PotFest in The Park, 2016

PotFest in The Park is a wonderful show of ceramic makers’ work, selling their wares in the beautiful grounds of Hutton-in-the-Forest country house (shown in the image above), near Penrith.

Every year the makers can compete in a competition: this year’s theme was Bird Bath – Flight of Fancy. Visitors to the exhibition can vote on their ‘top three’ favourites. The following pieces really caught my eye:-

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Bath TimeChristine Hester Smith

This appealed to me because it embraced the theme and there is something very charming about the way the ceramicist simplifies her subjects, while retaining their essence, but adds a touch of humour.

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Night JarsAlison Coaten

The human-bird hybrid aspect of these figures was intriguing, and again a stylised, simplified form.

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Bird BathChiu-I Wu

I have been a fan of this designer-maker’s work for a few years now. She specialises in strange creatures and bird-like figures, sometimes in the form of serving vessels. This struck me as being a well-designed, functional, unique item. Her use of simple colour schemes, glazed and unglazed areas of ceramic is perfect. She began her artwork with drawings and paintings before moving into ceramics, but is still multi-disciplinary.

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Soft Boiled Egg Jon Barrett-Danes

I liked the different interpretation of the theme in this piece, and the wily rodent with his wiry whiskers.

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Sea Bird BathJulian Jardine

I picked this as my #1 piece. Again it was an unusual interpretation of the theme; it reminded me of childhood holidays on the beach, looking for creatures in rock pools; and it was so well-observed and executed.

Thinking of what these artists’ work might inspire in my own work: their practices underline the importance of observation, drawing, simplification/modification, interesting and unexpected interpretations of a theme, design, careful execution and good presentation.

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