Elspeth, who was born in Oxford to an English father and a Canadian mother moved to Shropshire during the early 80's and set up Willey Furnace Pottery in 1985. From her "very basic but homely" pottery in the woods on the Willey estate near Broseley, Elspeth Soper creates distinctive and very individual pieces of practical pottery.
Art foundation Bristol Art College. 1977 BA Degree Ceramics, West Surrey College of Art & Design.
Although one of her tutors, Sebastian Blackie is an authority on Bernard Leach, Elspeth was most inspired by country and peasant pottery particularly from Eastern and North America.
"I was in my teens and early & 20's in the late 60's and 70's, and initial inspiration came from Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew and the English Craft Movement. This soon broadened to include English country pottery, European peasant pottery and Early American pottery. Threaded through this is my lifelong interest in the culture and artefacts of North American Indians".
Her pots are hand thrown slipware. The decoration, often sheep, hens or guinea fowl are painted on in white slip and details are often decorated with underglaze or scraffitto. Once all the decoration is complete the pot is dipped in a honey glaze.