Cherry has been a potter for fifty years. Of Egyptian descent, she trained in Canterbury but developed her unique forms, decorations and colours 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 works with many different clays and techniques to make domestic and decorative ceramics in stoneware and earthenware.
She has been concentrating recently on the ancient Japanese technique of Raku. Red-hot pots are lifted from the kiln and either plunged, hissing and steaming into sawdust and water or are presented with horsehair, oxides, glazes and other combustibles which fuse carbonised marks into the body of the pot. The results are unpredictable and unrepeatable, making every pot unique. The finished pieces with their carefully incised patterns and pure shapes show the evidence of their stressful birth in the surface crackle, pits and accidents characteristic of this Zen-inspired process.
Between 2016 and 2018, for three consecutive years, Cherry organised the first ‘Canterbury Throwdown’, a free event as part of the Canterbury Festival. The Throwdown, which was opened and sponsored by Keith Brymer Jones from the BBC series, involved over 50 potters for two weeks providing a yearly opportunity for 750 local participants to hand-build or throw a pot on the wheel.
Cherry has taught in Canterbury prison, special schools, primary and secondary schools and a retirement home for elderly residents with dementia. In 2018 she worked with a special school on a project on ‘identity’ with an exhibition in the Turner Contemporary in Margate.