Pots and Paintings
If you feel drawn to making pottery, it could be that you have ancestors who were potters. Before the industrial revolution there were craft potters everywhere in Europe, providing bowls and mugs to their fellow villagers, alongside the weavers, saddlers and blacksmiths.
I have two bowls made by a Spanish village potter. He seemed to specialize in making cooking pots for the embers of wood fires. They had rounded bases that made contact with but survived the heat of the glowing embers. I think these bowls were the first to
Then of course I met the brilliant potters of Coromandel Town: Barry Brickell, Andrew and Jeannie van der Putten, Glen Beattie, Ashley Thor and so many others. I wanted to emulate their lifestyles.
And I tried. I built my first wheel in an old wool shed and my first wood-firing kiln in a shed nearby. Somehow I felt that I was doing something my ancestors had done though I could find no evidence to support this.
I struggled to make something useful and worth looking at. I tried making glazes out of borax and other agricultural chemicals and was happy with some of the results. However the lure of Coromandel was too strong and I knew that I would have to build somewhere to live and set up a full-time pottery in this wonderful town with its population of creative people.
In my first year I earned $1110, but I trebled that the following year. I was on my way! And sure enough, with the help of a lovely old lady who was the widow of NZ's leading craft historian, I discovered my potter ancestors, a whole dynasty of them, who started advertising their ware in the early 1700's in Nottingham, England. They faded away when the last one died in 1945. How I wished I had met him!
I planted hundreds of trees and now I continue on a small scale to make pots in a beautiful environment in which my daughter, Genevieve, offers motel accommodation. Interestingly my pots are not too dissimilar to those made centuries ago in Nottingham. A nice feeling!