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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Inspired

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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.

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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…

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London calling

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This time last year I was awarded a bursary from Made in Aberdeen to help progress my business. The first part allowed me to participate in an amazing workshop in Copenhagen, and the second part was to help fund an application to a London show later this year.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been selected for Made London this Autumn. This wonderful design and craft fair takes place at One Marylebone on 20-23 October 2016. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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