28 August 2009

Vote Early...and Often!

Anna is helping me to design a new business card and brochure. She sent me these 5 to look at. I like them all, so if you have an opinion let me know. I'd print them all if it was feasible!

27 August 2009

Old Friends

I've added a bunch of blogs to my blog list. I've been reading them for a long time, but I just figured out how to share that fact with my faithful readers this evening. So, if you haven't done so already, check 'em out. Hannah McAndrew, Matt Grimmit, Shane Mickey, Brandon Phillips, Aaron Sober and Tiggy, the soap maker and Matt's main squeeze.

And the photos are for you birdwatchers out there...

26 August 2009


I am not a summer kind of a guy, and I have been struggling to find much momentum or energy this August as the 'dog days' have really got me down. A couple of days ago the heat index made the temperature feel like 113 degrees Fahrenheit! It is impossible weather and I long for the cool rainy skies of England. I have lived in Virginia for more than 30 years now, and it's obvious that I will never get used to heat and humidity like this...some folks around here tell me they like it!!
In spite of my lethargy, there are some things going on worth noting.
I'd first like to draw your attention to my friend Michael Kline's online pottery sale. Michael and I have an exhibition running at the Washington Street Gallery in West Virginia right now, and his online sale opened yesterday. It looks like he has sold some great pots already, but there are plenty more available and if you don't live with one (or more), pull out that wallet and get you some!
If you live anywhere near Cape Cod and you have an interest in wood firing, I will be leading a one week firing workshop at Castle Hill starting on September 7th and I believe that there are one or two spaces available if your interested. We'll load and fire (40 hours) first and then I'll do a throwing demo and show slides while the kiln cools down. It should be a nice time to be on the Cape (and cooler, I hope!).
I have slowly been working my way back into the studio; coil building a big bird and a couple of other things as well. If you've been following this here blog you might remember that I recently made a bird based on the old Martin Brothers "Wally Birds". (Steve and Nicky have the first one which they call the Maltese Falcon). For some reason, making these shapes bigger has become my mission...I've always hankered to make large garden sculpture and this might be the right idea for that.
The other news is that I was diagnosed with Lyme's disease a couple of weeks ago. I don't think it will be a big deal, but I do have a couple of classic symptoms that hopefully will be remedied by the anti-biotics that I'm on. I'd like to blame my lack of energy on it, but I know it's the weather. Autumn is just around the corner, thankfully.

19 August 2009

Good LibertyTown Times

There are always good things happening at LibertyTown and I'm guilty of not including as much here as I should. Last week we had a 2 day summer camp for an enthusiastic group of youngsters. They moved from one artist to another making masks, felting projects, printmaking and 'trek' bags. Anna, Lynette, Ariel and Elizabeth all worked hard to make it work so well. Hsi Mei also taught a Chinese Watercolor class. The work we do with kids is one of my favorite parts of LibertyTown. Next up, 'Art Camp' for adults this fall!

16 August 2009

Washington Street Gallery

Sadly, I wasn't able to attend the opening last week in Lewisburg, WV, but I spoke with Gary Roper this week and it sounds like a few nice pots were sold. Gary's gallery is full of wonderful pots and it is an elegant place to see good work.
I'm very pleased to be a part of this show, I love Michael's work and it's a great place to see pots. He and I are plumbing the ideas of different historical periods these days, but both of our work makes sense to me.

09 August 2009

Old Pots and Older Potters

We were lucky to have Bob Fryer taking photographs at the opening of Eddie Hopkins's Exhibition and I'll be showing them off a few at a time for a while. Check out his website for beautiful photos of the Cotswolds and he promises to add a lot of his photos of old Cardew and slipware pots so stay tuned. It was particularly meaningful to have Ray Finch at the opening; at 94 Ray is still making amazing pots and still bakes his own bread! I'm sure he and Ray are talking about pots or food here.
The other old boy in this photo is Henry Sandon, the Ceramics expert on the BBC's Antique Roadshow broadcast. He and his wife were celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary that day! They were very jolly folks and had a great appreciation for Eddie as both a potter and for his country charm.

There are lots of group photos of we Winchcombe potters and this is the newest one.
Toff, Mike Finch, Joe Finch, myself, Molly Jones, Ray, Nicky Hopkins, Anne Whittlesey and Dave Wilson.
I met Ray when he was in his early 60's....he hasn't changed a whole lot since then!

Ron Wheeler's book: Eddie Hopkins - A Potters Life was designed by Steve Tustin who's pictured here on the left with me and Georgie Milway at the top of the page. Steve is the grandson of Sid Tustin, who worked at Winchcombe for 51 years. Georgie feeds me the world's best food, lots of it from her own garden.
The book is a real treasure and Ron has a bunch for the low, low price of 8 pounds plus p/h! Or I have a few for $20.00 which includes postage etc. if your in the U.S.

07 August 2009

Michael and Me

This evening is the opening reception for the two-man show of Mr. Kline and myself at The Washington Street Gallery in Lewisburg, WV. Gary Roper is a fine potter as well as gallery owner and he kindly invited us both to exhibit. The exhibition runs through the month of August. I wrote one of my first blogs about a visit there last July, 2008.

05 August 2009

Eddie Hopkins-A Potter's Life

I'm back home now and still getting my bearings in the heat and humidity of a Virginia August. I'll no doubt post a few more random blogs about my English journey later, but the last day of my stay we held the opening of the exhibition for our dear friend Eddie 'Pot" Hopkins. Eddie spent more than 45 years making pots, most of them at Winchcombe. He taught me a lot and touched lots of people with his infectious good humor. I include this gratuitous photo of the team as it was when I worked with he and Ray and the rest. From left to right is:
Eddie w/the pottery sign, Sid Tustin, Steve Marchant (wood turner), Will Hall (furniture maker), myself, Mike Finch, Norri de Montigny, and Keith Jamison (sculptor). Sitting in the middle is Ray Finch and Toff Milway is crouched to the right.
Eddie probably made a million pots in his day...he was the main production thrower at Winchcombe making lots of different things 8 hours a day, 5 and 6 days a week....plates, mugs, casseroles, baking dishes, bread crocks, goblets, vases and more.
He was most notable for the jugs/pitchers that he made. They are robust and generous in form, the pot being the man, as we know it can sometimes be.

Eddie would make and handle 500 of these mugs in less than a week! and would keep up a conversation and listen to cricket matches on the old tube radio all at the same time! If you look closely you'll notice that each layer has two boards of 12 each and he's working on filling a board that makes 120 so far that day! Also note the jugs at the top.
Ed loved to make big pots, but most of the time that was Ray's turf. Once in a while Ray would would be away for a time and then Eddie was able to strut his stuff a bit more, making big bread crocks and cider jars and jugs.

The rest of these photos are from the book that Ron Wheeler authored in conjunction with the exhibition. I'll post more about the opening soon, it was a very good day.

Eddie retired in 2006 and sadly died two years ago from ingesting bad water after nearly drowning in the terrible floods that hit his home two years ago. He lived a very full life and was much beloved by a huge and diverse cross section of people..all of whom were lucky to know him.