George Thom - Ballagan Ceramics

After completing a professional career in local government I took up ceramics as a hobby, going to Glasgow Art School for evening classes. I really enjoyed the immediacy of the art form, particularly throwing. The idea that you can create a useful good looking piece from your own skills still gives me a kick.
I have since developed my skills with the support and help of a great bunch of people in Glasgow Ceramics Studio where I have a workspace.
Ceramics is a wonderfully tactile art form which has been around for thousands of years dating back to 3000 BC in China, where they were making and glazing pots to a very high standard. Some of their glazes are still used today. The brown colour in my pots is derived from the Chinese classic temoku glaze.
Glazing is an amazingly complex process and almost every potter will testify to the complexity and variability of the process, but it makes each firing a very unpredictable process, so you never know what you are really going to get!

I have also begun to hand build pieces and glazed them in a process known as “Raku” an open firing process where the finish of the glaze is affected by the rapid cooling process. This cooling induces a fine crakle on the glaze in a totally unpredictable manner. Making each piece unique.

All the pieces are thrown or hand made in my Strathblane studio or at the Glasgow Ceramics studio in Denniston, Glasgow..

Hand thrown - West Coast Colours

These pots with their bright landscape colours remind me of the landscapes of the west coast of Scotland where the sun, islands and sea meet together.

The pots are stoneware fired to 1260°C. There are five glazes used which fuse at the edges creating a different effect on each pot. There is a base glaze upon which the others are applied: they are iron oxide (brown), rutile (orange), cobalt oxide (blue) and copper oxide (green).

All West Coast pots are food and dishwasher safe.


The blue and white pieces on display are all hand built and glazed then fired in an open gas kiln to a temperature of 1000°C.

This process is carried out in the open air and the pieces are lifted out with tongs while still white hot then plunged into a large bin full of sawdust. The pieces ignite the sawdust, creating black carbon which immediately sticks to the piece. Each piece will vary as the time of transfer from the kiln to the sawdust bin is slightly different, enabling each piece to cool at a different rate. As the pieces are cooling very quickly the glaze cracks and the carbon is absorbed into the cracks giving each piece a unique effect. The beauty of each piece is in its natural rough effect and its individual variety.

These raku pots are ornamental and not to be used for food.


Phone: 07711537397