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.
Earthenware slipware mug decorated with cobalt and iron oxide, by Adrift Pottery
A few weeks ago we went on a mad whistle stop tour of the South West. We made a fairly large detour into West Wales to catch up with old friends, and realised that we were only a few miles away from Karen and Andy’s pottery. We’ve been following each other for years on Instagram, and it was a delight to finally meet face-to-face. I came away with this gorgeous Chrysanthemum mug, but deciding was very difficult as there was so much to choose from…
High-fired, medium stoneware bowl, by Susan Duncan
I mentioned a while ago that I bought two things from Susan Duncan last summer when I visited her studio in Lochcarron, on the west coast of Scotland. This is the second bowl, and it is difficult to do it justice in a photograph. The way the deep blue glaze breaks to black over the rim and throwing lines is spectacular. I’m now wishing I bought two of them.
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.
Small gas-fired stoneware bowl with feldspathic green crackle glaze, by Florian Gadsby
This is a tiny thing but it’s very special to me. It is made by Florian Gadsby who has been working with Lisa Hammond at Maze Hill Pottery for the last two years. I have two pots made by him, the first being a piece of the standard ware produced by the apprentices, and this bowl in his own style which marks the completion of his apprenticeship. He has decided to remain at Maze Hill but working part-time for Lisa, which will allow him to devote more time to making his own beautiful work.
As a self-taught potter reading Florian’s Instagram feed has been enlightening. He writes detailed and absorbing posts filled with information which have made me look more closely at every element of the potting process.
This bowl is hand thrown with a high iron stoneware body. Some of the iron flecks can be drawn out through the clay and into the crackle glaze when the piece is reduction fired, particularly around the rim. One large speck has blossomed on the inside of the bowl, rather like a beauty spot. Stunning.