Well, it not only rained at Rufford, but more worryingly it was also an exceedingly windy weekend with gusts predicted to be up to 70mph. This made life rather stressful for potters showing their treasures on market stall type stands, which wobbled and rattled alarmingly.
The inclement weather and dreadful forecast undoubtedly meant that visitor numbers were down, but those who came were rewarded by a fantastic show of great and varied work. There was a superb exhibition of Sue and Ashraf Hanna’s work in the Rufford Craft Gallery. Here was an oasis of calm, out of the whistling wind, clear, clean and uncluttered. Certainly worth seeing and it is on until July 15th.
I was next to one of my favourite potters Anna Lambert, whose delightful pieces were a joy to spend three days next to.
On the other side was Toon Thijs, a Potter’s Market pro, who had a tool, implement and solution for everything. I certainly benefited from his extra stays and his shelter, not to mention his Dutch beer. The awning we attached to the back of the stand also worked a treat, (that is until the wind tried to blow it away).
Potters are a resilient bunch, but their was an air of anxiety as we held onto our stands and pots. and heard the occasional crash. There were some horrible casualties, Peter Beard experiencing the worst one in my area, losing a whole load of pots and a glass cabinet. Jim Robison kept smiling as he always does, despite losing three large planters.
Normally having set up the display you can relax, knowing that the work is done and for three days you can just stand (ideally in the midsummer sun) and chat to pleasant pot lovers and potters. Not so this time. Each evening we had to take everything down and stack it safely beneath the table to start all over again early the next morning.
By Saturday evening the wind calmed down a bit and by dawn was replaced by torrential rain. In the morning our white boards were a little rain stained, and the cardboard boxes had gone soggy.
Despite what I have written there were sunny intervals and on Sunday it was a beautiful afternoon and calm evening to pack up! It is a really good show in a beautiful setting and it is great to meet all the fantastic potters and their work, and forge new friendships.
Sales were not the best but certainly not a disaster either, which is good considering rain wind and economic gloom. Just-out- of-the-kiln Penguin platter above found a home - I was barely ready to let him go.
Oh, and I never did take part in the' Potter’s Olympics'. ( I got a severe joint problem in my finger, (honestly), which I have had splinted all week. RSI/arthritis? who knows, rather worrying). Doug Fitch kindly agreed to stand in for me and so I escaped such delights as blindfold throwing!
This one of my new black vases definitely felt at home in Rufford, (or WRUFFord as my nephew pointed out), as it is a very doggy place. There were lots of tails and noses around, and a fascinating variety of dog breeds.