I’ve finally finished a few odd jobs around the house. One of which was getting this print stretched. It’s by Matthew the Horse and last year he visited the studio to work on a few examples for our Ceramics Taster: Trail.
Coil pots to Tulipiere in 10 weeks of making. Look at that offset foot. Each part has one so each pot appears to hover above the table. Design details like that make me smile. This amazing Tulipiere stack was made by David during one of our six week evening classes. David has already completed our Beginner’s Bundle: Build and has progressed onto the next course. If you’re interested in learning basic pottery making techniques and processes visit Tasters, Courses and Events.
In September I was asked to make some colourful ceramic thimbles for the ‘Fairy Lady’ Samantha Bryan. Samantha is inspired by Victorian gadgetry and invention and creates humorous suspended, wall mounted and free standing sculptures out of a combination of wire, leather, found objects & collected materials. These unusual sculptures depict everyday life in ‘fairyland’. Samantha species of fairies are beautifully crafted and each tells an endearing story built around ideas on what they need, the perils they face and how busy they are. Listen to Samantha talk about being an inventor and story teller in her film ‘Desire to Fly’.
The popup shop at Carousel in Headingley was an opportunity to showcase our ceramic products – necklaces, brooches, bangles & spoons – alongside our clay workshops. The aim was to have a street presence where we could promote the studio and chat to passers by. The popup shop is smaller than our permanent ceramics studio in Roundhay. However, because it doesn’t contain all the tools & kit needed to operate a ceramics studio we were also able to invite bigger groups, more frequently, into the space. We hosted a range of introductory clay workshops in the Headingley space. The workshops covered coil building (Coil), spoon making (Whittle) festive bell making (Chime) and decorative ceramic Christmas decorations (Scatter). The larger space meant we could also accommodate larger private group bookings.
Earlier this year I invited Jenna Lee Alldread to the studio to work on a few examples for a ceramics workshop I was developing – Ceramics Taster: Trail. The workshop is an introduction decorative techniques. It covers working with coloured slips and explores techniques in applying pattern and illustrations to flatware (clay plates and tiles). The techniques covered include stencilling, sgraffito and slip trailing with coloured slip.
We now sell our pottery making workshops through Virgin Experiences. Visit our Studio or one of our Ceramics Tasters at a partner venue in Leeds. Choose from a range of pottery making techniques and processes. Try your hand at making pinch pots, coil pots, press moulding, slab building or experiment with slips and decorative technique.
“Every card, sheet of wrapping paper, gift, print, book, cushion (the list is endless) purchased from your local indie shop, craft fair, design market, small online shop this season will contribute to a maker or business owners longevity, supporting their growth and stability for the year ahead. Whether it’s a little or a lot, show your support and together we can continue to make our high streets, towns and villages prosper.” Hattie Maud, Mauds House.
We have three festive and seasonal ceramics workshops taking place in Leeds and Skipton this year.
Craft beer meets and greets craft and the welcome is a reassuring and affirming embrace.
On the 4th August 2017 I was listening to the Last Word on BBC Radio 4. I heard a recording of Mark Wilkinson talking about furniture. He said “I want furniture that is affirmative not demanding. I don’t want to be nagged by my environment. I want to be comforted. I want it to speak to me of myself”. His candour resonated. Materials and the things we choose to live with are important and you should enjoy the things you choose to share your space and time with.
Here’s a piece of my furniture, and the things on it, that make me very happy. It’s 606 Universal Shelving designed by Dieter Rams and now manufactured and sold by Vitsoe. I spent last year saving for it & when I left my job I nearly changed my mind but… “sod it, bendy, precarious, Billy has to go!”. It’s the last sizeable, totally indulgent treat, I bought.
There have been some massive lows in the past 15 months but, although there have been some truly shitty bits, on the whole the changes have been for the best and I’m happier for it. I guess I’m mentioning this now as it’s important not to be nagged by anything… including furniture. It’s not just a bookshelf…
September was a busy month for ceramics workshops out & about. The first one I hosted this Autumn was the Ceramics Taster: Cup at Mauds House in Skipton. The welcome was warm & cosy. Guests were greeted at the door with a cheery chalk board and just inside there was a large glass jar of chilled juice and a large bowl of brownies. I didn’t have time to take many pictures of the workshop in progress but here are the finished results. Participants also enjoyed a 10% discount off goods at Mauds House during the workshop. Tempting. Very tempting…
Colour, colour. Like most of our workshops the Ceramics Taster: Fettle at Colours May Vary was developed rather serendipitously. With all external workshops I work with the venue to develop a proposal that reflects shared values. It was clear from the beginning that our ceramics workshops at Colours May Vary would involve graphical decorative techniques and colour.