Tuesday, July 31, 2007

leaving home

When we moved to France nearly four years ago most of our worldly goods were packed into a huge (and as it turned out, leaky) lorry and we set off to drive the 800 miles in the car . We, being the three of us and an enormous cat travelling cage for our two not terribly impressed cats. It took up the whole of the boot so we were able to take very little else with us - overnight stuff, important documents and a small box of things I put together to help us feel at home as soon as we got there. It was a bit like a Desert Island Discs exercise! I took, in no particular order of preference, our blue teapot, my own personal cup, the candlesticks we use every night, a framed photo of my mother which is on the desk beside me now, a plastic, wind up, glow in the dark angel (!) and three Jane Muir little ceramic men. Oh and British Rail teabags of course!

The tea pot was made by my brother John and makes two perfect cups of tea. When life is uncertain you need a good cup of tea. I admit to being sentimental and the fact that my brother threw this pot with his own hands adds greatly to my enjoyment of it. The cup has been my favourite for years - how it has lasted this long I don't know. I don't know the name of the potter and have never seen other work by him/her. I bought it at the Clode Gallery in Bridgnorth which has closed down now. Then three little men.. I love Jane Muir's work. I used to sell it at Twenty Twenty and each new delivery flew out the door. I think the little men started as glaze tests and then people starting buying them at Jane's occasional studio sales. They're now one of her staples. They make me smile. I have another larger piece of hers but I'll leave that one for another day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

a little detour

A little while ago Karin asked her readers to tell her about their favourite ceramic pieces and the story, if any, behind them. Ceramics figure prominently in my home and life, from those I use daily to eat and drink from to the decorative pieces which are spread throughout the house. Over the next few weeks while school is out and work is on the back burner I'm going to show you some of my favourites and perhaps introduce you to some makers you may not have come across before.

I'm starting with some pots by Nigel Lambert. I have a huge bowl (see photo with small boy for scale!), some cups, pourers and jugs. The cups we use every morning for hot, milky coffee. They are wide cups to wrap your hands around, the walls are thick and they appear to have been thrown quickly which gives them an energy I love. There is energy too in the decoration, painterly sweeps and splotches of glaze. At the base of my cup are Nigel's fingermarks where he held it to pour out the slip and in so doing left an indelible signature.

The big bowl is in use every week for breadmaking. It is very big (I make three batches of dough in it at a time) and consequently a bit unwieldy but I love to use it. My husband lives in fear of me breaking it but I say pots are made to be used. I'm mildly intrigued at how much I like this work as I tend to like things which are quite meticulous and structured. There is an sense of controlled chaos to these pots. For me the one seems to enhance the other.