The pottery, and therefore the blog, have been dormant for a year. I miss them both, but just now I’m paddling much more than potting. Of course, if you want to take your cue from the Moody Blues’ second hit single, I won’t be offended. For my part, I’m with Heraclitus, and further, browsing a new translation, I see that he actually wrote “You cannot paddle in the same river twice”. He was also a bit of a riddler…..
As all is largely quiet in the mud-shed, I thought I’d do a post about my good friend Kevin Borman’s latest book. I had the honour of helping with the proof-reading, and there is also a ceramic connection as I supplied a little information about bentonite for the book. On one level ‘Flamingos in the Desert’ is a guide book to the Almeria region of southern Spain, where Kevin lives with his partner Troy. On another, it is a wide ranging and quirky account of his exploration of the area: sleeping under the stars on mountain tops, multi-day hikes along the coast and along rivers, bird-watching, poking about in ruins, tracing abandoned railways, water-mills and watchtowers, researching Moorish history, gardening in a semi-desert, spaghetti Westerns, goat-herding, pigeon-keeping, geology & geography – and much more, too much to list. It’s another well-crafted book by a knowledgeable and inquisitive writer. If you are still interested, Google it. Other Search Engines are of course available.
Some days there are so many reasons for not getting stuck in that I despair of ever making another pot. This time I am excused. My old wood-burning stove has gone, replaced by this seemingly mundane slap-up of old bricks. Lurking behind the haphazard facade is my version of a rocket stove, no less, and it works a treat. The flue goes up 3′, back down to the floor, then up again, before joining the main stack. The mass of bricks warms up and becomes a radiator. Surprisingly it burns less wood, heat for heat, than the old stove. I’m still not making any pots though – it’s just too cosy sitting in front of this beast.
The Pete’s Pots studio has been operating in standby mode for most of the last 6 months, but now it is time to gear up for the 2014 Emsworth Arts Trail. This year I shall be sharing a venue with textile artist Robina Richter and watercolourist Stuart Thompson at ‘Bina’s house in Westbourne. Apart from some garden pots, all my work will use the technique illustrated in the accompanying photo, and will draw inspiration from the current debate on fracking , including fracking as metaphor.
Late in the evening we watched the International Space Station sweep brightly over from west to east, but the Perseids eluded us due to the smear of cloud. In the early hours the sky cleared, and with no moon the stars were crisp. The Perseids delighted as always, a bitter-sweet pleasure marking the dying days of Summer. On cue, the early morning had an autumnal whiff and nip. Pure joy.
When our friend Cass had a birthday party she invited us all to bring something crafty to do, suitable for all ages. My contribution was strips of raw clay and a few scribing tools. People wrote birthday messages for Cass, or just doodled. I fired and glazed the strips and hung them from a willow ring.
Peter Allwright is an artist. His paintings have a startling vibrancy. People scurry against background colours whose luminous intensity must take the greatest skill to achieve. I was honoured to receive a commission for some biscuit jars onto which Peter will paint. Appropriately they needed to be fired twice. Now, why is the first firing called the ‘biscuit’ firing – wouldn’t it be more etymologically correct to use the term for the second firing? Anyway, have a look at Peter’s paintings, they are stunning.