Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

 I truly have to say that these pictures of different pots I am showing are "in no particular order",
 the simple reason being that this wasn't the order I was trying to display them.
It really must be an age thing, that or the buggers [at blogger] are "mending" what isn't broken yet again.
I hope so because at least it is keeping someone in a job.

This is a selection of ceramics by various potters that are to be involved in our 'LEGACY' exhibition.
What pieces we will actually have on show I don't know as yet but these are from the selection of various images that have been sent to me for inclusion in our promotion, plus with luck [and enough time] we will also be producing our own publication for the opening, in which case these are a small 
sample of what will be included.

Some of the 'actual' exhibition pieces will start arriving next week.
This will be very early as the exhibition doesn't open until at least eight weeks time but I will be glad
to have pieces here as I have a very strong feeling that this particular exhibition is going to become very stressful as the opening date draws closer.
We have so many plans for what we intend to do that there is plenty of scope for much to go wrong, so actually have exhibition pieces here will remove a lot of the major stress,
also it will give me the opportunity to photograph and show you the actual pieces that arrive. 

So, above are pots by John Leach, Tony Clennell and Ruthanne Tudball.
I am positive that we will have the bottle by John, or at least a similar version.
This I am really happy about because it was a picture of one of these bottles that made me want to start a pottery many, many years ago. What is nice is that he still produces pieces the same [but better]
as he has been producing throughout his career. There is something very comforting about this,
 it feels that perhaps time isn't moving too fast.

The jug by Tony? Well I know that we won't have that one and in fact I think we are racing against the clock with him as he is building a new kiln, it is from this kiln that we are hoping to have a few pots.
So, fingers crossed.
Ruthanne! What can I say?
One of the most consistent and reliable potters that I know [plus a very nice person], so I am sure that that jug will be on display, if not its twin.

I think one of the things that I am most excited  about is the diversity of the ceramics that we will be showing.
The only common link being, they are all potters who acknowledge the importance of Isaac Button,
or they are country potters working much like he did.
Although the styles are very different and are being produced by potters on different continents all of the pots on display will be made by "country potters", their work and studios may vary
but at heart they are country potters sharing a common bond. 
For instance the jug above by Mark Tichiner is so very different from the bottle below by Jeremy Steward, but to me they both look and have the spirit of country pottery.

I find them all exciting in their very different ways, I can imagine the delight that it would bring to
pour a cup of tea from Ruthanne's teapot in the same way that it would give pleasure to see the jug by Harry Juniper full of flowers, 
Even though it is a 'Harvest Jug'.
Of course as such it should be be filled with ale of some description. In fact Harry's jugs are about the only example's that nowadays could actually be used for their original purpose, as most contemporary examples are now so expensive that you are frightened to touch one, let alone dare to use it.
Simple pottery has now been elevated to "art," well at least in the minds of some of the makers.

In a small way this is what the exhibition is intended to reverse, just for a little while.
For instance the potter Mark Griffiths [whose pots aren't shown] told me recently that he and some fellow potters had been talking about "the good old days," back when people would return to the pottery on frequent occasions just to replace pieces that had become broken, simple things like bowls and mugs. "this doesn't happen anymore" because our prices have risen too much".
He explained.
Of course a some of the reasons for this are because the cost of materials have become so high.

So for this exhibition Mark has told me that he is going to make some mugs that sell 
"for a fiver, just like we used to do". 
At least with doing this some people will have the pleasure of using a hand made piece,
if it gets broken [like pottery tends to] there will be no tears about the financial loss, just the sadness for losing something that gave a lot of pleasure.

I have become surprised to learn that there are more than a few of the potters who are going to use the occasion to create something that is "a little bit different" from their normal work.
This is lovely as it means that not only will we have special pieces, but also because it means that the exhibition has a different significance for the potter, in a way they are paying homage to a great maker.

Of course there will be the potters whose work doesn't change it just improves.
Potters like Clive Bowan, someone who has set the standard for English country pottery for many years. Having a potter like him involved gives me a great personal pleasure, for so many years I have wanted to own a piece of his work, and to think that now I will be exhibiting some of it!
Both he and his wife 'Rosie' have been a great support while the show was being planned.

Another potter who was "on board" in the early stages was Richard Dewar.
An English country potter?
He lives in France but the spirit is English.
He has taken simple pottery to a different level, yes you can use his teapots and jugs but he has elevated them to have more significance.
It doesn't mean he charges more than any "domestic ware" potter, he has just made them that little bit more special.
In fact this morning [as everyday] I had my "wake up" coffee from one of his 'tea bowl cups'.
A tea bowl with a handle, and priced as a cup not a tea bowl.
"Heaven forbid", I can't imagine what the pseudo English/Japanese potters think of such a man.
I think the best thing he could do is say they were influenced by the Korean potters
Who were just making beautiful things for everyday use.

One of the potters that I am especially excited about is the potter Kenyon Hansen.
He may be American but he is very familiar with the work and film of Isaac Button the rural potter.
For me his ceramic are very much about country pottery, even if it wasn't intended as such.
It is country pottery from, well, actually from another country.
Simple, yet very elegant. Well conceived, beautifully crafted and meant for everyday use.
I really can't wait to hold a piece.

Still like many, many pieces these pots have yet to arrive, or perhaps are yet to be made.
But, little by little I know the exhibition will slowly come together, until the last few weeks, then I know that here in the gallery it will become a frenzy of activity and worry, 
plus also a lot of excitement.

Also there are another one or two potters that I would like to add to the list [[23 to date] of people whose work I really feel we should show.
I am sure that I will get around to mentioning everyone and everything at some point in the near future,
but for now my thoughts had better return to the present as I have something of equal importance to exhibit, and that I will definitely be showing to you very soon.


  1. oh my goodness, these are some truly lovely pots. I am hard pressed to pick a favorite, sounds like a wonderful exhibition and sale you have planned.

    Oh now you have my curiosity up for the next post.

    Hope all is well on the home front.

  2. Hi John, I came on your blog to ask if I could mention this exhibition on my blog, I'll take that as a yes then. I made some jugs today for you and I'm really excited about this. I think this is going to create a lot of interest. I'll be making some Pancheons on Friday, that I will pick out the best from.
    Good luck.

  3. Wonderful exhibition! Enjoyed the images ....... Ruthanne Tudball, one word..... Love!

  4. You told me about this show some months ago, John, so it's good to see it starting to come together. Some terrific pots. Thanks for posting the photos. I envy your opportunity to live among that collection while they're at your place.

  5. I'm sorry about the late reply to everyone.
    I tend to do a post then go off "dreaming" for a few days until I suddenly think "I wonder if anyone read that post".
    So it is a treat to find that someone has,

    You are right, there are going to be some good pots, and as for picking a favourite I am a little worried.
    I can't afford them all.

    Hello Paul.
    I do like the way that you take the eniciitive.
    Of course its a yes.
    I want everyone to know about this, I must admit that I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that we are holding this event, as I think it is going to be an important major ceramic show this year.
    If it wasn't for the worry I would be SO excited [actually I am].
    I hope that I might get to call in and see you this weekend as I have been given a "pass" to go and collect sculpture, and it should take me close to you.

    Sandy. You are so right.
    Ruthanne is such a clever lady [and so modest].
    I have lost count of the times that I have sat chatting to her while she was working, then suddenly found myself thinking "how did she do that?" I must concentrate on the next piece.
    Only to have it happen again.
    She makes it seem so easy that it makes me forget that she is one of the best potters working in this country.
    As a bonus, she is such a nice person.

    I thought that we had lost you to the "Dark Side" [facebook].
    It is good to find that you are still alive and kicking [I have been following what you have been up to, but if asked I would deny it].

    I have you in my thoughts very often, and many the time I have thought "it would be good to run that by Hollis".
    I value your thoughts, and like your pots and I am hoping that we can get something together next year,
    Why not? We are both young so what's another year?

    Come on Hollis, get on that plane and come to the opening, I understand that Paul Jessop is booking a room big enough to hold a party in, so I'm sure that you could find a corner to sleep in.

  6. Tempting, John, though Paul's a big guy and may need that whole room. And what exactly is your definition of "young"?

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