My multicultural background has been a leading influence in my pots. Patterns and decorations stem from my life in Kenya and Malaysia, shapes from Thailand and Libya and glazes from China and Japan. I decorate my pots with inlaid scraffito with multiple applications of glaze, pigment and lustres to create ceramics with a varied, rich surface.
Cherry has been a potter for over forty years. Of Egyptian decent, she trained in Canterbury but developed the unique forms, decorations and colours of her ceramics through life and work among the inspiring potters of East Africa and Malaysia during the 1970s and 80s. Now with studios in central France and Canterbury Cherry concentrates on decorative pottery using the ancient Japanese techniques of Raku, where white-hot pots are lifted from the kiln and either plunged, hissing and steaming into sawdust and water or are presented with horsehair, leaves and feathers which fuse into the body of the pot. The results from this rapid cooling and immersion in carbonising materials are unpredictable and unrepeatable. The finished pieces with their carefully incised patterns and pure shapes often carry the evidence of their stressful birth in the surface crackle, pits and accidents characteristic of this Zen-inspired process.
Between 2016 and 2018 she organised the first ‘Canterbury Throwdown’, a free event as part of the Canterbury International Festival. The Throwdown was opened and sponsored opened by Keith Brymer Jones from the BBC series, involved over 50 potters for two weeks providing an opportunity for 750 local participants to handbuild or throw a pot on the wheel.
She has taught in Canterbury prison, special schools, primary and secondary schools and a retirement home for elderly residents with dementia. In 2018 she presented a special schools project on ‘identity’ in the Turner Museum in Margate.