A mixed and hectic week, but an interesting one.
A lot of my time has been spent working as a carpenter at the new gallery, Irene couldn't afford a carpenter so she drafted me in to get lots of things finished, or nearly finished.
Each day I would think "I will be done by tomorrow and back to my real job", but no such luck it seems that there is always one more thing to do. Still I have enjoyed it as it makes a change to be doing something with my hands other than picking up the telephone.
The week really started last Sunday when I had to visit a ceramic fair in Oxford.
Even though I used to be a potter in a much earlier life [it seems like someone Else's] I don't really enjoy going to these events, many people know me and I seem to spend far too much time talking.
As an example at this event it took me one and a half hours to walk ten yards, as every time I said
"well I must get on I haven't seen anything yet" I would walk to the next stand and then it was a case of "hello, hows things? It's been a long time no see".
So it goes on, which I'm not complaining about as I was talking to lots of nice craftsmen who I
enjoy visiting and talking with when I visit them, but when you only have a day it is incredible how fast it disappears and really at these events I would much prefer to be invisible and wander
about looking at objects deciding what I liked without feeling judged by my decisions.
In reality I don't suppose for a moment that any of them remember my visit but it's just the way it makes me feel.
So, why did I go if that's how I feel?
Well ever since we opened we have stocked pots by a French woman named Loiuse Gardelle,
they are very different and evocative of the 1940/50's era, and are distinctively French
[I swear at times you can smell the garlic] and I absolutely love them.
About once a year a large crate arrives from France full of straw and pots, how they survive the journey I can't imagine but they do and we have never had a breakage.
It is strange to think that these pots from the south of France have built up a collectors base here in this little corner of England, and we have people coming in on a regular basis asking "any new Gardelle pots"?
So it was with some alarm after sending a few recently to Scotland that I discovered that we only had three left. Impossible, we never have less than twenty.
But three it was, then only one.
I tried to contact Louise but she was in Holland at a showing ceramics, I looked on the web and found the fair where she was exhibiting and the location and decided to go.
Then I found that it wasn't an easy to reach location, it wasn't too far from Arnham the place
famous in the film "A bridge too Far".
They had trouble getting there back then and it didn't seem like too much had changed over the years as far as transport was concerned so reluctantly I gave up on the idea, but then help came.
is another potter whose work we always have on show, apart from being one of the nicest and busiest potters I know of Tony also seems to be the most travelled.
How he finds time to make ceramics I will never know, if he isn't exhibiting at some prestigious
gallery then he seems to be somewhere in the world showing his work at a ceramic fair.
So of course it didn't matter how far or how many bridges to cross Tony was going to be at the fair in Holland, and he very kindly [as if he didn't have enough to do] offered to be a courier
for Louise Gardelle.
This was a few weeks ago but since then we haven't had a chance to meet up until last Sunday in
Oxford where Tony was showing his work, so this was my real purpose for making the visit there.
So on Sunday I did arrive back home with a collection of new French pots
[most of which have sold in the past week].
As an added bonus also at the Oxford fair was an artist/potter named Jennie Hale.
We are going to exhibit Jennie's art and ceramics next year so it was good to have a chance to catch up with her and discuss some of the details.
Jennie is a potter, but first and foremost she is an artist who is in love with nature.
In the early morning she is out with her dog and sketchbook and come darkness she is out again accompanied by her faithful shadow, the perfect companion when drawing newts, frogs and toads by torchlight in the woodland.
In between she is a mother, wife and somehow a potter.
Her pots are decorated with her sketches of the wild life she sees.
It is hard to understand which is more important to her, art or the pots,but I suppose the two are combined, and inseperable.
She has had a book published of her wildlife diaries.
Like her ceramics it is innocent fresh and very invigorating.
So I returned from the show with the work of three potters, and though I had only intended to talk and show the work of one, here is a little taste of them all.
I really think that it is only fair that I come back to them each in turn and show and tell more.
So above at the top [and the reason for my visit] is a bowl by Louise Gardelle.
A Puffin bowl by Jennie Hale plus a sample page from her Diary.
Last and not least a large bowl by the man who made it possible, Tony Laverick.
His beautiful porcelain bowl is not only decorated with real gold but is translucent, with a light directed into it it glows and seems to take on a life of its own.
Three different talented and very nice people.