I’m just back from another amazing Scottish Potters Association weekend at Kindrogan. When I was wending my way there through the stunning Perthshire countryside I was thinking that there was no way that it could be as good as last year’s. How wrong could I be – not only were there excellent demonstrators once again, but as I was no longer a novice I knew more folk and I relaxed and enjoyed it far more this time.

The workshops were given by Patricia Shone, David Roberts and Ronnie Fulton. I spent most of my time flitting between Patricia and David’s rooms. Patricia gave us an insight into how she makes her incredible textured pieces both by using the wheel and through hand building techniques. She is inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Skye and as a result I feel a real kinship with her, although the style of our work is poles apart. David is a raku potter whose large-scale work I have admired for a long time. It was a treat to discover more about his process. He very kindly let us bring pieces to fire over the weekend, using his own barrier slip and glazes with some great end results. I’m now inspired to try further raku firings of this type in the summer.

I came away with a wealth of ideas relating to surface… burnishing for raku firing; adding terra sigillata for a fine patina; using unusual tools to create strata, roughness and waves, applying sodium silicate to obtain coarse volcanic structures; stretching and moulding to achieve organic character… more scribbles in my sketchbook. I wonder when I’ll have a chance to try them out. Until then here are a few tastes of what I saw…


Magpie {33}

Pennine Landscape paperclay vessel, by Kath Bonson

At Potfest they have a lovely tradition called the Mug Swap. I’ve encountered it once before (at SPA Kindrogan) and really like the idea. All the exhibitors who want to take part donate a drinking vessel to the swap. In the case of Potfest the participants stand in a large circle holding their pot; then someone calls out a series of instructions, such as ‘keep passing to the left until I tell you to stop’ and ‘two places to the right’. Eventually – after seeing every type of conceivable pot you can imagine pass through your hands – you end up with an entirely different mug, which is yours to keep. This is the one I received and although I don’t think I’ll drink from it, it will be treasured.