A busy year

It’s been a bit mad this year – lots of fun, lots of hard work and some big changes. With one thing and another I havn’t made a single post since last April, so as it seems like the time of year for contemplation, I thought I’d do a little round-up of the year’s events since my last posting.

Harrogate – British Craft Trade Fair

Another good year at the BCTF – Ian tweaked the design of my stand, built some new shelving units, took some great photos of my work for posters, stroked me on the head, generally looked after me and made the stand look fab. And I won a “commended” award for excellence, which was nice.

Ian and his fantastic modular stand
Ian and his fantastic modular stand
Award winners at the BCTF
Award winners at the BCTF

As usual my neighbours were one of the best things about the fair and the quality of the work was brilliant. I particularly enjoyed Emma Williams‘ company and her lovely work, and I couldn’t resist swapping work with Deborah Barber and Michaela Grimshaw

Emma Williams at the BCTF
Emma Williams at the BCTF
Raku bird by Deborah Ann Barber
Raku bird by Deborah Ann Barber
Slip decorated mug by Michaela Grimshaw
Slip decorated mug by Michaela Grimshaw

Charnwood Potter’s Market

It’s always such a pleasure to do this event, to meet the friendly community of potters and to persuade the good folk of Charnwood to come and get their hands dirty on the potter’s wheel. This video is from 2013 when Gideon Cummings and Jo Keogh lent a hand with the “have a go on the potter’s wheel” stall. What larks Pip!

Open Garden and Secret Craft Fair

Janet Currie and Pete Mosley invited me into their shed this June, along with some fairies. More potter’s wheel fun, and some fairy wishes taken care of too. Janet’s beautiful garden also provided lots of inspiration for me, and she was kind enough to let me pick some plant specimens to use in my work.

fairies at the bottom of the garden
fairies at the bottom of the garden
Pete and Janet's lovely garden
Pete and Janet's lovely garden
bisque pots painted with oxide
bisque pots painted with oxide
fresh from the kiln
fresh from the kiln
Trays on a "bird table" plinth amongst the flowers
Trays on a "bird table" plinth amongst the flowers

Melton Country Fair

This was my 4th year doing this event, and it was every bit as enjoyable as usual, despite the unexpectedly cold weather! We were flat out all day, eventually having to turn people away when we ran out of boxes to put the finished pots in. Besides, we needed to stop – the food stalls were amazing and those cakes and wine wern’t going to eat and drink themselves!
Jo, Ian and I also did the Melton Victorian Xmas fair, which made the summer one seem positively tropical in comparison. At one point the gazebo nearly took off, I grabbed hold and felt my feet leave the ground before the other stallholders dashed to my rescue! Once the wind died down and the sun came back out we had fun though – the fair had a really lovely atmosphere, and even though my attempt at authentic Victorian costume was a touch pathetic, Ian and Jo looked great!

Victorian potters
Victorian potters - photo Jo Keogh
Jo looking much more convincingly Victorian than me
Jo looking much more convincingly Victorian than me
"Have a go on the potter's wheel" Melton Victorian Xmas Fair
"Have a go on the potter's wheel" Melton Victorian Xmas Fair
Potting with a broken leg at Melton Country Fair
Potting with a broken leg at Melton Country Fair

RawArts

I had a very rewarding time working with Jemma Bagley and her RawArts group – Charnwood Arts collaborate with the NHS and invite adults with long term mental health illnesses to join this creative group. I’ve worked with RawArts before and here are links showing a Raku day we did and a really beautiful book project called “Tea with Alice” that the group did with Jemma, Jo Sheppard and myself.

Raku

I also did lots of Raku this summer
A couple of sessions in Queen’s Park Loughborough with Charnwood Arts

Young Raku potters
Young Raku potters - in Queen's Park, Loughborough

A birthday party for Jemma Bagley in Nita Rao‘s lovely studio and garden

Getting ready to light the burner
Getting ready to light the burner at Nita Rao's studio
Fired pots in the reducing bin
Fired pots in the reducing bin at Nita Rao's studio

Some at The Green Space in Sileby

Raku bottles at The Green Space Sileby
Raku bottles at The Green Space Sileby
raku egg cup
photo - Jo Keogh

People are so enthusiastic and inspiring whenever we Raku. It’s the best thing ever!