June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
At the Saltaire Arts Trail last week, I met my very good friend and craftsman Hugh Leishman. He turns the most wonderful wooden objects – bowls, porridge spurtles, garden dibbers… – with a finish that can only be compared to silk. Whenever I sit and talk with him, I constantly turn the various objects of his around in my hands discovering the surface of each, it is impossible to resist.
Hugh kindly gave me a catalogue from 2005 about the work of the potter Phil Rogers. It is published by Goldmark, titled New Pots 2005, and is truly an inspiration.
There is an essay at the beginning of the catalogue by David Whiting and I just want to quote some extracts from it, which talk directly about the process of making, and that I want to take with me into my own pottery.
“With experience, there can be an almost semi-myopic, unconscious approach to making that operates hand-in-hand with the more consciously willed decision-making. As time passes the two integrate, and the results only increase in freshness and spontaneity. It is a deepening search, not merely a widening one.”
“Phil Rogers’ work is not about imposed concepts or clever ideas, but concerned with the lasting, continually reinvigorated, value of shapes and surfaces that guage the possibilities and mysteries of one’s materials.”
“It is about creative interaction, not coercion, of working with your clays and glazes, and not dictating terms.”
“Herbert Read … talked of the ‘organic vitality’ of craft pottery. But this is a vitality that extends beyond the formal, beyond the visual. It is to do with touching and handling, feeling a pot’s weight, experiencing its mass and the adventures of its surface.”
This last quote makes concrete the sensation I have as I sit with Hugh my fingers smoothing the surface of the beautiful wooden objects that he has turned.