Shared interests are the lifeblood of a good relationship and we are lucky (Rob and I) to have many. One is pots. Studio pots and good domestic ones. Here is a beauty.
This is by Jim Malone, one of our greatest living potters, who works in the Japanese and medieval tradition. We were lucky enough to visit him twice when he lived in Ainstable, near Penrith. He told us how he was first inspried by medieval jugs in York Museum and the influence particularly on this earlier work is plain to see. On the second visit he took us round his studio, showing us the woodfired kiln which he fired twice a year. The tremendous physical labour required to stoke a kiln like this for 48 hours without sleep and with the vigilance required is where the skill and strength of the potter is most tested.
On our first visit he welcome us in to his house, gave us a mug of tea and we bought a fine pot for a client and one tea mug for us.
The mug is used daily, but studio pots are for looking at, and from a practical view, useless. The mug gives satisfaction every time it is picked up because it is made just right. The handle works, the balance is right. Most potters want their work to be used, but at the same time the high prices are in the large artworks. And this raises another point; the oft debated distinction, if there is one, between art and craft.
I spotted the pot above in a photo of a selling exhibition of the paintings of Peter Joyce (for another time - lives and works in France, but paintings so remininiscent of West Penwith and St Ives). Without realising who it was by, I said what a fine pot and later discovered it was one of Jim's.
Because I love them, I will blog of some other favourites like De Waal, Spira, Pleydell Bouveries, Bernard Leach and for us, the supreme Shoji Hamada.
Meanwhile, we enjoy what we have and enjoy looking at some and using others.