Page 1

Newsletter Winter 2005


Potters’ Camp 2005—the highlights and the lowdown Jim Robison—big potter Anglian Potters at Primavera


COMMITTEE 2004/2005

—–Chairman’s report—–

PRESIDENT Lady Sainsbury

in October, was yet another success. Jim’s manner and presentation was relaxed, expert and entertaining. I was not able to stay to the end, but from what I saw I am sure everyone had a good day.

CHAIRMAN Victor Knibbs 8 Nightingale Way, St Neots,Huntingdon, Cambs. PE19 1UQ. 01480 214741 VICE CHAIRMAN Frank Logan Burbage, Thetford Road Coney Weston, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP31 1DN. 01359 221323 SECRETARY Susan Cupitt 62 Humberstone Road, Cambridge CB4 1JF 01223 311937. TREASURER Liz Chipchase 46 Carlyle Road, Cambridge, CB4 3DH EDITOR Mark Boyd 24 School Close, Gamlingay, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 3JY. 01767 650904 MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Tony Pugh Vine Leigh Cottage, Main St, Wardy Hill, Ely, Cambs CB6 2DF. 01353 778462 PUBLICITY SECRETARY Sally Macpherson Elm Cottage, 39 Upland Road, Thornwood, Essex CM16 6NJ 01992 560807 EXHIBITIONS ORGANISER Carolyn Postgate 5 Whitwell Way, Coton, Cambridge CB3 7PW 01954 211033. SELECTED MEMBERS SECRETARY Margaret Gardiner Glebe House, Great Hallingbury, Bishops Stortford, Herts CM22 7TY 01279 654025. GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER Brenda Green Hardys, School Lane, Gr Horkesley, Colchester Essex CO6 4BL. 01206 271019 WEBSITE Ian George 45 Brampton Road, Cambridge CB1 3HJ 01223 249676 EVENTS ORGANISERS Jerry Finlayson Mill Farm Barn, Wades Lane, Shotley, Ipswich IP9 1EG 01473 788423 Frank Logan (address above)


Mark Boyd, Ian George and Carolyn and Sibby Postgate have put in many hours in coming up with a proposal, which was finally agreed at our September meeting. Potters Camp Jerry hosted yet another excellent event. Improvements included a second shower and toilet on the field and a really impressive collection of fridge-freezers in the kitchen!

Direct debits Liz Chipchase has enquired of our Bank the possibility of members paying their subscriptions by direct debit. This service is not available to us, as our membership is too low. The Bank requires a membership of a minimum of 500 transactions per annum. So I am afraid you will still need your cheque books! Victor

A wide range of activities was on offer thanks to Rob Bibby, Beryl Hines, Martin George, Tony Pugh, Margaret Gardiner and Frank Logan. The Saturday meal was excellent thanks to all who contributed and the core team who prepared the food. Thanks to all who helped to make the weekend a great success. Jerry has organized a sub-committee to develop a policy and programme for next years camp. Watch this space! Jim Robison The demonstration day by Jim Robison,

Linda Luckin

Front cover: Tony Pugh with pit firing from this year’s Anglian Potters Camp; right, Jug by Ray Auker. Photos by Beryl Hines.

Logo At last, the committee has agreed a new logo to go with our new name.

Primavera, Cambridge I was not able to be at the Private View, but got a sneak preview on the Friday afternoon. This Selected Members exhibition looked very good. My preconception was that the space would be too small, but Margaret and her team had arranged an exciting and varied selection of work that represented Anglian Potters very well.

—Thrown by the Editor— I was starting to mix a new batch of glaze this afternoon when I managed to knock a jar of manganese oxide over the floor. Having tidied that up, I resumed only to discover that the other jar I had assumed was copper oxide was sneakily labelled cobalt—but at least it was labelled. I finally tracked down my copper oxide and weighed my ingredients into a suitable jar. Now, could I find any of my sieves that always live in the designated sieve space? Not a chance. I presume they are all ganging up against me, by hiding in plain sight somewhere in the shed. Glazing and decorating are among my least favourite potting activities, so I tend to put them off long enough for it not to be routine, hence the silly mistakes this afternoon. Like many potters, I tend to be more concerned with form and function than decoration, but colour, pattern and texture are the makings of a good pot as surely the spaces it occupies. This Newsletter contains articles about Jim Robison, who combines involved decoration with monumental forms, our exhibition at Primavera, where the decorative nature of pottery came to the fore, and two write-ups of our Potters’ Camp, which combined just about every surface treatment known to clay. Beauty may be only skin deep—but what glorious skins potters can produce!

Anglian Potters dates Christmas Show, All Saints Church, Cambridge, 19 November—11 December. Tim Andrews, Mundford Village Hall, 19 February 2006. Tim is a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association, and a familiar presence at Hatfield and other fairs. He is renowned for both thrown and handbuilt raku and smoke-fired ware. He is the author of a wellreceived book on raku and has run a successful gallery in Devon for many years. A Tim Andrews’ “Humbug”

Now, where have I put those sieves?

—Letter from Murray Cheeseman— I read with interest, and no small amount of fellow feeling, Geoff Elmore’s letter in the last newsletter. It has struck me for some time that there’s a whole genre of pottery that seems to derive its impetus from the “how does she/he do it” principle. Such work can be impressive initially, but loses much of its impact when it is revealed that all one needs is a slab roller and some embossed wallpaper to achieve the mystery. This is not to deny great and careful craftsmanship, just that for me, and as I think Geoff Elmore alludes to, there is this feeling that some of our contemporary practitioners have “thrown the baby out with the bathwater” in as much as they are pursuing a narrow version of perfection, based on rigid symmetry, and, for want of a better adjective, smoothness. (Bernard Leach may have been summing this up when he wrote with evident distaste of the “smooth, lustrous glazes”.) On the other front are the pitfalls of the self-consciously rustic makers,

who have apparently fallen under the spell of the more excessive Japanese model, which is capable of being equally decadent. So what is left that is valid? Perhaps it’s a matter of trying to make technique serve intent, in the way (I would suggest) that the best folk/peasant pottery exemplifies, an influence clearly there in some of the names Geoff Elmore singles out, adding Hamada to the top of my own list. Whether it was the product of some type of “super-selfconsciousness” there is running though Hamada’s work the feeling that good form came first, borne out by his choosing the best pots to stand undecorated in many cases. For any craftsperson/Artist worth their salt, “getting it right” is one of the driving concerns, but, perhaps, especially working with clay, one needs to allow for, and embrace, the incidental to a degree if one’s work is going to retain that elusive thing, life.

Hamada died in the 1970s, but his influence lives on. Susan Peterson’s recently reissued biography of Hamada gives a new generation of readers a chance to assess this giant. But isn’t anyone prepared to defend more modern potters? Does smoothness have to equate to industrial, and is the middle way espoused in this letter necessarily superior? Write to let us know what you think. MB 3

—Anglian Potters at Primavera—

Lorraine Izon I missed the private view at our Selected Members show at Cambridge’s prestigious Primavera Gallery, so caught up with it the following day. I confess that I was slightly nervous about it. Knowing that the Gallery displays work by the ceramic royalty past and present, Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Rupert Spira to name a few, would the quality of our work measure up? The short answer is an emphatic yes. Susan Cupitt

Our first selected members’ show at Primavera took place in one of the gallery’s two cellar rooms. This isn’t a large room so it doesn’t take long to fill with pots or people, and I understand that the private view was jam-packed. For a commercial gallery, the cellar rooms have an almost homely feel that is suited to the domestic scale of the pots chosen for the show. This context also encourages 4

people to touch the work more than in other gallery situations. Dangerous though this maybe, it gives potential buyers more confidence about what they are buying. And ceramic surfaces so often demand to be felt. The show featured only a few of our selected members work, but it gave a reasonable idea of our variety. There was thrown, cast and handbuilt work available and a delightful range of surfaces and forms to boot. I have been a birdwatcher all my life and love the variety of interpretations of birdlife that potters conjure up. This show was no exception. I particularly admired Lorraine Izon’s hens and gannets. The incised feathering is far from a slavish recreation of a bird’s plumage but provides a surface that hints of individual feathers as part of a smoother, more streamlined form as pleasing on the finger as on

Margaret Gardiner the eye. These are pots to cuddle in front of the telly. By contrast, the stoneware birds and mammals of Rosemarie Cooke that graced the windowsill along with Ray Auker’s silk-smooth teapots are much more realistic. You could swear they are looking back at you. As well as the decorative, there were good functional pots from Margaret Gardiner and Deborah Baynes, and straddling function and aesthetics, Susan Cupitt’s classy bottles, to name but a few. It is too early to say whether this show has been a commercial success, but I for one welcome the chance to see some of our best potters work in such surroundings. Let’s hope that the publicity surrounding this exhibition also works to our advantage with our Christmas Show.

Deborah Baines

Words and pictures, Mark Boyd

—Anglian Potters Camp 2005— Annabel Bartlett

allowing finely graduated fades in intensity - much more so than with Rob's airbrush which has a larger and more varied droplet size. Meanwhile, Tony Pugh was helping us get to grips with the complex reduction glazes he uses to such amazing effect. His rich surfaces are built-up from several layers of different glazes. For example he recommended Tesha, green celadon, blue sponging slip and finally copper red for my bowl. In retrospect, we should have spread the glazing over a longer period. The pots needed longer to dry between glaze coats, causing problems that became evident after firing as crawled glazes and flaking slips - mainly in the soda firing. It was late in the day and coming on to rain which didn't help the drying process either.

Soda, soda burning bright . . .

In another vintage year of potters camp, this year saw more people attending than ever before with entry limited to 50. To cope with the extra numbers, cars were parked in an adjoining field. To keep us all clean, Jerry built an extra shower and toilet block out of rather fetching blue doors. The long weekend stretched over four days starting on Thursday with general preparations and a start to glazing. The large wood kiln was fired to earthenware again this year but to add some extra excitement, Rob Bibby provided help, advice, tools and materials for glazing.

At the same time, Margaret Gardiner and Jeremy Nichols were leading the salt and soda glazing and slipping. All pots were lined with a shino glaze. The exteriors were treated in two ways. Margaret's method was to dip in slip, possibly adding further slips with brush or other means. Jeremy's technique was based on applying a very thin shino layer as a base into which to spray stains either blue or black. The spray gun was extremely fine and even,

Inside the glazing tent

Ian George

Rob showed us how he creates his complex majolica decorations by applying under-glaze colours and

oxides, over a dipped glaze coat. The colours are either sprayed with an airbrush or mixed with glaze and applied with brushes and sponges. In these ways we were able to quickly build up layers of colour, or even selectively remove colour.

Friday saw kiln packing, some rain, and the soda, salt and reduction firings started. The soda in particular needed to start early because it takes so long to cool. The salt cools much more quickly but Jeremy finds it easier to gauge reduction at dusk when the flame is easily visible. He certainly got his wish too because long after Frank had finished his BBQ, we were all crowded around the roaring kilns, drinking and chatting into the night. A big thanks to Frank and Heather (assistant/organiser) for the food and cooking.


Ian George

The tile workshop


Margeret and Jan with soda results

from the earthenware wood firing. Helen Humphreys got a beautifully serene face from the reduction stoneware, and so the list goes on. The wood firing was probably the most mixed result with some Ian George

Saturday started fine so we determined to fire the wood kiln before the rain came, as assuredly it did. The firing was quick, starting at 7.15am and finishing some 1100 degrees later at about 2.30pm. We shared what we initially thought was a dangerously small woodpile with Frank and his smoke and pit firings - made in old oil drums - and with the boys, Chris and Jamie and their woodfire Raku kiln. I think they must be our most experienced kiln builders now as they have rebuilt that raku kiln every year from a fairly sorry state. All the while (potters camp is like this), at the back of the house, Beryl ran a tile workshop, surrounded by Raku madness. She demonstrated several methods of making dating back to medieval times and explained that the thick, closely laid tiles have three bevelled and one flat side. The bevels slope the opposite way from modern grouted tiles allowing seamless surfaces to be laid. The flat edge is for standing them on in the kiln. The tiles had a relief pattern impressed into them in various ways. The deeply cut patterns could then be filled with white clay or shallower reliefs filled with a cream slip.

Tony unpacking the reduced stoneware firing, watched by Chris

Ian George

Ian George

Chris, Jamie, nettles and the wood-fired raku kiln

Saturday evening was Summer Social night. With heavy rain pouring down we stayed in the marquee. Peter provided the musical accompaniment, aided by Lorna on sax. Throughout the weekend, Ray Auker provided impromptu master classes in all forms of throwing. I'm personally very grateful to him for teaching me how to form a jug spout properly. Martin and Chris provided moth interest with their moth trap, although on the first night the rain reduced their haul to three rather cross-looking hornets. Sunday was a day of anticipation, excitements, surprises and the inevitable disappointments. - we opened the kilns. Every firing produced something beautiful. We all crowded around to see what had become of our pots as the kilns gave up their secrets. Jan Burridge again produced the best soda fired pot - a little porcelain teapot. Liz Lewis got some excellent plates

Ian George

Reduced stoneware

perfect results and others very badly overfired. I suspect that the kiln isn't ideal for firing earthenware pots when it was designed for getting quickly to stoneware. For next year, we probably need to timetable the glazing more

Ian George

Big bin, small lost pot

carefully. We probably need to do something about the wood kiln because we are putting lots of very carefully decorated pots into it and ruining half of them. The salt and soda are massively over subscribed - Jerry ended up doing another salt firing on Sunday. And we missed Mark Boyd, not least for his experimental firings - something we need to reinstate for next year I think, especially after the fantastic stories from Aberystwyth this year. Kilns made of paper have been suggested, personally I fancy a Sandra Lockwood style 'Longthroat' wood-fire salt kiln, or an anagama of course! You would have been unlucky not to get at least one decent pot from one of the firings, but in the end, it's not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts. In summary, an excellent weekend and a big thank you to all the activity leaders and helpers, and especially to Jerry. Ian George

Above: Concentration and results from Potters Camp 2005. Photos Beryl Hines 7

—The big squeezy—

This piece required 10 firings over a total of six weeks. When producing large works, he recommends that people bear in mind that “the outdoors is very big and your studio is very small.” When much of his work is of such an architectural scale, you can see where he is coming from. Jim Robison, our latest demonstrator, is a born entertainer, with an entertainer’s knack of getting away with things. The picture above, for example, shows him at the point of discovering that the main pot he was making had gone horribly wrong—but if anything the demonstration was better for revealing him to be as human as the rest of us.

BBC television’s Last of the Summer Wine. His path has taken him to being a potter, sculptor and painter all rolled in to one. When I say “rolled”, slabs rolled and extruded are a major part of his work.

Some of these architectural pieces are so big that they need to be filled with concrete before siting, but they are every bit as durable as public artworks in other media. To enhance their durability, Jim

Jim is renowned for making large works, including many public installations. In our own region, there is a Jim Robison original above Debenhams in the Grafton Centre in Cambridge. The four large panels celebrate twinning between Cambridge and Heidelberg.

Jim Robison is a Missouri anglophile, now living in Yorkshire, where he has run a gallery for 30 years. Appropriately enough for such a comedian, he lives in Holmfirth, famous as the setting for

carefully considers drainage holes. These are in addition to the bolt holes required for the final placing.

Juliet Gorman

As well as the slab work that he demonstrated for us, Jim makes much use of press moulds to “bring some reality into his work.” This is in marked contrast to his painterly techniques, in which freedom of movement with the brush, a mixture of glazes and the freedom to imagine his subject areas is apparent.


Captions, clockwise from top left: Jim realises that his pot is neatly joined but topsy turvy; part of his Cambridge installation; rolling slabs; pneumatic extruder; armpowered extruder; slabbed pot with extruded rim; splinting a large wet slab; detail of dish including torn edges, a feature that excites the maker. All words and pictures, MB.

Many handbuilders make their pots and then decorate them. By making use of slab rollers, extruders and textured fabrics to form patterns, Jim brings decoration directly into the making process.

For example, he takes coloured coils of clay and rolls them into other slabs. He also rolls various textures into his slabs, which then take colour in unusual ways, like a watercolourist using the tooth of the paper to break an expanse of wash. Barring a bit of finishing off with an angle grinder to smooth glaze runs, most potters consider their work complete when it leaves the kiln. As well as the issue of siting public works, Jim is happy to carry on working with clay in the fired state, by sanding and grinding to achieve the precise effects he desires. Or is it that he simply can’t let go? Clay gets fussy when it is overworked or taken too large. Jim tries to keep contact with slabs to a minimum to prevent its collapsing, and he also makes use of various formers and wooden splints to help

maintain wet strength. He finds it is important not even to move his slabs too much when they are wet. Jim also emphasised the need for strong joints, even drying and patience in his work. He tends to form slabs on one day and decorate the next, although he did say that he finds it hard to resist playing with coloured slips. Extrusions provide Jim with another creative way of producing clay forms. These range from mastic guns upwards. Jim particularly uses small extrusions for rims and other additions to his slabware. Sliced open, extrusions also form a very distinctive type of slab. The die with which he makes these is shaped carefully to aid fixing to the top of the slab. It is also important to place the hole in the die centrally if you want the extrusion to come out without curling. Finally, an Anglian Potters demonstration wouldn’t be complete without at least one priceless potters’ tip. Jim suggested keeping glaze recipes in a photo album, where they can be protected by a wipe-clean surface. Simple, but effective. MB

We only scratched the surface of the creative possibilities of extruders on this day. The principle of an extruder may be just a giant cake icer, but in practice extruding a substance as solid as clay is hard work, and the two extruders brought along on the day provided different solutions. Ray Auker brought a prototype pneumatic extruder (above) that hissed and blew impressively and, when perfected, will take all the effort out of producing a huge amount of extrusions. By contrast, Jerry Finlayson’s handpowered machine (below) used simple leverage, but still produced coils and tubes of clay with reasonable ease. You probably wouldn’t want to spend all day with one, though.


—Book review—Mark Boyd

An alternative view of the camp from an anonymous newly Selected Member

enough space to get to the bottom of the problem.

Down in the deep at Shotley Dell Pyromaniacs gather, their numbers swell Seeking a fix of fire and smoke A peculiar lot Anglian pottery folk

For example, when looking at cracks, he says simply: “cracks do not just happen; they are caused. Furthermore they do not suddenly arise; they begin from some defect or point of maximum stress, and then grow.” From this matter-of-fact start point, Fraser then puts on his metaphorical deerstalker, puffs on his meerschaum and take the reader on a detective story. This crack will be understood!

Squatting in boats, old vans and tents An anxious weather eye on the elements We set up home amongst the trees The derelict cars and JCBs Temples are built and set on fire The fever pitch grows even higher Offerings made of all shape of pot Glowing red as the flames grow hot Being positive has attained almost cult status in today’s society. Somehow, we are expected to get everything we need from life by simply following a positive path. But we all know that just isn't so, especially in pottery. So many pottery manuals focus simply on how to get things right, that they miss the obvious point that things go wrong all too frequently and are themselves excellent learning opportunities.

All weekend while the fire mouths burn The potters get a chance to learn To press a tile without a rush Or secrets of the sponge and brush At last the kilns give up their prizes Once again the temperature rises Have the gods been kind,? perhaps not. Wow! Look at that Shino on that pot Food to satisfy every desire A wheel made out of an old car tyre Some new friends to share Sunday lunch The Anglia potters are a super bunch

This book is different. Now in an expanded and largely full colour second edition, Ceramic Faults and their Remedies starts where most other pottery books quietly walk away—at that point when you open your recently cooled kiln to find that not all is well.

Wood, Raku, Salt and Soda done A shiny pot for everyone All de-camp fired up and merry Goodbye to Shotley - well done Jerry Beryl Hines Jerry Finlayson, host of the camp 10

Of course, one potter’s ceramic fault is another’s creative opportunity (although it is hard to think how low green strength may be considered desirable) so this book doesn’t take a judgemental tone. Instead it assumes that a fault is simply an effect that wasn’t intended, rather like the notion of a weed being a wildflower simply growing in the wrong place. Fraser takes an analytical approach to ceramic faults, moving comfortably between the various ceramic disciplines as well as between the physics, chemistry and mechanics of problems. By the nature of the subject matter, this can inevitably become quite technical, but the book devotes

Almost a by-product of this book is the way it expands the vocabulary. A crack is no longer just a crack—it can quite obviously be an S-crack, or a spiral crack or the result of dunting, say. Before you know it, your bumpy bits are transformed into bloating, and other lumps may be smoothly deflocculated, and yes, I am still talking about ceramics. Even if you only want to indulge in gamesmanship, you need to understand these terms. I have two issues with this book: first, the author takes quite a lenient line towards manufacturers, and barely mentions others in the link between geology and your kiln. As a beginner, and occasionally since, I have fallen foul of using clay that was ill-prepared at manufacture or poorly stored by the supplier since. When you buy clay, it should be fit for purpose, but that isn’t always so. Being non-judgemental is one thing, but it would help to be told when the finger of blame really ought to point elsewhere. Secondly, I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner any more than an encyclopaedia of medicine should accompany a newly qualified firstaider with hypochondriac tendencies. Some faults simply disappear with experience. You will not encounter many of the problems listed here routinely. Having said that, I still use the first edition of this book as occasion merits and expect to use this comprehensively updated edition, too. If I had to choose only three practical ceramics books for my library, this would find a place.


EAPA clay stores Clay from Valentines, Staffordshire. An inexpensive source of clay for Association members. Phone to confirm availability.

Rob Bibby

All now will be sold in 12.5 Kg bags with the exception of paper clay.

Glazing with Rob Bibby Following the interest shown in my decorating techniques at this year’s Potters’ Camp, I would like to offer a couple of courses during the early part of 2006. These will focus on glazing and decorating using brush, sponge and air brush techniques. Students can bring their own pots to work on or they can buy pots from me. The weekend will include a not-too-scientific talk abut glaze composition, firing kilns etc and we will do a firing overnight. The course will be held at my studio in Woodnewton near Peterborough and will cost £95 with 10% off for Anglian Potters. Local accommodation can be arranged. Please phone Rob Bibby 01780 470866 for details. Wanted Old gas kiln or electric kiln for conversion to gas. Ann Fishwick, 01473 327588. Materials for sale Wendy Salt wants rid of her late husband’s pottery materials, including: • 25kg terracotta. • Flius - 5 kg • Talc - 8 kg • Magnesium carbonate - 2 kg • R1091 - 20 kg • Soda Feldspar - 15kg • Hi plas - 22 kg • Hi plas - 25 kg • Tilting plate decorating wheel • Large and small bats Tel: Hunstanton (01485) 532605

Special Fleck stoneware £5.15 Firing 1150oc -1300oc Red earthenware £3.20 Firing 1080oc - 1140oc White B17C stoneware £4.50 P2 Porcelain £6.65 Firing 1220oc - 1250oc Royal porcelain £8.75 ES5 Stoneware Original £6.70 ES130 White earthenware £6.00 Audrey Blackman porcelain £10.00 ES40 Handbuilding material £8.75 ES50 Crank £6.00 TS Flaxpaper clay ES200 £6.00 per 5 Kg bag V9G £3.65 ROGER PHILLIPPO The Old Bakehouse, Harston, Cambridge, CB2 5NP Tel: (01223) 870277 DEBORAH BAYNES Nether Hall, Shotley, Ipswich, Suffolk IP9 19W Tel. 0473 788300

Ceramic Helpline Having a bit of bother that your supplier can’t resolve? Why not contact one of these members who have agreed to share their expertise? Allan Foxley - handbuilding & reduction firing—01799 522631 Colin Saunders - plaster mouldmaking—01379 588 278 Victor Knibbs - oxidised stoneware, electric kilns, modifying clay bodies—

01480 214741 Deborah Baynes - Raku, stone/ earthenware (reduction & oxidised), salt glaze—01473 788300 Beryl Hines - general, earthenware, Raku—01473 735437 Usch Spettigue - raw glazing/single firing—01473 787587 Tony Eeles – paperclay—01366

382586 Erica Mattingly – some woodfired kilns—01223 353765 Margaret Gardiner – salt glaze—01279

654025 Sonia Lewis—high-fired ware including porcelain—01353 688316

If you are willing to give advice, and are willing to be added to this list, please contact the Editor: Mark Boyd 01767 650904.

Virtual potting Have you seen our new website yet? Treat yourself!

LEN KNOWLES 4 Fairview Avenue, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex SS17 0DW Tel: 01375 404031 Please remember that the Clay Stores are run by volunteers. Kindly phone or collect during normal office hours. Telephone to arrange a convenient time to call. Collect with a cheque payable to Anglian Potters with cheque card number and membership number. Pottery for sale Well-maintained 17th Century cottage. 2 Beds, 2 fine studios and store room. c/h and secondary double glazing. Halesworth Town Centre. No onward Chain. £245,000. Ring 01986 872618 for details. What’s your website? Tell the Editor. 11

—Ger potter’s market— Work by Myriam Pieplu and Cyril Prevel

On the previous day a variety of kilns had been built and fired at an evening party – Soirée du Feu with West African food, music and dancing. We would certainly make a point of attending the whole event another year. This was not a large-scale, slick, commercial event but a stimulating and enjoyable opportunity to see ceramic work from two continents and several centuries in a beautiful setting. The friendly company, good food and warm sunshine were a bonus.

Rosemary Bradshaw describes a visit to a potters’ market in Normandy. Ger is a quiet country town set among the valleys and woods of southern Normandy, where there are still small fields with cows and scrubby apple orchards. In the 19th century, the area was an important centre for the production of domestic stoneware, employing more than 700 craftsmen and exporting its wares across western France. Today the site at Placître, just outside Ger, is the home of the regional museum of pottery. Old kilns and workshops are preserved alongside other buildings, such as “the master’s house” and the drying shed. There is a comprehensive display of the clays and traditional styles of pots from various ceramic centres in Normandy, as well as a wealth of historical information about the site and local area. At the time of our visit the audiovisual theatre was showing the work of West African potters, in line with the theme of this summer’s events at the museum. We visited at the climax of the season, a potters’ market, on a hot day in late August. There were visiting potters from West Africa, music and dancing and an IvoiroCameroon meal. It was a happy, 12

relaxed event in a lovely setting. Thirty invited potters from the wider local region displayed their work, including some we had seen before at other summer festivals, such as the Medieval Fair at Bayeux, or whose studios we have visited. The work of Myriam Pieplu and Cyril Prevel was already familiar to us and they had a bright and varied display, with soft shapes and brushwork to match. There were demonstrations throughout the day, of raku (participatory), throwing, and West African techniques, and entertainment for the children. Refreshments were readily available (of course, this is France!).

The market is an annual event on the last weekend in August. For details see the website - http:// musee_poterie.asp.

For information on potters and events in Northwest France is a colourful and interesting site. I would be happy to share any knowledge I have of the region – you can contact me via email at

Rosemary Bradshaw

Bread was being made for sale, traditionally baked in the cooling kilns.

Membership of the EAPA is open to all Ordinary £27 (half year, £15) Joint (for two people at the same address) : £45 (half year £25) Institution for a college or workshop: £45 (half year (£27) (details on application to the Membership Secretary) Student open to full time students studying ceramics (proof of status is required) : £10 Apply to the Membership Secretary.

Copy date for Spring 2006 Newsletter—January 15th All contributions are welcome, be they typed, emailed, hand-drawn, phoned, slip-trailed or sgraffitoed (go on, I dare you!). Prints, slides or fine-quality picture files (over 100kb) either to accompany articles or with a caption are also welcome. If you want to see something in the Newsletter, write it! All contributions help reduce your Editor’s stress levels.

2005 04 Winter  
2005 04 Winter  

Jim Robison—big potter Potters’ Camp 2005—the highlights and the lowdown Anglian Potters at Primavera 1 • • •