Sunday, 27 September 2009

Mary Johnson Ceramics.

Mary was a year above me at University, so she completed her BA (Hons) Crafts degree this summer.

I went over to her house last week (With its beautiful garden), where she has as set up a ceramics studio at home - I wasn't at all jealous, really I wasn't!

We'd talked about blogs at Uni and how I thought they were useful. In the third year, we have to set up a website, but as a lot of you will already know, they are not so easy to update at times, and I think using a blog is much easier, especially if its main purpose is for information and updated pictures, as opposed for selling. So I'd offered to help her set one up.

Mary was at Wirksworth Festival and asked me if I would still go and help, which I did, last week, and here is Mary's new blog,

Mary does lovely pottery - slip decorated, wheel thrown earthenware.  To be honest, it's not the type I am normally into, but Mary's is fun and interesting,  and often very tactile too. This is one of Mary's rhubarb forcers, which I love.

It was enrolment on Thursday, well confirmation of attendance. The hard work starts on Monday, our first session being context, and the dreaded dissertation.....

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Good Time at Wirksworth Festival

There's currently an Arts Festival in the village Wirksworth in Derbyshire.

We've (me and Ashley) never been before, weather was against us one year, time another. Last year we made it to the one in Melbourne (Derbyshire, not Oz!) and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I resolved we'd do both this year. Well that was the plan, until I realised that the Arts Trail of each were on the same weekend.

For anybody who's never been along to this kind of thing, over a weekend, the people of said festival village, open up their houses and gardens - but not so we can nosy at their interiors, it is so artists and makers can display and sell their work. Churches, school halls, and of course shops are open too.

As I said, we enjoyed Melbourne, but seeing as we'd not done Wirksworth before, and they are about the same distance away from home, we opted for the latter.

Not sure if we went in less houses this time, but there seemed to be less work - perhaps its more spread out. But what they did seem to have, which we didn't come across last year, is far more other things going on. Music - lots of, different types. Jazz band on one corner, guitar bands, even a bagpipe player, beer festivals, lots of foodie places and a makers market - and we only really did half. There just seemed to be a whole lot more "going on" - as Ashley said, there was a buzz - "let's get back to the lively bit".

As always, lots of lovely work, variety of homes and some gorgeous gardens. My favourite find though, was Bruce Aitken, Clockmaker.

Lovingly crafted, wooden clocks, with exposed mechanisms. Obviously a lot of work goes into these time-pieces, which not only are functional but are beautiful pieces of art in their own right.

Bruce clearly not only makes these with lots of care and attention, but was a lovely chap to talk to, who tirelessly explained to us how they work.

He's going to Origin in London later this year - and I wish him well. One day I would love to give one of these lovely clocks a home.