Tessa Oates studied ceramics at Luton College of Art. After moving back to Chipstead, Kent she set up her pottery for the production of studio ceramics where, inspired by the local wild life, she introduced her charming trade mark range of Raku fired Bird Pots.
Birds are hand built in specialist thermal shock resistant clay. Selected areas, defining the particular character of the bird, are painted with a resist slip of flint and china clay then a thin coat of glaze, they are fired in a Raku kiln, taken from the kiln when red hot and buried in sawdust. Smoke blackens unglazed areas and seeps through crackle in the glaze. On cooling the resist slip and glaze fall away revealing the crackle patterns on the clay surface so that there is no glaze remaining. Post firing treatments include, wax polishing and staining with shellac based colours.