Learning Index >> Pioneers and their practice: a reference guide

Ceramics >> Denise Wren (1891-1979)
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Born Denise Tuckfield in Albany, Western Australia, Wren settled in Surrey, England with her family in 1900. She studied at Kingston School of Art (1907-12) under Archibald Knox, the designer, and co-founded the Knox Guild of Design and Craft on dismissing herself from the art school after Knox's sudden resignation. She exhibited with the Knox Guild from 1914 and in 1915 married Henry Wren, with whom she later organised the annual Artist-Craftsman Exhibition at the Central Halls, Westminster (1923-38).

In c.1920 Denise Wren attended pottery classes at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and then set up the Oxshott Pottery at Potters Croft, Oxshott, Surrey, a house she built with her husband. Here she made hand-built and thrown glazed earthenware pots for flowers, designed and built kilns, kept animals and wrote pottery manuals; she ran summer schools from c.1922 to 1950, taught at Teddington School of Art (1924-6) and at other schools and training colleges.

Her daughter Rosemary Wren joined the pottery full time in 1950. Both women made saltglazed stoneware in the 1950s and '60s and from c.1965 to 1975 Denise Wren modelled craggy clay elephants, which were either saltglazed or fired in sawdust. The Oxshott Pottery moved to Hittisleigh, Exeter, Devon in 1978 and Denise Wren died the following year.

 

 

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