ARTISTIC life has come full circle for potter Jenny Morten.

Her latest exhibition in conjunction with her late husband Geoff brings their work back to the city where they first met at York Art School in the late-1960s.

From tonight’s 6pm preview, the New School House Gallery, off Peasholme Green, presents Parallel Journeys, a show that combines a selection of Geoff's paintings and drawings from the couple's six years in the Californian sun at Monterey Bay with new vessels by Jenny in white porcelain.

The seeds of this show were sown when Jenny exhibited two pieces at the York gallery in the Northern Potters show in November 2013. "I thought, 'what a great gallery this would be to show Geoff's work', especially as we'd studied at York Art School," she says.

Jenny had returned to England after Geoff died suddenly, aged 62, from lung cancer in 2009, and she brought with her a 40ft container of "everything we owned" after she sold their Californian home. "All our work had to be packed up and brought back, and initially I moved to Cornwall, where my son lived, as I reckoned that if anywhere in England is like California it's Cornwall but no-one told me how Cornwall is in the winter!" she says.

Jenny "stuck a pin in a map" and ended up settling in Bridlington on Yorkshire's East Coast. "It may be more brown and grey than the turquoise blues of Monterey Bay, but I had good memories of most of my childhood summers being spent on holiday at Filey, and Bridlington is as good a place as any to live as I spend 99 per cent of my time in the studio."

Here she set about cataloguing Geoff's archive of more than 1,000 works, while simultaneously developing her own ceramic practice, continuing an artistic relationship that had taken them to London together, Geoff to study at the Royal College of Art, Jenny at the Central School (now Central St Martins).

After graduating in 1970, they married and worked together as J&G Morten Ceramic Designs in Richmond, North Yorkshire and later pursued separate teaching careers, Geoff at Sunderland University as principal lecturer in Fine Art and Jenny teaching ceramics at Darlington College.

In 2003 the opportunity arose to move to La Selva Beach, California, where they could focus at last on being full-time artists, working in adjoining studios because Geoff's oil paints and turps and Jenny's fine porcelain dust had to be kept apart.

He divided his time between painting, printmaking and etching; she produced large hand-built sculptural vessels and small thrown porcelain ware.

Living on the Monterey Bay coast had a liberating influence on each artist. "You would wake each day and Geoff would say 'another boring Californian morning' with a smile because the sky was so intensely blue, day after day, this relentless blue sky," Jenny recalls.

Without warning, however, paradise was lost. Geoff's swift death came as a "complete surprise". "He was very fit, as he was a surfer and cyclist, but his lung cancer came from smoking. He would roll a cigarette as part of his thinking process when working, as he did drawings every day, which were the visual diary of his daily life," says Jenny. "You couldn't separate Geoff from cigarettes; that was part of his life."

Boxes of those daily drawings will be among Geoff's work on show in York, along with paintings on canvas and board, monoprints, oil on paper, pastels, charcoal and etchings.

The Parallel Journeys title of this joint exhibition reflects the journey, both emotional and physical, that each artist has taken since standing side by side as students drawing York Minster. Parallel journeys they may have taken, but they are united by a love of colour.

"In California, we were looking at the same things, the same landscapes, and then Geoff would have his own inner journey that would drive his work; I would look more at the 3D world around us," Jenny says.

She now works solely in white porcelain that "acts like a canvas to receive the vibrant coloured slips that are burnished, polished or glazed".

The interiors are so colourful they appear to be lit. "I love the contrast between the soft sheen of the outside and the high glaze of the inside," she says.

"And I also love the balance of the vessels, where I tend to make small bases, which people find scary when they look at them, but it gives a lift to each piece. They have a generous billowing form, and I think of them as being like a fat lady in stilettos, but carrying themselves as lightly as a dancer."

Once Jenny has "made clay stand up", she is interested in seeing how far she can tilt it. "I imagine it as balancing on one leg, seeing how far it can lean before falling over. I like to live dangerously, even if it's only in making pots," she says.

"If you don't take risks, you won't do something new, and I don't ever want to think I'll reach the end of the journey, saying the sentence 'I was a potter'. I'll continue until I drop off the wheel."

Parallel Journeys, Paintings, Prints and Ceramics by Geoff and Jenny Morten, New School House Gallery, Peasholme Green, York, today until April 19.

All work is for sale.