We all like a nice surprise now and then and today that is just what I had.
Of course it is the time of year when we are looking forward to receiving something that we desire,
something special, something unexpected.
It doesn't always happen but it is good when it does.
So here is an early Christmas present I received from the ceramist Geoff Swindell.
Well, it wasn't exactly a present but it was certainly a nice surprise.
Perhaps I had better explain.
Geoff is a well known, perhaps famous ceramist. He is also a very nice "gentleman".
I don't know him very well, in fact we only meet and talk about once a year, this is usually at one
of the summer ceramic fairs.
I am not even sure how we started talking but my memory tells me it was about a mutual admiration of the others shoes.
Since that day Geoff's have got better and mine have got shabbier,
perhaps that's because he buys new pairs and I'm still wearing the same ones.
However, our conversations did move on from shoes and turned to conversations about ceramics.
So once a year we would talk about pots, potters, and also about life.
It is always easy to pick up and continue a year old conversation with Geoff, as he is such an easy going person, knowledgeable, confident and a very good listener,
he listen and advises.
These are perhaps some of the reasons that he so highly regarded by past students.
"He warns you about life after art school and prepares you for the real world".
"Geoff taught us how to present our art and how to approach a gallery".
Are comments I have been told by two of his past students who have approached the gallery.
Not only did he teach them how to create, he also told them how to sell
So it is little surprise that each year when he visits the one ceramic show there is a constant stream of
ex-students who are waiting to purchase one of his unique pieces.
Understanding that they will visit, plus knowing that they will be short of funds he will always
have a selection of affordable pieces ready for them.
In fact I almost feel that he attends this event just to catch up with old friends,
it is certainly not the kind of venue that you would expect to find an artist of his renown.
He has been a well collected ceramist for as long as I can remember and time hasn't diminished
his popularity, in fact it has grown.
You usually only find his work in major galleries, both in the UK and abroad.
So each year I look forward to our little chat and on occasion I might purchase something in the
knowledge that we might not meet for another year.
This summer I left with one small piece,
something that is not unusual as Geoff works on a small scale [think centimetres not inches].
Nevertheless it was a significant piece that left a great impression upon me.
A simple spoon.
Simple but very beautiful, a piece that he created with his wife.
I would look at it each day, the more I looked the more my imagination ran away with me.
In my mind it was like a miniature witches ladle, from there my thoughts went to a group of three.
Three witches, in a circle.
Being a totally frustrated artist I contacted Geoff and ask could he create such a thing for me.
He replied that he only worked during the winter so it would be near to Christmas
before he could think about making such a thing.
I thought that was just his way of letting me down gently,
after all what was I thinking of trying to place my frustrated ideas into the mind of an artist?
But, of course I had forgotten the man.
This morning a box arrived,
of course it contained my three witches, and as Geoff had promised "near to Christmas".
It is now proudly on display [ and for sale ] in the gallery.
Thank you Geoff.
Of course I have titled the piece