I have enjoyed having an "enforced" break from the gallery over the Christmas period.
I do know that I spend too much time here and that it occupies my thoughts constantly
but it was only having a couple of days away that made me realize that
I live, think, breath, and dream
about the place every minute of each day, which I enjoy, but having a break made me understand
that it maybe doesn't make me an easy person to live with as I don't become involved enough with the normal events of family life.
So it was a pleasure to find that I have a family [and pack of dogs] who enjoyed
me [and my mind] being with them for a while,
as I enjoyed being with them.
However thoughts of the gallery and the coming year were never far from my thoughts
and I think "stepping away" for a little while has helped me focus
on what I want us to do and where we should be going in the coming year.
Trying many years ago to earn a living [supporting a family] as a potter,
and understanding the difficulty of this has left me with a lasting love of ceramics and
the craftsmen [and women] who make it.
I have always wanted us to be recognized as a "ceramics" gallery, and we will until the
day we close show ceramics in all its forms as it gives us great pleasure.
But, this past year has not been great for ceramics in terms of sales, pottery it seems has
become the art that people can live without.
This to a certain extent I can understand. For so many years potters struggled to become
recognized for the artists that they are, then with the advent of the Ceramic Fairs
this slowly changed and potters became not only acknowledged as craftsmen
but also as artists,
which has been both good and bad.
I think [only my thoughts] some people working with clay found it strange to find themselves
suddenly a celebrity and as a result acted as they felt "artists" should,
and as a result lost maybe a little bit of their own integrity, and
as a result perhaps overvalued their work, although of course like everything else the value
is determined to an extent by what the public will pay for something.
I have always felt that pots are to be used and handled daily
to fully enjoy them.
Breaking a pot should be a disappointment not a financial tragedy, but now too often I am
told by people that they own a pot by a "famous" potter and it is kept
in a case or cupboard in case it gets broken.
I can't understand this, as why own something that you can't take pleasure in
on a daily basis?
So it has been a great pleasure for me to have pots by many potters which are well
made, beautifully fired and which are meant to be used daily
and if broken is only a sad loss for an object of beauty.
So thinking about the coming year different potters and their work keep coming to mind,
they are people whose work I want to stock regardless of sales.
In May we have our exhibition of Jim Malone "Cumbrian Potter" which for me is a
dream come true, but aside from him I am determined
to show other people like Stephen Parry and Mark Griffiths, two men who are not only
very good potters but also "generous to a fault" and very nice people.
I would describe them as "gentlemen".
I know that if they ever read this they would both be embarrassed and would hate it.
They are "old fashioned" craftsmen and that's why I like them
and their work.
Pots aside, I definitely want to show more and more ceramic sculpture,
I find it so exciting to think that for a modest outlay you can own a "one of a kind"
I have a mental list of the people whose work I want to [or continue ] show.
Artists like Herman Muys, Emma Rodgers, Eve Shepherd, Fidelma Massey as well as
lesser known [in this country] people like
Harm van der Zeeuw.
So with my thoughts organised I'm looking forward to what the New Year holds for us
[in terms of ceramics that is].
Having said all of this I have just put out on display our most unlikely and unexpected
piece of ceramic art, a teapot by the artist
Now that's not something you see everyday, and if I dropped it then it would
be a financial loss.
Just call me a hypocrite.