David and Margaret Frith set up their first workshop in Denbigh 1963. They moved to The Malt House in 1976, an 18th. century woollen mill which was later used as a brewery hence its name. The mill is situated on the banks of the river Ystrad, on the outskirts of the market town of Denbigh, in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd in North Wales. Although the mill never had a water wheel it is built on the banks of the river affording a riverside workshop and showroom. It has a bridge joining the main workshops to the slip house, clay storage and kiln sheds in the garden on the opposite bank. There are several woodkilns and large and small gas kilns for the firings.
Their reputations are well established. David with his mastery of the potter's wheel makes large pieces decorated with his personal style of hakeme, rope impress and waxed motifs under heavy reduction overglazes and combined with ashed surfaces. Margaret works in porcelain making personal pieces sometimes faceted, fluted or altered with decorative techniques of reduction glazes, carving and brushwork. .
Both are Fellows of the Craft Potters Association and David is a selected member of the Crafts Council. They have work in many private and public collections and exhibit widely in the UK and abroad. They have lectured overseas and given workshops in Europe, Africa, India, America, Japan, Israel and New Zealand. For over thirty years they have also held workshops where students can enjoy intensive tuition in delightful surroundings.
The art of reduction fired stoneware and porcelain came from the Orient and reached its height in the Sung to Ming Dynasties in China. Bernard Leach, born 1887, the father of the British Studio movement united the aesthetics of East and West and along with his student, Michael Cardew, his son David and others, started a tradition of high fired ceramics in this country.
Although emphasis and ideology change, the tradition remains strong and its development is apparent in the Frith’s workshop where the search for the finest quality high-fired glazes involves refining and grinding the minerals and ball-milling the glazes for several hours. Emanating from this research ideas are born, giving their work its own identity and character and where intuitiveness and expressiveness plays an important role to find a depth of feeling that goes beyond mere technique.