Life is so busy at the moment that it appears to be going very fast. I had to think about what I've been doing over the last month as I seem to be going from one thing to another without truly relishing each activity.
We've had another trip to Wales. The landscape there is very lush and green. I suspect that it's owing to the high rain fall. We were fortunate to have some dry weather to get out and do some walking whilst we were there.
We are having plenty of family time as we try to make the most of the time we are all together as family. Next year my daughter and son-in-law will be returning to China.
The niche above was on a bank in Llandeilo. It's obviously a bee hive with some industrious bees!
We also took another trip to the British Museum. I am always draw back to these tiles and have to go and visit them every time we go there.
Back in the studio I am still working away. I generally am to be found in the studio Monday to Friday 10am to 6 pm making my usual wares but recently I have found a diversion making some wassail bowls. As there are no festivals looming in the near future I decided I could afford the time for some fun. Hence the row of handles. The original bowls often had 16 handles but I'm afraid I settled for 12. The bowls would have been filled with cider and handed around when folks went wassailing on 12th night . Check out my pinterest if you want to see some museum pieces. The top one has a sailor and mermaid whilst the bottom one has little red riding hood.
To finish here are some casseroles that I currently have in stock that I promised I would post.
We have had a hectic week-end away. Going to Aberystwyth via North Devon. We had a walk through the Vallery of the Rocks and on down down to Lynmouth. After getting very wet walking the coast path to see seals we had much pleasanter weather when we walked in the RHS Rosemoor Gardens.
At Aberystwyth I walked along the sea front dashing to the shops when the rain became too heavy.
Of course I've been wanting to go to Devon for some time. Mainly to visit my brother and his wife but also (not surprisingly) to see the pots! One of our first stops was the Burton Art Gallery Museum. If you click on the link you can view all of the slipware pots from the Reg Lloyd collection. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.
One of my other ambitions has been to visit Harry Juniper's shop. Unfortunately I didn't see him but I did enjoy looking at his work. After seeing all the pots in the museum it was wonderful to see the tradition of North Devon commemorative ware still carried on. John Edgeler has just published a book about Harry Juniper to celebrate Harry's 80th birthday.
At Aberystwyth's Arts Centre there were yet more pots to get excited about. Although the collection is quite small I found the selection of works by Michael Cardew wonderful. They looked so lively and fresh they could have just come out of the kiln.
These two jugs by Peter Smith are so animated. It was interesting to see such gestural work after looking at the precise detailed work of Harry Juniper. These jugs seemed to have real personality. The wassail bowl below is from Ewenny pottery in South Wales. Probably one of Wale's oldest potteries and still producing work today.
There was also an exhibition of work by Michael Flynn. His work is so lively you almost expect the figures to move before your eyes. The way he has captured wild, unrestrained movement is magic. Today I've been back in my studio working with my mind buzzing with ideas.
Do you remember these? The lyrics are from Blur 'Park Life'. (Only John got it right ). I had meant to take them for an outing to Ceramics in the City but I was too late getting them out of the kiln and didn't fancy carrying them on the train.
It has been a very busy few weeks and I am only now looking back over my photos. Whilst I was in London for Ceramics in the City I called into the V and A. The image above is a little owl on the base of a Renaissance cross. I like these small images and this one in particular is a great little fellow. In the shop there were these other owls. Also very wonderful. These are reproductions of early slipware owls from the ceramics gallery. I don't know who they are by but the large platter is also by the same potter. If anybody knows let me know so I can fill in the gaps.
The above image is a large trunk also from the renaissance gallery. Sometimes looking at images on other objects sparks off an idea. I find the lack of scale quite appealing, sheep and magpies all the same size, just so decorative. I was also attracted to the decorative arrangement of the oak leaves on the large bottle below. A few objects like these sets my mind buzzing. I might not use the ideas straight away but they tend to lodge somewhere in the back of my mind until I need them.
Here is Hannah at her stall at the Geoffrye Museum. I've included a picture of Prue Cooper's wonderful plates and one of my stall. The three of us are all working with slipware but our work is very different. Prue's plates have a great sense of whimsy with their combination of words and images.
This last image is of some plates on my mother's wall. These plates were on my grandmother's wall all the time I was growing up. My grandfather won them at a fun fair. This suggests that they would have been really inexpensive. But there is something about them that has just lodged in the back of my mind all these years. Influences and ideas come from all sorts of places even when we aren't looking for them.
Can you remember weeks ago we had warm, no, hot weather? It's easy to forget now the rain and storms have washed the sunshine away. Anyway,one hot day when the kiln was on and the studio was baking the pots were drying too fast, I was just about to recycle this pot when I thought I'd quickly experiment with a different design. Here is the result. Not quite sure whether I can develop this idea or not.
Anyway,the pace of life has changed this week as I take a break from the studio to go to pottery festivals. The week-end was spent at Wardlow Mires. Here's my stand. The week-end was very enjoyable and went all too quickly. I think the combination of pots and food works really well. The countryside around the festival is wonderful with rolling hills stretching in every direction only broken by sudden outcrops of rocks. I only wish we could have stayed longer to explore the area more and enjoy Pat and Geof's hospitality at The Three Stags' Head.
Back at home I am preparing for the next event which is Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye Museum in London. The bowls below will be coming with me. I set up on Wednesday and the event runs from Thursday evening through to Sunday evening.