Derek Matthews

A successful UK based freelance illustrator for more than forty years with clients from Tokyo to Toronto, Derek now directs his entire creative attention to hand built ceramics. Inspired by an interest in folk art, religious and tribal art along with a good dash of whimsy his ceramics often have a narrative element that’s imagined, half remembered, carefully researched or commissioned.

Other influences, including the physical nature of the clay and his background in illustration all add to the creative mix and his earlier long term involvement with pop-up books has helped refine his approach to ceramics.  “Every piece starts life as a sheet of clay which I roll by hand. Then I cut, fold and construct. I rarely sculpt”

He uses a variety of clays into which other fragments of additional material are added. These ”inclusions” plus the use of oxides and multiple firings add to the alchemy and often give the clay a distressed or patinated surface.  “I tend to work on one piece at a time so my output is slow and low ”

His works have found an appreciative audience in the UK and America and are now in many private collections.

“I like the idea of my work having an underlying logic or an implied symbolism. Artefacts or relics retrieved from a place that may…. or may not have existed”

Derek Matthews



Derek Matthews

Each to Each


Derek Matthews

Elephant on a Drum


Derek Matthews

Peckham Rye: Blake's Vision


Derek Matthews

The Naming of Things