Will You Still Love Me?

There is a move afoot to go and live in Cornwall properly this summer.  I am extremely excited about this – I have handed in my notice for my teaching post and, whist I will miss the lovely children that I teach 3 days per week, I am very excited about the future . . . . .

Well, I think I am!  I love Cornwall.  It is, to all intents and purposes, my home anyway and the Roseland Peninsular is calling me in no uncertain terms.

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The Roseland Peninsular is calling me.

But, and it is a very big but, what will happen to my ceramics?

 

Eventually I will have a studio in St Mawes.  I have the planning permission for it, it will be easy to reach whenever I want to pop in for a few hours or just for 10 minutes to check on the kiln, I wont have to drive through the London traffic taking up to an hour to go about 6 miles, I can sip my coffee gazing at the weather coming in over the Lizard.  What’s not to like?

Absolutely nothing!  Except, it is a risk isn’t it – this jumping off the rat race.  Wimbledon offers me so much.  It may cost a bit but it gives me easy access to a fabulous customer base without whom I would have stopped playing with clay long ago.  The twice yearly Open Studios, the next one of which is coming up in May, regularly sees 4-5 thousand people come through the doors.  The feedback which they provide on the work they see in your studio is invaluable and the purchases that they make are extremely affirming of the effort which one puts in for the rest of the year.  In addition,  when the feeling leaves me and I don’t know what to do, there is always the kettle.

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Wimbledon Artists Studios gives me so much of what I need as an artist.

You can usually find someone to bounce and idea off, share a moment of frustration with or simply ask how they are doing.  Then off you go, back to work feeling a release from the doubt or what ever was bugging you.  In addition to that, the is Klay.  Our new baby is growing fast.

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Klay is doing so well.

It has done so well in the short time that it has been in operation that the 12 of us had a long and deep discussion this week about what happens when we get to the end of our three months popping up in Camden.  I want to be a part of this project.  I believe that it has a great deal of mileage and, judging by the response that we are getting from our customers and also from Camden itself (whose generosity allowed us to get up and popping in the first place), I am not alone in this belief.

 

It seems to me that I ma going to need to find some way of having it all!

And we have lift off . . .

I can hardly believe that our pop up shop is now open for business.  It was only mid January when we had the first beginnings of an idea and it was only on Monday that we got the keys to the premises.  Previous to that there was a huge amount of planning and preparation to do and since Monday it has been all hands to the pump cleaning and decorating ready for our first day of business on Thursday. 12802780_589962844503429_4591393063765265220_n[1] The results of all this hard work is a great little gallery which all 12 of us are truly loving!  Equally important is the feeling of camaraderie which this project has generated.  The jobs to be done have been taken on willingly and happily by all and I am only aware of a sense of contentment derived from us pulling together to create something new, exciting and, in its own small way, amazing.  It is extraordinary how well our work sits together.  Obviously, since ten of the twelve met and trained together, we have a shared sense of values and there is a feeling of harmony within our work and yet, in addition, the City Lit Ceramics Department impressed on us the need for originality and independent thinking which now shines through the entire gallery.  Quality functional ware sits comfortably side by side with contemporary vessels and sculptural work and the entire look is one seems really comfortable.

One of our visitors yesterday was Luke Bishop.  he is a former graduate form Ciy Lit too and is now doing really well in the field of ceramic art.  he confessed to me that he was mildly envious of our project and we chatted for a while about how it had come about.  Honestly, I think if it hadn’t been for the wonderful way in which we had related to each other and supported each other through the trauma, excitement, exhaustion and sheer hard work which was the diploma, we would not be here in Camden now and I know that my life would be less rich as a result.

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The Klay Gallery tucked up tight at the end of its first Saturday.

I am not aware of any other group graduates who have embarked on something like this but, if you are out there, please get in touch as it would be great to share our experiences.

Popping Up

This week I have joined a number of my City Lit Diploma graduate contemporaries in signing the least on a small unoccupied premises in Camden.  The council in this most enlightened borough of London believes that it is bad for the area to have too many empty shops and so they have come up with a fantastic idea to support emerging businesses.  For a short period they pay your rent and electricity bills and you contract to open the shop and make the area look more lively.  Well it seemed to us like an opportunity too good to ignore and so Klay was born!

We are a group of 12 ceramic artists, some making functional pieces, others decorative, but all of us working in the realm of contemporary ceramics.  The shop doesn’t look like much at the moment but with a lick of paint and some clean shelving, it has real promise.  There is a great little café next door and a couple of other galleries in the area and transport links are great; Kentish Town and Chalk Farm stations nearby and a bus stop right outside.  So now the hard work begins – designs, bags, bubble wrap, decoration, payment methods, rotas for manning – and, oh yes, making!  Going to be a frantic few weeks I feel!

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It only needs a lick of paint!

 

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It only needs a lick of paint!