A series about people that have influenced my creative path
Pauline Prior-Pitt, abstract seascape, acrylic, 2013
I’ve mentioned previously that we visit North Uist each year for a family holiday. We nearly always miss the open studios, and sadly we did again this year. Luckily I bought this small painting a few years ago when Pauline was taking part in a local exhibition. She is most well know for her poetry, but I feel that her paintings capture everything that I love about the breathtaking beaches and ever changing weather that belong to the island.
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.
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.
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.
High-fired, small porcelain bowl, by Susan Duncan
In May 2013 we visited Wester Ross to stay in a friend’s cottage. It was a landmark time for me… Earlier that spring I had finished a short course of evening classes in ceramics at Gray’s School of Art, and had taken the decision to invest in my first wheel. It was also when I started writing this blog.
During our week’s stay I met Susan Duncan, a potter who lives in Lochcarron. We had a wonderful chat about me starting out as a potter and I got to look over her work and studio. She was generous with her time and advice, and last week I had the chance to visit her again and thank her. I bought two bowls… one porcelain and one stoneware. I’ll post about the second one another time.