Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wassail Bowls

As a child, along with every other school pupil in south Wales, I visited The National Folk Museum at St.Fagans. I visited this folk museum countless times and so it is not surprising that some of the exhibits lodged in my mind. Most powerful amongst these were the wassail bowls. These would have been made at Ewenny pottery.
These were bowls that held cider or other drink and were carried around at twelfth night.
They usually have 16 handles and can be passed around. But it is the lids that fascinated me. they are encrusted with modeled figures and numerous birds. Some have figures with farm animals, but the one above even has the husband and wife sat at the kitchen table. Quite a feat to apply the slip I would have thought!


On returning to Wales one of the first things I wanted to do was to revisit these pots. However, having rushed to St.Fagans before the removal men even delivered all our worldly belongings I found that they were not currently on display. Not to worry a few phone calls later and the museum staff got two out of store for me.
I was very delighted to get up close and personal with them without even the usual glass case between creating unwanted reflections.
I was allowed to take photos but unfortunately my PC recently died taking with it my photos! Then recently I found these photos on my phone.
The pots are quite large and very sculptural.
Here are some tiny pots I've made influenced by seeing the wassail bowls.

This is a wassail bowl I made quite recently. I haven't managed to decorate it nearly as much as the Ewenny ones as I am still quite nervous when it comes to dipping them in the slip. They have been great fun to make and I hope to make time to create some more.



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