Wednesday 31 August 2011

Flying Cats and Sunsets

I made a couple of these dishes earlier this summer. Inspired by a Utube video of a leaping cat in slow motion, I decided that my creatures needed a bit more movement. It was a revelation to be able to freeze frame the video to do some drawings. When can you ever get your own cat to hold such a posture.

This teapot seemed to be asking for another 'flying' cat. Of course a few liberties have to be taken with the drawing, but it has helped me to get into a looser way of fitting the creature with the form.

These are slip decorated and waiting for a bisc firing.

I'm quite into tails at the moment.

Lemurs tails can become quite abstract.

Meanwhile The HUGE ruthless clear out has begun. So many plaster moulds from 30 years ago, high on a top I really going to go BACKwards when I am always looking for NEW challenges? NO, of course not, but oh so hard to throw them away. This weeks dustbin has reached capacity, with lots more to be added next week. The space on the shelves is wonderful.

Hurricanes and earthquakes in the USA, while the sky in S W Scotland was on fire.

Wednesday 17 August 2011


This week it's been goodbye to Allie, who has moved up to Edinburgh. I have been so lucky to have had Allie's help and support over the last few years, just the perfect person at the right time. I'll miss her a lot, not only for her capacity to eat up jobs, but also for her good company, humour and patience.

Last week we fairly 'beasted' through the work and I now have shelves filled with this years Hard Rock Challenge prizes, plus a good batch of jugs and mugs drying out. So huge thanks Allie!

It will be another significant change at the pottery. I see it as an opportunity to reflect on where I have travelled to over the last few years, and where I am going.

Here is a pretty straight forward bit of advice cut out from a junk-mail banking leaflet.

But if possible I am hoping make less pots, at least for a few months this Autumn, and spend some time developing the more individual 'pieces'.

I choose the word 'pieces' deliberately.

My good friends from art college, potter Sue Dunne, and mask make Stephen Jon, have been staying this week. I asked their opinion about the use of the term 'sculpture' as in 'ceramic sculpture'. I have never been happy with this description, it conjures up something which I don't feel I make. I tried using the term once in a 'Spring Fling' brochure, only to have one woman remark, "Lovely pots, but where's the sculpture'? which only confirmed my discomfort with the word. But if one leaves the safety net of even a hint of function behind, as does 'Out of Sink', what exactly does it become?

Monday 1 August 2011

Not for the Faint Hearted

Back home after a great, if exhausting, time at Potfest in the Park. Honestly, potters are made of strong stuff. These shows are not for the faint hearted. After all the frantic making, (will it dry in time?), last minute firings, packing, loading, lugging, collapsing into tents, vans, then up next day to look good and bright and on top form, full of enthusiasm to sell your work. What a brilliant bunch of folk.

The theme for the competition piece this year was 'Marking Time'.

I realised that using time as a rhythmic pulse may not be the obvious interpretation, so it seemed important to come up with a helpfully suggestive name. After much family input, the one which hit the mark, was 'Out of 'Sink'. ('Hit the mark', could have been a good name actually),

This fellow was blatantly out of sync. I got into a spot of trouble here though. A visitor stood chatting to her friend in front of my stand, having the following conversation.

"It really annoys me when people can't spell. There was a piece on the lawn there with the title 'Out of sync', and do you know it was spelt S I N K! I can't understand how...etc, etc

I had to own up that it was me.

'It was a pun, you see. If I had spelt it correctly, a lot of people simply wouldn't have got it'.

I don't I think that she was much impressed. Fortunately others seemed to like it ok and it got the public vote.

There was a great variety of ideas - here are a few which I managed to photograph.

Lucianne's Lassalle's de-fragmented figure looked great in this setting. In the foreground Chris Cox's core samples.

This made me chuckle. Richard Dewar's piece 'The potter who is marking time because he doesn't know how to get his pot of the wheel'.

Mark Smith's lively ship on a plinth if old Times newspapers.

I didn't 'find' my camera until the last day, so by the time I took this shot my stand was rather picked over and my best pieces were missing. Indeed I was very lucky to have had such a good show, so thank you to everybody who stopped by.

I loved Meri's cowering creature with teeth. I got to know it well, as my next door neighbour. When someone else bought it on Sunday I felt that I had lost my friend. I really enjoyed getting in to Meri's fantastic world of creatures, a most enjoyable stand to be next to. With Hannah on the other side I really couldn't have had better neighbours.

There were some very realistic hare and dog sculptures....

Oops, got an itch, that gave the show away.

It was a particularly good Potfest in the Park show this year with some fantastic work, always such a treat to have the opportunity to see so many continental potters.

I tried to resist spending too many pennies, but oh so tempting. Such a little purchase from Mathieu Van der Giessen, a cup for the occasional Guinness perhaps.

I am also now the owner of a sweet little pot and spoon made by Anna Lambert whose work I have always enjoyed.