London calling

I’m just back from a wonderful weekend in London. I managed to pack in a lot, but my primary reason for going was to visit Handmade in Britain and I’ll post more about that later. The other main highlight was a lengthy afternoon spent wandering around the ceramics collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I can’t think how long it is since I last visited and I had forgotten just how much there is to see…

As you enter the main hall of the museum and look directly upwards you can just catch a glimpse of Edmund de Vaal’s Signs and Wonders in the topmost dome of the building. After taking the lift to the sixth floor and walking through some of the furniture collection you enter the ceramics section. The number of pieces on display is breathtaking. It is divided into a series of galleries – firstly four large rooms with glass cases packed from floor to ceiling with pieces from China, Asia & Europe, Britain and Britain & Europe. These are followed by the following rooms: Factory Ceramics after 1900, Contemporary Ceramics (where you can get a closer view of Signs and Wonders), Studio Ceramics, Making Ceramics, Architectural Ceramics, World Ceramics and a display gallery.

I could go on for hours about the things I saw. Photography was quite difficult. I took most of my photographs on my rather inadequate camera phone as this seemed to produce the ‘best’ results given the subdued lighting. I decided that a series of details would be the best way to get across the amazing variety on show. Wherever possible I have included the maker’s surname, or country of origin, at the beginning of the image file name but there are a few pieces that I found very difficult to identify.

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The pothy

You’re wondering what a pothy is I suppose. Well it’s not quite a pottery and not quite a bothy. Thanks to cousin Murdo for the name. So, what once was the scullery has now become the Pothy. With the arrival of the new wheel from Bath Potters’ Supplies I have set about emptying the room of all that was in it. I’m now waiting for the garden shed to implode under the weight of its additional contents. I was left with this…

oldroom1  oldroom2

Which after a great deal of scrubbing, wall and floor painting now looks like this…

newroom4

It’s small, but it should be fine for getting on with. I’m sharing the space with the boiler – so it’s nice and warm (maybe too warm when I get a kiln) the washing machine, and the fridge/freezer. I just need to fix some ware shelves to the back wall and I’ll be able to get going.

So now starts the steep learning curve. I enjoy the methodical nature of throwing but I’ve not had real experience of making repeat ware. I want to create things that people will want to use and keep. I know I’ll appreciate the rhythm of it and the required attention to detail is already in my blood. But as Geoffrey Whiting said ‘the first 30,000 pots are the worst’. I may be some time.