Joanna Constantinidis (1927-2000) was born in York and studied fine art and ceramics in Sheffield before eventually settling in Essex, where she combined a part-time teaching career with work in her studio. Always a singularly independent potter, Constantinidiis soon moved away from her essentially ‘Leachian' work of the 1950s to gradually pared-down forms with simpler glazing that responded to the wider language of Modernism. In the 1970s and 80s she worked on increasingly unusual thrown and altered forms that were both austere and sensuous, Constantinidis concentrating on the surface of the clay enhanced by lustres. She quietly deviated from the traditional language of the cylinder with her precision throwing and turning and post-wheel modifications, and developed a new type of highly elegant and generous porcelain tableware with clear glazes. Constantiinidis helped to give a new voice to thrown work, treating it very sculpturally, and with potters like Colin Pearson and Walter Keeler she showed what a liberating tool the wheel could be.

David Whiting