Our house is now under offer and we have made an offer on a house in Wales. I'm trying to work full time and fit in a house move. I thought I would take some photos of the garden to remember some of the plants I've enjoyed here so that I can find them in Wales. I spend very little time gardening so it's surprising anything is growing.
I think I should have spent more time photographing pots and less on the garden! These are two coming to Rufford at the week-end. Click here to get more information about Rufford.
I had to go to London recently so I paid a visit to the V and A. The garden was packed with people and it had the atmosphere of Brighton on a sunny day. I first went to the V and A in 1969 and there were never very many people there - what a change. But no hang on! Look below and you can see that you can still have the entire ceramics collection on the 6th floor to yourself. Bliss. We've just put our house on the market with the intention of moving to Wales so I need to make the most of some of the wonderful places London can provide.
I threw a batch of small jugs recently and wasn't sure how to decorate them. I went into the house and picked up this sketch painting I'd done and the book. I don't usually decorate in such an arbitrary way so it will be interesting to see the results.
I'm off to the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham tomorrow to hear a lecture entitled Leach, Carroll and Beyond English Slipware and the World of Reference.Should be interesting.
In April we visited our daughter in China. It was a real adventure travelling around and staying with friends.
We stayed with a family in the country and Mark couldn't resist the opportunity to help them in the fields. They have recently taken out their orchard and are replanting it with peach trees.
After a day in the fields they offered to take us out to the local town. Knowing they don't have a car we wondered how this could be done but not to worry the three wheeled motor bike and cart below seated 7 adults and 2 small children!! We all hopped in with our tiny stools and off we set.
The weather was warm and the country side looked idyllic but we know life is tough for our friends in the winter. All the households had these wonderful carts and many were still using them.
You can see the village in the distance. The houses are built in the traditional way with rooms opening off a central court yard from the outside all you can see are these large doors. The main room is both bedroom and lounge and has a kang which is a brick built bed which can be heated with a fire in winter.I was fascinated to spend time in the kitchen watching them make noodles which they cook on a wood burning stove.
We went to a village school where my daughter and son-in-law teach English. Just to add some fun to the class we took along some clay and the children made little thumb pots.
We couldn't find many pottery related trips but the main museum in Xi'an has a wonderful collection. They have the most wonderful tri-coloured horses.
We visited this market that did sell loads of pots. Unfortunately I didn't take many photos.The tiny shops were crammed with pots of every sort mostly celedon glazed pots but I don't know where they were made.
As most people in the city live in high rise apartments the parks are a very important and busy places. You never know whats going to be going on.It could be ballroom dancing, sword waving, Chinese opera and of course it's all going on at the same time.
You can also get your hair cut!
Now it's time to get back to work in earnest. I need to get plenty of pots ready for the summer festivals.
Here I am in the studio just to show that I am actually still here. I think at this point I was wondering what words to write on the bowls. I'm always trying to think of interesting lyrics that will be familiar to people. Suggestions welcomed!
These are some of the bowls out of the kiln this week. I've done three glaze firings back to back to try to catch up.
The bowls below are some I've just done to find a shape that is good for decorating inside and out. I haven't done many of these yet but I am going tp pursue the idea for a while.
I'm off to China next week and feeling very excited-just five more sleeps-if anyone knows of any pottery related venues in Xian (apart from the terracotta warriors ) do let me know.
Near the end of last year we were on a car journey to take our son shopping.It was cold and wintry and my passenger window misted up. I cleared a small 'window' to watch the world speed by. There were green fields, tracery of twigs on trees, a magpie on the back of a sheep. In an instant I flashed back to journeys I had taken as a child. My father had worked for British Rail and so we often took trips on the steam train. They too had misted up and I would clear a little 'window' to watch the world speed by. Backyards, hills and rivers all flew past.The recollection was so clear that it took me by surprise and made me wonder where all those years had gone. Suddenly over 50 years seemed to have gone in a heart beat. Soon the moment was gone but it left me thinking of how precious time is and I started to think about things I still want to achieve and accomplish and where my priorities lie.
Within a few weeks of that journey my father died. He had Parkinson's and it was as if all our efforts to hold onto him failed. Parkinson's finally overpowered us. There was another powerful reminder of how precious time is. Time to be together, time to enjoy life time to appreciate and celebrate our ability to be creative. So I am still busy making and enjoying time with family and friends. In just a few weeks I will be travelling to China to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. My dad was a very lovely man, kind and generous and always appreciative. We spent much of our time together laughing - good things to remember and be thankful for.