Well another month has gone by and I am another step closer to taking up residency in my new ceramic studio. The roof is on, the skylights have been installed, the wooden doors have been fitted and this week the windows are being mounted into position. Soon we will have running water and electricity which is especially exciting as it means we can take delivery of my new electric top loading kiln. Mid-august has been pencilled in as a possible date in the calendar, which means that the team from Northern Kilns based at Pilling, near Garstang, will soon be driving up to Cumbria with my new baby. I feel she needs a name but haven’t decided on one yet…. if you have an idea what I could call my new kiln, any suggestions welcomed! Back in March the same company delivered my wedging table which has certainly been put to the test in my temporary studio awaiting transfer into my new space. Exciting times are definitely ahead.
In other news, last week I went to the International Ceramics Festival which is held every two years in Wales. It was my first visit, so I didn’t know what to expect. I arrived on the Friday afternoon to get ahead of the crowds, but it seems that we all had the same idea, clearly ceramicists like to plan ahead. Demonstrators were building their kilns and stoking the flames as well as preparing their pieces to talk to clay enthusiasts over the weekend. I was particularly excited to see Wendy Lawrence’s and Phil Rodger’s work, so they were my priority from the packed programme of events. Having registered and found my accommodation I visited the trade stands for discounted supplies and to the demonstrator tents to see what all the guest artists were up to.
In the evening on Friday, we had the opening ceremony where all contributors were explaining what they were doing over the weekend in the hope of enticing visitors to their sessions. Jim Robinson, chair of the festival and featured in my picture below, welcomed visitors from the UK and from overseas to the event, I was surprised by the number of American visitors who attended. There were also exhibitions to view by new emerging artists, international artists from Uzbekistan and from the potter associations of Wales. Through the weekend we were treated to live music, entertaining and informative lectures, visual performances, demonstrations and very nice raffle prizes. Sadly, I didn’t win the raffle as I had my heart on taking home one of Wendy’s sculptures.
I had a great time at the festival and found it fascinating how diverse pottery has developed in different countries around the world. In Japan for example I was surprised to learn that a number of people are involved in making one piece as different people concentrate on just one element of the making process. This is a very different approach to what happens in our western culture of ceramics, particularly for individual ceramic artists. I don’t think I would enjoy my craft as much as I do if I just focused my attention in mastering one technique for the rest of my life. The next festival will be in 2021 and I can’t wait to visit again.
It’s a busy time for me at present. I am currently exhibiting in Lytham at the Heritage Centre with the Northern Potters Association until this Sunday (22nd July). In Kendal I am exhibiting with South Lakes Art Collective from Friday 19th July until the end of August at the Kendal Museum which will include new porcelain pieces. Finally, I will be exhibiting at the Milnthorpe Art Exhibition and the Ulverston Art Society Exhibition both running on the first weekend of August. Check out my website for further details. I hope to see you there.