Monday, 23 August 2010

Potfest is the best!

It was "Potfest in the Pens" on 6 August and I couldn't wait to get in my car and do the 1 1/2 hour drive to Penrith. I LOVE Potfest because there are over 100 ceramic artists selling their lovely, tactile pots, each pot shouting "buy me"! (and I did).
But this year I had another reason to go to Potfest and that was as an intrepid reporter for 
UK Handmade, the on-line magazine and blog that supports designer makers and hand made artisans. So, with camera and voice recorder in hand(s) I spent  merry day talking to my favourite people - potters. 

One of the most exciting attractions of Potfest is the competition, sponsored by Craft and Design Magazine, where potters submit a ceramic piece on the theme of Altars, Shrines and Markers. I took some pictures of my favourites below. 

Jan Lewis Eccleston - "Cod Above"

Stef Storey - "Shrine to Love" Teeny tiny hearts and wafer thin porcelain - gorgeous!

Jackie Needham - "Pilgrimage" I loved this so much that I bought a little bird. 

I interviewed four of the potters for UK Handmade - John Hudson, Sue Candy, Ben Nicolson and John Townsend - so please click HERE to read the interviews. 

If you are passionate about ceramics then Potfest is well worth visiting for affordable and original pottery. 

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Bonnie Scotland

We just spent a week away in Scotland and a week was not long enough! 

We stayed in a bothy (cow shed) in Tynron, Galloway, not far from the Solway Coast. Despite the weather reports it was quite sunny and warm with only a couple of "dreich" days. Most of the time we walked or played with the dog on the beach.

Behind the Bothy is Tynron Doon, a large partially wooded hill that once had an iron age fort. We climbed up to look at the spectacular view over the Scaur hills (and to get a good phone signal). The route down was fraught with danger - particularly when I fell in a slurry pit and had to walk the lat two miles home covered in cow poo....

Along the Solway Coast and some lovely towns and villages wrth visiting - the best of these has to be Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse of Fleet. Kirkcudbright (Kir-coo-bree) is the "artists' Town" with The Tollbooth Arts Centre and several galleries. THe best of these is the WhiteHouse Gallery.

Because the climate is quite mild in this part of southern Scotland there is plenty of gardens worth visiting. We went to Cally Gardens, which is in the woods at Gatehouse of Fleet. It has some imaginative planting and is quite informal (a bit junglie) which is how I like gardens to look. 

The coast is beautiful. Totally unspoilt - no bucket and spades, no "kiss me quick" hats, no fruit machines or fun fairs. Instead, clean beaches, clear water and plenty of shells. We spent a lovely day at Rockcliffe and another day at Carrick and Brighouse Bays.  We walked across the strand to an island and looked in the rock pools. 

Jackson features in many of our photos - mostly carrying a stick in his mouth - it's not the same stick in every picture! 

Well it was all over too soon and now I am back in Yorkshire, freezing cold and looking forward to my next holiday. To see more photos of Dumfries and Galloway please go to Flickr by clicking on this Link.  

Sunday, 1 August 2010

This is Love,love,love,love....

.... that I'm feeling. OK, so perhaps P J Harvey wasn't singing about lampshades but I am TOTALLY smitten with Lush Designs - particularly their Wild Pig image AND they have a bricks and mortar shop in Greenwich
Pig green

Their designs are fabulous and they also sell on-line. I bought some greeting cards from a small gallery in Brighton and resisted buying a teatowel.