Joanne Cooke

Joanne studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design at Thurrock College in 1988 - 1991. She went on to take her Degree in 3D Design (wood, metal, ceramics, glass) at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 1995.


"My ceramic work initially took the form of small scale boxes, a theme which began during the final year of my degree course. A few years after graduation, inspired by a sketch I had drawn of our "family dog", I decided to try making on a large scale. The experience marked a major turning point in my work. A dog obsession had begun."


Working in stoneware clay, making each dog individually using a combination of slab and coil building techniques, when Joanne produces a piece, her aim is not to replicate a dog in clay but to create her impression of it. "I like to exaggerate certain characteristics that stand out, particularly facial expressions. Working from life and photos, I try to capture the essence of many different breeds, from Chihuahuas to Deerhounds."


She has exhibited her dog sculptures all over the UK including at The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, Potters in the Cathedral at Ely Cathedral, 'The Alternative Cruffs' at Artifex, Sutton Coldfield, Potfest at Penrith, 'Twinkle' at Midas, Lincoln and Art in Clay, Farnham, Surrey. 


At around the same time that Joanne began sculpting dogs she became involved with the Leeds-based Arts Charity - Pyramid Of Arts. They bring together artists with and without learning disabilities to work on challenging arts projects. The group, working with Joanne and fellow Leeds-based ceramicist Cath Murphy, produced a series of 5 ceramic towers ranging in height from 4 feet to almost 9 feet tall which are now on permanent display in the grounds of Thwaite Mills in Stourton, Leeds.



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