacted and even more pleased when he said that, ” This year I’ve started making pots again, and recently had a first bisque firing of a second hand Paragon 3 phase electric kiln. I have 6.2 Kw solar system on my roof which helps defray the cost and environmental liability of firing!”In the intervening 18 years, Julian has been a co-parent and worked within the Australian school system first as a volunteer and then after gaining the right to work, as a Community Liaison Officer. After this Julian devoted the next 8 years of his life to working for a Tibetan Buddhist group, the International Dzogchen Community, initially in Australia, and then also internationally, based in Tenerife. So during the second half of this period, he divided his time between Tenerife, and the Glasshouse Mountains in SE Queensland, Australia, where he still lives. Then in 2017 he was approached to teach hand-building classes for adults, in nearby Kawana, Sunshine Coast, in return for workshop space and firing his own work. The aim was to get the kiln working, start doing some classes, and set the business owner up to continue the pottery side of her Creative Arts facility, independently, in due course. This enthused Julian to get a larger kiln, capable of stoneware firings, and set up his own workshop on his rural property.
Therefore I am delighted to announce that besides the work that I will have available at the Harlequin Gallery that dates back 20 to 30 years, Julian King Salter will be producing new work for us to enjoy, albeit on the other side of the world from here in Great Britain.