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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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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…

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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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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.

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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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Soda fired sake cup, with orange slip and shino liner glaze, by Joseph Morgan

A few weeks ago I took part in the North East Open Studios for the third time. It is the most wonderful event with over 230 artists, makers and designers taking part across Aberdeen City and Shire. I managed to take a day off to visit a few people taking part… but choosing who to see was difficult.

One easy decision was going down to Catterline to see my friend Joseph Morgan. Since I last saw Joe he has converted an old electric kiln into a gas-fired soda one, and he had some of the stunning results on display. I came away with this lustrous little sake cup, which has yet to be christened. I don’t have any sake, but I was thinking now that the nights are drawing in that a sloe gin might do the trick.

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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.