Art in Penallt is delighted to have Walter Keeler, the renowned studio potter, as our Patron. He has lived and worked in the village for over forty years and has exhibited all over the world as well as at each of the Art in Penallt shows.
Born in London in 1942, he attended Harrow School of Art, London where he was trained by Michael Casson. He established his first pottery at Bledlow Bridge, Buckinghamshire in 1965 then moved to Penallt in 1976 where he lives with his potter wife, Madoline. He was professor of Ceramics at the University of the West of England and in 2007 was named Welsh Artist of the Year. His work is held in a number of public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, National Museum Wales, American Craft Museum, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art , Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA and the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
The pottery tradition is at the heart of all my work. Pottery for use has been central to all settled human communities. Seldom merely functional, it has been a vehicle for expression and the fulfilment of a delight in the pleasure of handling a sensual and incredibly versatile material; the useful bound up with the intellect and the imagination.
I discovered pottery as a boy, becoming intimate with fragments of ancient pots picked up on the beaches of the Thames in London. They infiltrated my mind and my senses, giving me an insight to the syntax of thrown pottery; a sense of what is authentic, which I only fully understood as I gained experience in the craft.
So my work is informed by my passion for pots from the past, but also by making and firing, and the world and times in which I live. Sometimes I make simple useful things like mugs or jugs, on other occasions my work is less straightforward, making demands, even challenging the user to negotiate with an unexpected pot to do an ordinary job. I hope my pottery brings with its seriousness, some humour and sensual pleasure.
We are so pleased that Richard Wills has agreed to become our patron. He has been a generous and loyal supporter of Art in Penallt, exhibiting, demonstrating and teaching masterclasses and giving great encouragement to all.
Richard Wills was born in Monmouth and studied at Newport College of Art under Tom Rathmell. He specialises in portraiture but is a skilled water colourist with over 50 years of experience working in a variety of mediums and in a myriad of styles to include landscape, abstract pieces and sculpture.
He works from his self-designed home and studio in Monmouth and has exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal West of England Academy, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Water Colour Society, Royal Water Colour Society of Wales and the Welsh Young Contemporaries.
‘A sensitivity to the subject and to the character within it is the pervading quality of all of Richard Wills’s work. A mastery of the mediums he uses is his fundamental competence. The wit and the capacity to explore and share his talent is the appeal of the artist as a person’