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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.

See also:
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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…

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Woodfired stoneware jug, by Andrew Pentland

This summer I visited Potfest in the Palace again, mostly as a precursor to my first show at Potfest in the Pens. I wanted to have a look at how people set up and exhibited their work and hoped to glean a little advice at the same time. There were a few people I particularly wanted to meet if I had the chance, and Andrew was one of them. Not only did we have a lovely chat, but also I just had to buy this beautiful jug.

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Small woodfired stoneware bowl by Edinbane Pottery (dia 7cm approx)

I’m looking forward to using this little bowl again. It’s normally used as a salt cellar but, owing to the building work going on in our house at the moment, it has been packed away for the time being. It was the first piece I bought from Edinbane, some twenty six years ago.

See other pieces by Edinbane Pottery:
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Woodfired stoneware Limpet bowl by Edinbane Pottery (dia 16cm approx)

This is one of the first pots I bought from Edinbane Pottery on the Isle of Skye, so I think I have had it for twenty years plus. It was made by Julie Whatley. It’s been a while since I’ve visited them as we always seem to be in a rush to catch the ferry for North Uist. Fingers crossed I can drop in next year, by which time I hope their new building work will be finished. There was a terrible fire at the pottery last year which spread through all the back rooms. Luckily the shop and house were not damaged and no one was hurt.

See other pieces by Edinbane Pottery:
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Woodfired stoneware mug and jug, with tenmoku glaze; by David Gundry

We were given two of these mugs and the matching jug as a wedding present by some kind Devon friends. I’ve discovered this week that they were made by David Gundry, a retired GP who lives on the edge of Dartmoor. The mug shape is really comfortable in the hand, and the glaze is one of those whose beauty increases the more you look at it. I’ve been thinking about kilns more than a little this week and David’s is something else (take a look at these three videos #1, #2 and #3). If anyone out there would ever like some help with a wood firing, please let me know. I’d love to witness the process first hand.