Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Paul Bohanna and I have been passionately involved with all things ceramic from an early age. The following is a summary of some of my background in ceramics.
I became involved with the archaeological scene in Bristol in the early 1980s when I was only 14 years old. I joined BAARG (formerly the Bristol and Avon Archaeological Research Group) based in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, and became Associate Secretary on the committee at age 15.
In the same year I discovered and conducted rescue excavations on several important sites in Bristol, including the kiln waste sites of the Bristol Pottery from various periods and many clay tobacco pipe waste sites. I excavated Anthony Amatt’s kiln at Crewes Hole, alongside the famous, but sadly late, John Smith (the then world expert on Mocha wares and a respected glass designer and artist - and also a friend), where we recovered beautiful blue on yellow mochaware wasters in large quantities - (see press-cutting).
About Paul Bohanna
Having taken part in excavations on sites ranging from Roman to late Victorian, I’ve encountered a vast range of early British ceramics first hand (handling broken pots is one of the best ways to learn about ceramics). With invaluable experience working in the Bristol City Museum.
Whilst still a teenager I gave public talks within the Bristol Museum as well as to several local history groups, about the Bristol Pottery (Pountney & Goldney etc.) as well as Richard Ring clay pipes. I illustrated and contributed site reports etc. for the paper: ‘The Ring Family of Bristol’, which was later republished in Post-Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 1984, p.263-300.
I learned to throw pots on a potter’s kick wheel whilst taking part in the Bickley Kiln Project (early 1980s) in which we built a C17th style updraught kiln using clay dug on site, and fired it with gathered wood. I went on to build many more pottery kilns, including my latest gas-fired down-draught kiln.
I did my degree at Cheltenham as a mature student and attained a first class Honours (BSc Hons 1.1) in Business Computer Systems combined with Visual Arts Ceramics, graduating in 2000. My studio ceramics have been exhibited and sold in art galleries (I will be launching a sister site for my studio ceramics soon).
Over the last 35 years or so, I’ve also been collecting and researching several branches of ceramic history with a view to publishing the results of my research in due course. Along the way I amassed a huge library of ceramics books (over 750 titles) as well as a considerable collection of ceramics. It was therefore only natural that eventually my collecting and research tipped over into becoming a dealer in antiques and specialist ceramics books.
As a dealer in antique ceramics I have sold pots to authors, researchers, museums, collectors and other dealers around the world. Many items have subsequently been published or exhibited.
For me ceramics is a learning journey, I am always looking to expand my knowledge and correct my misconceptions. It is impossible to know every branch of the ceramics tree, but I do like to have a peek down as many branches as possible. One of the best things about ceramics though is the people you meet along the way, and I’m always keen to make the acquaintance of more crazy pot people. So I do hope you find the site interesting and invite you to get in touch if you would like to discuss something of interest or even just to say hello.
Loving cup. Earthenware with lead-glaze and metal oxide decoration. One of my degree pots. 2000 Paul Bohanna.