A lumpy thing, but mine own

First bowl

This is here for no good reason other than to show you my first finished pot from my pottery class at The End Room, in the pretty village of Newton. It weighs a ton, as beginners’ pots tend to do; and it is rather lumpy. However, it is the first pot I have made since I left Brixton, twenty three years ago, and I am therefore ridiculously pleased to have done it and brought it home.

It is a coil pot – I never got very confident with coils in my earlier attempts at learning to make pottery – so decided I should try and get over my negative feelings about them. There is another one in the making – maybe a little less lumpy this time, but still pretty hefty.

I’m really enjoying playing with clay again – the feel of it is wonderful.

And I love the drive over to the pottery. Last week, before the class, I went to collect a piece of beef, to make Spiced Salt Beef, from a farm (Bassingthorpe Beef) over in the same direction, near Grantham. I had a wonderful adventure of a drive, through back roads and tiny villages, through a quietly beautiful landscape, so empty of people but full of human cultivation. It reminds me of drives in France on family holidays, when partner and I would sneak off to visit small wine producers, finding ourselves on rough tracks that seemed barely fit for cars, winding round mountains, finding amazing views, wild boar piglets and friendly winemakers. No wine or mountains here, no tourists, less money than in the south of France; but the same quietness, open fields, tiny settlements and people living on the land, getting on with the business of growing and making.

And though no wine, I feel drunk with the subtle beauties of this landscape.

4 thoughts on “A lumpy thing, but mine own

  1. Wonderful, that feeling.
    You have made me want to battle down the garden and retrieve the mossy bags of clay hidden in the hedge, waiting. Our garden conceals artful overgrown collections of embarrassing pots. Over the years I have discovered which ones were worth it and which deserved to be fragmented by frost.

    Ash glazes. Smoke firing … what joys to come.

    Any brickworks near you? You might be able to use their clay … and kilns.

    And now we know what the bakery is for.

  2. It’s a wood ash glaze on the First Pot, above.

    And yes, indeed, the old bakery would be great place for playing with clay – currently partner’s shelf-building activities and equipment are spreading over the whole space…. Hum…

    What fun, having bags of clay stashed around the garden!

  3. Very nice. I did a pottery evening class years ago at Hulme (when it was free to MCC employees – those were the days) and, though I wanted to learn to throw, actually found myself drawn to coil-building. I liked the slow, evolutionary nature of it, it seemed more contemplative than the fury of the wheel. Increasingly, the older I get, the more I like slow things!

  4. Thought of both of you, Liz and Ronessa, when we went to an interesting exhibition opening at The Hub (National Centre for Craft & Design) in Sleaford – called Synchronise, featuring work by pairs of artists/craftspeople collaborating. You would like some of the work in it – all quite different. I suppose I should write a post about it – been too busy thinking about trains and landscape!

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