Slip cast parian cup by Natalie Wood, with illustration by Kirsti Beautyman
I met Natalie a couple of years ago at her Gray’s School of Art degree show. She was showcasing her range of Japanese inspired Detsu ware and I was captivated by the pared back forms and pastel colours. Our paths have crossed a number of times over the past two years, but somehow I never managed to buy a piece of hers.
Recently Natalie has been collaborating with a number of illustrators who have decorated a series of her pieces. I saw this piece, the ‘Serpent King’ described on her Instagram feed earlier this month and snapped it up. It reminds me of the imagery I used to see in the children’s books I was brought up on.
Porcelain, wood fired bowl with lithium glaze liner, by Patricia Shone
I saw a photograph of this beautiful piece on Patricia’s Instagram feed just over a month ago when she was exhibiting at Earth and Fire. I’ve admired her new porcelain work for a while now, and what with a rather large birthday coming up at the end of the year it didn’t take much to convince me to treat myself to an early present.
Patricia’s work is inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Skye – one of my favorite places in the world, and where I spent many summer holidays growing up. She creates pieces by either throwing or cutting into solid lumps of clay, and then texturing and stretching to make the finished forms. I had the pleasure of watching Patricia demonstrate some of her process a few years ago at the Scottish Potters Association spring workshop.
Soda fired, stoneware bowl by John West from the Lansdown Pottery
I really enjoyed meeting John and Penny West at Potfest Scotland at the beginning of June. I’m a sucker for soda and salt glazed pottery and their stand was full of the most sumptuous array of pieces. When you take the time to look, the subtleties of their work reveal themselves… first the tell tale orange peel glazing to the exterior highlighting the tan slip; then the ash glazed interior which has pooled and crackled beautifully in the bottom. But the thing that really completes this bowl for me is the the addition of cobalt slip to the rim, which has bleached slightly in places where it has been hit by the soda during firing. Inspired.
Blue Owl Bowl: hand-built, gas fired stoneware, by Chiu-i Wu
I’ve seen Chiu-i’s work on a number of occasions and have always been captivated by the whimsical imagination of her pieces. At Potfest Scotland last year I fell in love with a particular piece, but hesitated in buying it until I had reached my own sales target. Big mistake… unsurprisingly by the Sunday it had already been bought.
This year I was determined not to make the same error, so I visited her stand early last Friday to take a look. I wasn’t disappointed, and this gorgeous little bowl has come home with me.
Porcelain wheel-thrown cup with matt white glaze and oxide rim, by Yumiko Iihoshi
A short while ago I spent an action packed weekend in London. I asked friends on Instagram where I should visit during my stay and I managed to fit in some fantastic things following their advice.
One particular highlight was discovering Gallery Eclectic, which houses a wonderfully curated selection of Japanese pottery by makers such as Shinobu Hashimoto and Makoto Kagoshima. I could have bought so many things *if only* but I finally selected this understated beauty made by Kyoto Saga University of Arts graduate Yumiko Iihoshi. This was one of her series of ‘Hand Works’, each with a slightly different profile… some straighter and some more curved. It is lovely to drink from.
Thrown and altered, wood fired, oval, stoneware vase with celadon glaze by Andrew Pentland
Andrew is a lovely man who makes gorgeous pots, and it was a pleasure to catch up with him again at Potfest Scotland a couple of months ago. I saw this piece when we were setting up, but ended up buying a yunomi from him on the Saturday instead. I had to go back sheepishly on Sunday and ask if I could swap it for this beauty as I already have so many mugs and cups. I particularly love the finger marks left from where he held the pot when glazing… a testament to the maker’s process.
Each year we head to the Outer Isles for a family holiday. Whatever the weather we always have the best of times, and this year was no exception. Most days were spent on the beach, with my husband and girls investigating rock pools, the dog going mad in the sand and me soaking up as much of it as I can.
I sketch and photograph whenever possible whilst I’m on North Uist. It’s my way of unwinding. There is so much to inspire and motivate – the colours and textures of the sea, shore, lochs and hills. Everywhere you look there’s something…
I also finally remembered to bring some pots with me to shoot amongst the landscape that inspired them…