Potfest in the Park, Hutton in the Forest, Cumbria

One of the good things about ceramics is we get to go to some lovely places, and they don’t come much lovelier than Hutton in the Forrest near Penrith.  Even the weather behaved itself and saved us from the promised downpour.

As usual, we headed straight for the cafe. Bacon baps and a cake later, we were ready to hit the 100+ stands:

Micaela, Celia and Sara

I’d expected that we’d have seen most of the exhibitors at Earth and Fire, but was pleasantly surprised to find that two-thirds were ‘other’. The spacious location allowed for larger stands, which meant that even those we’d seen at Earth and Fire had better displays at Potfest, none more so than Eric Moss.  I was a little disparaging about his cluttered E&F stand, but I thought his display today was clean and crisp – a huge improvement:

Eric making a sale

And one of the exhibitors was a UCLan MA Aluma, Sally Streuli.  Micaela knows her from Monday Night, and the NPA (Sally is Secretary), so I thought I’d introduce myself, only to find she was too busy. Her work is interesting, based on the ceramics she saw as an archaeologist, and traditional mass produced ceramic patterns that have meaning for her from her own life. Inside/outside are important to her, marrying the archeological outside, if a dish, inside if a vase, with the contrasting patterned inside/outside.


Sally Streuli

Wendy and Meri Wells were well represented in the Ceramic Wales tent.  Fingers crossed UCLan renew Wendy’s and Anna’s contracts.  I’m not sure how we’d manage with so many students and Dave working for Alusid as well as the MA programme.

Which reminds me that Cheryl was there with her friend.  Micaela saw her, but neither Sara, Celia or I spotted her. Doesn’t seem possible that we could walk round the same event for hours and not bump into one another.

Me at potfest

Borrowed this photo from Micaela’s blog as I don’t tend to have many of me at events.

Now for some of my favourites.  I’m interested in the double walled bowl.  There were some standard ones there, but also some that were a little different.

I loved the gradated colours and the soft, pillowy shapes, contrasting with the lustre inner bowl. There is something about the incised surface that reminds me of Lanty Ball’s work.  Really lovely.  What a change in her new work – crackle glazed inner bowl with, well, I’m not sure how to describe the outer surface – ‘lumpy’ doesn’t do it justice.  Heavily textured, perhaps:


Karen Wilkinson also had some variations on the double walled bowl. I like the simplicity of these:

Karen Wilkinson
Karen Wilkinson


For quirkiness, it was hard to surpass Toon Thijs from the Netherlands:

Shallow, polka dot exterior bowl, with inner bowl deeply contoured or bursting forth sharks, sliced open and oozing goo.  I also like the spray paint effect colours and satin sheen.

I admired Adrian Bates’s tall vases, which are split and folded in – very elegant (see bottom middle picture). And also the deeply cut ‘flame’ like vessels, bottom left. His stand was very well presented.


Lastly the ultra refined work of Tony Theakston, which has an Art Deco elegance.  He carves the original in plaster, casts it in porcelain stoneware, picks out the detail with a scalpel, then glazes. Stunning – and another excellent display.  I loved the way he’s dealt with the legs, blocking in long legged birds (reminiscent of the Staffordshire figures), or picking out detail of a leg with a scalpeled line on short legged birds.


I totally love Rebecca Callis’s functional ware.   Every time I see it I want it.  She says she puts hers in the dishwasher all the time, too.  Just the thing for our new house. It will definitely go on the family Christmas list this year.

Rebecca Callis
Rebecca Callis
Rebecca Callis
Rebecca Callis

Unfortunately there were no talks or demonstrations, but we were royally entertained by a red jacketed jazz trio:


I wonder if their bucket became full of anything other than rain?  Bless em.

Ah, I knew I had more photos, just found them.  I was watching a programme about the ageing brain recently, and, speaking of jazz artists, the programme featured a clarinet (?) player whose ability to improvise had markedly improved in later life. He was just one of many who’s creativity had blossomed with maturity.  Personally, I’ve always liked the work of older artists – look at the later works of Matisse, Monet, Picasso.  Which brings me to Christine Cox.  Being the organiser, she had a large display of her older work – all very nice.  And a display of her new work:

Wow, where did that come from? I really like the urban motifs and city palette.  The forms too, some typically minimalist, others a bit more traditional for those who like a more comfortable urban experience.  Maybe there’s hope for me yet?

Lastly, here’s a slideshow of all the other exhibitors – those who were not at Earth and Fire:

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Nearly forgot Freddo!  How could I?  My lovely frog stopper by Johannes Makolies:

Of course, he does mean I have to start leaving red wine in the bottle….


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