Spark: twenty six

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Jennifer Pettigrew, Changed Direction, unique print, 2011

I bought this picture at the Pittenweem Arts Festival not long after we moved to Aberdeen. I love the mark making used to build up an abstract image; and it reminds me of my early days of my degree at art college, when we were being taught drawing skills…

I turned up to our weekly life drawing class, taught in rotation by four tutors with very different approaches. As we entered the room that week we were given a large pot of black wall paint and a stick. Pinned to the walls were large (2m square) pieces of paper and there was a life model in the centre of the room. We were instructed to use the sticks to paint with, and that we would have 30 seconds for each pose. To start with our attempts were pretty dreadful, but as the time went on our confidence built, our observation improved and our mark making became more gestural and fluid.

I think I’d like to try it again.


Show up


Last weekend I packed up all the pots I had in stock and took them to my first show of the year, Potfest Scotland at Scone Palace. I thought I’d be less nervous this time, but what with losing a significant number of large pieces in my most recent firing I was definitely feeling knots in my stomach.

Whilst I was setting up I discovered I had some lovely neighbours in my tent and, just like Potfest in the Pens last year, the weekend proved to be a wonderful combination of making new friends, meeting customers and making sales. The weather wasn’t particularly kind to us but we still had a great time… with an evening trip to Perth swimming pool for a thawing sauna and jacuzzi a welcome respite from camping in the van.

Another of the good things from the weekend was the lovely feedback I had about the new pieces I’ve been making with coloured footrings – inspired by lichens and seaweed (see gallery). I also picked up a few tips and ideas to do with setting up stand backdrops which I’ll definitely implement next time around.

YUNOMI1julietmacleod2015  PORRINGERjulietmacleod2015

Now I must get on and make more pots in time for my next show in Penrith.

Magpie {38}

Coiled, pinched, fluted and wood fired tea bowl with shino glaze, by David Wright

Last weekend I exhibited at Potfest Scotland and set myself a sales target… provided I passed it I would be allowed to buy a pot.  So after three days of extreme weather (too hot or too cold) I reached the target and I headed straight for David’s stand as I’ve been wanting to buy something of his for some time. I bought this lovely tea bowl and I’ve been using it ever since. In fact I got a bit carried away and bought one of his wife Laura’s fantastic aprons too.

Magpie {37}

Glazed stoneware moon bowl, by
Pottery West

I’ve been using Instagram regularly for over two years now. I use other social media too but Instagram suits my visual nature the best – I enjoy seeing other artists work and process. Recently, during my daily perusal, I came across Pottery West’s feed. They are Catherine and Matt West, both Goldsmiths graduates, based in Sheffield. They had just posted some lovely images of these beautiful little bowls and I couldn’t resist… so now I have one happily sitting on a shelf in between two other pots made by Carys Davies and Miranda Forrest.