Midsummer’s day saw the start of Blue Ginger Gallery’s online summer exhibition entitled ‘Where the Wild Thyme Blows’. I created some slab-built vases and flower bricks inspired by the theme. It runs it until the 31st July.
Spring is emerging here in Herefordshire. The primroses and daffodils are starting to come out in the Pottery garden, hurrah! So….. I have been inspired to make a collection of mini planters and flower bricks. These have been created especially for the Digital Craft Festival which will be held online on the 26th – 28th March.
These pieces are created by assembling soft slabs of terracotta clay. I gently crimp the edges together with my fingers and then decorate them with painted slips and sgraffito. They’re all unique, no two are the same!
I’m super thrilled to be taking part in the Digital Craft Festival ! It promises to be a funfilled weekend of craft demonstrations, interviews and workshops on Instagram, Facebook and zoom. In fact, I’m taking my very own zoom class here in my studio. My virtual craft workshop takes place on Saturday 27th March at 2pm. I will show you step by step my slab making process and you can make along with me! I can post clay if you book by the 22nd March. It will be relaxed with a strong emphasis on fun! No previous pottery experience is required.
PLUS the weekend provides an opportunity to buy direct from the 150 selected designer makers websites, across all craft disciplines, from all over the world! I’m launching lots of new designs in my shop including my spring flower planters and flower bricks especially for the event!
How could I resist?
When Hellens Manor invited me to provide a piece for their sculpture trail I just had to say ‘Yes!’ The Manor has been described by Country Homes Magazine as ” The jewel in the crown of Herefordshire homes”. It’s a privately owned Tudor house set in atmospheric grounds and I have enjoyed many happy visits there.
Hellens Garden Festival hosts an annual fund raiser for two charities: St Michaels Hospice and Back to the Wild. It takes place over a weekend and showcases the best of local growers, producers, makers and foodies. Speakers, interactive demonstrations and music make for a very engaging event. Very well supported locally, the event has an enjoyable and celebratory atmosphere. I’ve had loads of fun running free pottery workshops under the guise of Eastnor Pottery for years!
The Festival aims to celebrate the natural world and has an educational approach to local and global issues. The inspiring title forthis year’s event is ‘Together We are the Seeds of Change’.
To begin my designing, I looked at the gardens: the ancient orchards, woodland trees. Hellens Manor has a team of dedicated gardeners concerned with conservation. I felt strongly whatever I was going to create needed to be functional in some way…. it needed to be caring! Clay is the perfect material for this project, it’s abundant and it comes straight from the earth.
My initial thought was to make a bird house, so I set about making a clay maquette (a small scale prototype). I discovered the small scale had a charm and an intimacy all of it’s own. My thoughts turned to the smaller creatures of the forest….. creepy crawlies!
The results ended up as a series of little ceramic houses. Insect dwellings which I’ve filled with hay, tiny twigs and seeds. Small hidey holes for bugs to dwell or hibernate. They’re designed to hang in trees or outside spaces. My intention is to display them in a tidy row, like houses in a street. Each house has been decorated differently in surface and colour. The idea that we live side by side in a world where we are able to protect each other and the world around us is a good one:
‘Together We Are The Seeds of Change’.
This is the time of year when Eastnor Pottery is usually gearing up for HeyClay, a natioanal event organised and promoted by the Crafts Council and Get Creative UK. Last year we ran three days worth of FREE potter’s wheel classes, it was really popular and we were full to the rafters! This year is rather different of course. So, as an alternative solution, HeyClay has become an online event #GetCreativeAtHome . Me & Jon are delighted it’s still going ahead, seeing it’s the 6th time we have taken part (so it’s very much part of our yearly calender). We’ll be hosting live tutorials, studio tours and insights into our making across our Eastnor Pottery social media platforms. I’m doing a live stream about how I make a slipware slab built soap dish too! HeyClay 2020 is running from the 15th -17th May