Otalia, elder daughter of William and Ophelia Heaton Cooper, has lived mostly in Cumbria where she worked as a teacher and where she and her husband Peter brought up their family. She retired from teaching in 1995, and, always having had a practical interest in textiles and pottery, took up ceramics full time a year later.
Having worked initially with earthenware clay and slips, she now works mainly stoneware clay, often using slips in conjunction with wood ash glazes. Most of her work is thrown on the wheel, then decorated with coils, slips, underglazes or oxides - before finishing with either burnishing, glazes and frequently with lustres added at the final stage.
Otalia is influenced by the form and colours of the Cumbrian landscape, in particular the changing effects of sun and shadows on fells and water. A strong theme for 2002 after visits to Norway, Australia and New Zealand was the effect of passage of water - whether as ice, as oases in the bare desert, or as flowing lines and drops.
Otalia works from her studio at home, selling mainly through the family gallery at Grasmere and other local galleries. She also has stands at local craft fairs.
She has exhibited regularly at Potfest Penrith since 1997; at the Cumbria Craft Guild exhibition (of which she is a member) since 1999; and at the annual Milnthorpe Art Exhibition, Cumbria.
Other exhibitions have included the Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness; the Platform gallery, Clitheroe; and Lowes Court Galley, Egremont, Cumbria. In summer 2002 she exhibited, with four other members of the Heaton Cooper family, at the 'Cooperhus', Balestrand, Norway as part of the launch of the Norsk Reisellivsmuseum.
|Otalia can be contacted at
Levens, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 8NX