Chris Harford is a full-time ceramic artist, known for his refined tableware and teapots, and has been a professional potter for nearly 35 years. High-fired stoneware and porcelain functional work has always been a major focus of his practice. Currently he designs and makes contemporary tableware for a number of prestigious Canberra restaurants, dinner sets for private clients, commissions and pieces for exhibition.
Harford’s expertise has been largely self-taught, supplemented by traineeships, attending masterclasses, undertaking courses and creating and embracing a wide range of opportunities. In his early career he undertook three months of formal training under the tutelage of master potter Paul Fisher in New Zealand, after which he was offered a part-time teaching position in ceramics at the Aoraki Polytechnic in Timaru. Harford moved back to his home town of Adelaide upon being successful in his application for a nine-month studio traineeship at the Jam Factory followed by eighteen months as a tenant. During this time Harford studied Clay and Glaze Chemistry and Kiln Design at the Underdale College of Advanced Education.
Four years overseas followed, incorporating three months studio work in England and re-establishing a pottery with his wife in Ireland, training locals and using native dug clay. On returning to Australia in 1996, Harford established Spinning Gum Pottery in Canberra and took a part-time position at the Canberra Potters Society as Workshop Manager, a position he held until 2017. In this role and as a studio holder, Harford assisted countless students, amateurs and professionals in technical and other particularities of the ceramic process. He is sought after for his kiln and wheel maintenance knowledge. Harford has mentored and taught many up and coming local tableware makers. He now works from a studio at his home and continues to teach and run workshops both in Canberra and interstate.
Harford uses a range of techniques to explore his design ideas with the majority of the work being hand thrown on the wheel. The ware is high-fired to 1300C in either gas or electric kilns. Traditional glazes such as Tenmoku, Chun and Celadon are often a feature of his work, however he continues to add to his palette through continual exploration.