‘Great Pots Tell Stories’

Went to ‘Ritual and Setting – Great Pots Tell Stories’ talk by Ashley Howard hosted by the Farnham Arts Trust.  The evening weather was awful and I was in two minds whether to go…talks and lectures – aren’t they for other generations?  Anyway, decided to be brave and headed out.  The first test was to get inside the church hall (not quite what I imagined), after loitering around outside for 5 minutes (looking suspicious)…..we talked ourselves in to ringing the door bell.    We were warmly welcomed, although I did get the impression they were surprised to see us!  Things started to look up when we were offered a glass of red wine and I saw a couple of fellow West Street Potters.

Thoroughly inspired by Ashley’s talk and very pleased I put aside my preconceptions to attend.  Running though his pottery conquests, experiments, thought processes and achievements, I admired his enthusiasm, integrity and passion for ceramics and teaching.  He went on to explain the background, inspiration and physical process of his recent exhibition in Winchester Cathedral, which I really wish I had seen.

He also raised important issues such as the loss of technique and skill in craftsmanship.  For example, ceramics courses these days no longer teach students to throw a ‘perfect’ teapot, a historical pottery benchmark of skill and good practice.

I love the forms of Ashley’s work, but in particular, he makes great glazes, which, when I am about to embark on glaze experimentation myself is something to aim for.  Kathy keeps bringing this pot of Ashley’s into class on Thursday…to tease me I think.  It is made of the chunky black clay, but has a voluptuous, volcanic white glaze.  Trying to make a white glaze that will stay white on the black clay when fired is a project.  Maybe, now I have been to his talk, I could simply ask him how he did it….or is that cheating!?

'Ashley Howard' pot

I am new fan of lectures and talks…….if not only for the question and answer session at the end.  I got the giggles!  “So tell me, what do you think of Clarise Cliff” has to be a classic.  And if that doesn’t make it worthwhile venturing out on a cold and wet evening to sit in a church hall….there is always the complimentary wine!



Filed under Research

4 responses to “‘Great Pots Tell Stories’

  1. Cumbrian exile

    Ashley Howards fonts are so big they could be garden ponds. Bigger kiln required?

  2. ashley howard

    The white glaze on the chunky black is
    felspar 60
    dolomite 20
    china clay 20



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