Rumours of my Incarceration are Greatly Exaggerated.

Sorry, I am at it again.  This time poor old Mark Twain is getting misquoted but not without just cause if you ask me.  You see I have been out and about collecting mud again, this time in a torrential rainstorm, and the residents of a small, respectable town in Devon are probably expressing grave concerns!

This all started because I have been invited to be the featured artist in an exhibition called Escape by The Hybrid Gallery in Honiton this summer.  I am excited by this opportunity and thought it would be sensible to begin my making by making a visit to see the space.

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We lay like sardines in the back of the car

I remember Honiton.  We used to have to drive through it on our way to visit grandparents in Torquay.  Then we lay sardine fashion in the back of our Morris Traveller estate, watching the lights and the telegraph poles swoop by on  seemingly endless journeys.  Now you flash past on the bypass with children firmly strapped into child seats.

Then it was famous for lace and there was a pottery in the town employing quite a number of people making slipcast functional ware.  Now many of the shops are gift or good food orientated and there is a Pottery Café on the site of the old pottery which hosts parties where you can decorate pre-fired wares whilst sipping smoothies and tucking into a panini.

 

It was years since I had visited the town and the rain on this particular day was  not at all conducive to sight seeing but Honiton is a true gem! Having had a bit of a look around I squelched my way to the public library where a quick search of the local history section revealed that the original pottery had, for many years, made use of a seam of clay running behind the workshop.  That was all the invitation I needed!

I was off – scampering up the main street and leaping puddles like the sure favorite in the National.  Lo and behold the house beside the pottery was having building work done and so, swathed in my sodden jacket and dripping with rain clutching trowel and zip lock bags in my damp, little hand, I knocked at the door.  Just then a young lad came round the corner of the house.  His expression on hearing my request was one of mild shock and incredulity but he agreed to my request and so, before he could call for men with straight jackets, I was down on my knees.  Three sandwich bags later (and, some would say, several short of a picnic) I was back at the car with my trophies and ready to start making.

 

The creative Vibe is alive and well.

It is wonderful what a calming effect this aquatic life is giving me.  I have managed to make a load of work this week, despite the heat in my studio, which in August is normally enough to drive me out.  It is just as well really.  The pressure on me to create was growing exponentially.  I had 4 more works to make for an exhibition in Cornwall at Tregony Gallery which starts in early September; I have a lot to do to prepare for Kew Gardens in October – it might seem ages away but I shall be in Canada throughout September; I had a commission to finish for a 70th birthday present and I need to restock my shelves at Klay London.  So a wee bit of making was always going to be a good thing.

IMG_20160804_121725However, the desire to create is also an ephemeral thing – here one minute, vanished the next so it is always a huge relief to me when I turn up at the studio and find that I can get right on with it.  The days when I seem to need to spend an hour or more on Facebook, wash the floor, tidy the shelves and still the urge to make does not come are really very difficult.  Does anyone else have this problem I wonder?

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Finished works – one a commission, one destined for Tregony Gallery

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I suddenly wanted to make big!

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Please form an orderly queue for the kiln

 

Anyway, this week I have been churning it out.  The kiln has been fired 3 times and the shelves are groaning under the weight of drying works.  Phew, what a relief!  But the best thing?  At the end of the day, covered in dust and feeling tired, I can sit on the pontoon beside the boat with a glass in my hand and my feet in the water and watch the cygnets practicing their one footed swimming – and BREATHE.

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One legged swimming will take place after a rest in the sun.