Another beautiful week weather wise, and the glaze experimenting continues. We went to West Bay and visited Sladers Yard, to admire the Richard Batterham stoneware yet again - the colours of the glazes were so amazing and the whole collection made me feel so happy - it was possible to pick up the pieces, albeit gingerly, and this was the joy of it. As explained by Anna Powell in an excellent article in the local Marshwood publication:
His pleasure in making is that of someone who does something very well with absolute concentration. ‘You get into the right frame of mind and just do it,’ he says as if that was the simplest thing in the world. ‘What is that frame of mind?’ I asked him once. ‘You have to get rid of your ego,’ he replied.
Looking at the pots we have selected for the show, Richard turns to me, ‘They’re things to hold not to gawp at,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t have to be anything very amazing. Sometimes, you look at a pot and it just does it and you think, that was worth it.’
Shoji Hamada and philosopher Yanagi Sōetsu, had coined the word Mingei meaning the hand-crafted art of ordinary people. In his seminal book The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty released in UK in Bernard Leach’s own adaptation in 1972, Yanagi put the case that real beauty is to be found in craft made before the culture of individualism became current, craft that was made over and over again by workers in a culture of ‘modesty, restraint and inwardness, an aesthetic based upon simple naturalness and reverence.’ This quiet way is how Richard makes his pots, and it is the reason they shine out in our egocentric world.
This was quite illuminating for me, and chimed with my approach to creating simple tableware, functional but with a charm derived by its slow but peaceful and happy creation.
Here are two of the pots in the exhibition -both have glazes and texture that have set my imagination alight!
After this, I went back to my studio and mixed up a green glaze (back to basics and earth) and am quite pleased about how it has turned out on some jugs and mugs.
Next to try some pots with lids, an idea from Florian Gadsby's fantastic Instagram. I am also anxious to try yellow and red glazes as well as different colours on inside and out - I have thrown some bigger bowls so can't wait to experiment.....As Lucian Freud was quoted in Man with a Blue Scarf, which I have now finished unfortunately, 'One has to find the courage to keep on trying.'
His painting Girl with a white dog remains very special for me, as I have life long love of dogs, bull terriers , greyhounds and lurchers in particular. My mother grew up with bull terriers in India and had them most of her adult life; our rescue greyhounds are the most gentle creatures ever. The psychological exploration in this painting is very powerful.
So... some images of me and Trev enjoying the heat and the afore mentioned glaze - a start for me anyway!