Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A holiday

 We've recently arrived home from China after a wonderful visit see to our daughter. China is so full of amazing sights, sounds and smells it would be difficult in a short blog to write about it. However, here is a glimpse of some of the things we did during our stay. The scene above is the corner of the street where my daughter lives. Expensive shiny new cars run side by side with these 'carriages'.
 There seemed to be a market around every street corner. Markets for everything. There was the vegetable market, the fabric market, the antiques market etc. all teeming with colour and life.

 Some streets were full of people making street food. It all looked delicious. Even the most basic 'kitchen' seemed to be producing mouth watering foods.
 Park life takes on a new meaning in China. Partly because people don't have individual gardens but also because people love to do things communally. The local park was alive until late a night with people singing. dancing doing tai chi selling goods and all sorts of other activities.
 This park had a whole cast of sculptures of opera singers.I like the way this little chap wanted to get in on the action.

 People just seemed to rock up in the park with a ghetto blaster and start dancing or come with a whole ensemble of friends to play and sing.

 We travelled out to the countryside to walk up into the mountains. It was the most beautiful, magical place but the footpath only consisted of a very rough path of boulders.We were quite surprised to find a community living near the beginning of our walk. Latter when we had walked quite some way we were even more surprised to find more homes, though I'm not sure who was more surprised, us or the folk who lived in such a remote place.

 Another trip we did was to Fuping Pottery Village. There were some huge galleries there unlike anything I've seen before. I didn't see any kilns and only one potter making coiled pots.

 Having driven all the way to the south of France earlier in the year to see Jean Nicholas Gerrard's work imagine my surprise to find he'd been to Fuping before me.

Granddaughter Isabella enjoys her very first walk in the gallery.

Here we are being very touristy in yet another park. I could go on but I think you get the picture!

Monday, 8 September 2014

A juggling act

 Do you remember these puzzles we had as children? You had to move the pieces around to make the picture or the run of numbers. They could be quite frustrating if you couldn't quite get them where they needed to be!
Well my studio has been a bit like that. I've had to keep moving pots around so that I can continue using the space. I've had to get bisque firings on to clear work space for throwing then I've had to get on and glaze to keep the space clear...

 It feels as though my studio is shrinking around me. I really need a bigger space.
 I've had to go to London twice recently to apply for a Chinese visa. the first time I went on to Brick Lane for a little wander and a coffee after queueing for three hours. These wall painting are all off Brick Lane. My favourite place for coffee is in No 5 Fournier Street where they also keep a good range of pots by Jonathan Garrett.

 When I returned a few days later I popped into the British Museum for a wander. I so like these tiles. I get excited about them every time.

 I really enjoy this mouth watering mug and of course I thought of Hannah when I saw it.
 I'm always looking out for objects with script on them and it never fails to fascinate me but isn't this a bit macabre!? It's been a very busy, but enjoyable, few weeks so on Sunday afternoon we went for a walk around the lake. It's just minutes away from our house but we hardly ever make time to stroll around. There were bird watchers out but I don't know what they are all looking at! I expect that many of the birds are getting ready to migrate.
We are getting ready to head to Wardlow Mires next week-end for Pots and Food. 
It's a very enjoyable week-end with a great combination of pots and fine food. Do come along and sample both. I'm looking forward to both! It's also in a very beautiful part of the world.

Friday, 15 August 2014

new bowls

 I made a few of these bowls to take to Rufford to see how they would be received. They sold really well so I feel encouraged to try to develop this simpler style.
Initially I thought it might be a quicker way of working but I am finding that although the end result looks simpler it takes just as long to make.
As well as simplifying the overall look I wanted a 'retro' look where the colour didn't quite match the line work. I used to collect old reading schemes and I remember the illustrations being like this.I got a few out to check if I had remembered rightly and certainly the figures had a line of white space around them. It may have just been because they were produced cheaply or maybe it was a 1960's thing.
Although in my minds eye I can see the result I want I'm not there yet and it may be a bit more involved to create than I thought.
I'm enjoying the process though so I will get back to it next week.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Rufford and beyond

 It's quite a few weeks since Rufford but here are just a few pictures of the stands near mine. Anna Mercedes Wear's stand was opposite mine.

 David Wright was next to me and below is Richard Heeley's stand for which he won the award for the best stand.
When we were at Rufford three years ago we met Jack Blackburn who has a stall called Pots from France.
I was really struck by a plate by a French potter who I had never heard of before named Jean Nicholas Gerard. I bought the plate and determined that I would visit his pottery one day.
Not having done much travelling I didn't really know what this would entail.
 When I looked up Jean Nicholas Gerard on the inter-net I also came across two other slipware potters. So why not visit them as well?  Our first stop was at Poterie de Sampigny the home of Sylvie and Francois Fresnais. Unfortunately they were away but we enjoyed looking at their wonderful pots. There is a video of their pottery which is well worth watching.

 I have no sense of direction but Mark had the map and I had the steering wheel so we travelled through olive groves..
 around magnificent lakes..
 alongside lavender fields
 onto Valensole and the pottery of Jean Nicholas Gerard. I was so determined to see the pottery that I hardly even remembered to take any photographs. We stayed at Jean Nicholas's gite so we were able to enjoy all his beautiful pots and handle them as his gite was equipped with every sort of pot. You can see a video of Jean Nicholas Gerard here.