Cherished Chimneys

I finally got into Cherished Chimneys in Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. Its an Aladdins cave of Chimney pots. Small, short, long, tall, fluted, straight, curved. Dark, light, terracotta, superb ceramics. The shop restores chimneys for buildings where the original pots have been lost, but also sells to the public who use them as ornamental sculptures and flower pots in their gardens. It’s worth taking a look if you are ever passing.

Art at the Villas

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I was going to get up early today and going on a community walk along the local canal, but I got up late. I also considered going to an Urban Sketchers event at the Chatterley Whitfield nature reserve. But again I was too late. In the end we went to the Villas which is just down the road. There was an event called art at the Villas. The show was almost at the top of the road on the right hand side. The road is unadopted so go carefully driving up there. We parked at the bottom and walked.

The house we went in and its garden were full of interesting art. There were prints, original tee shirts, paintings, ceramics and a warm welcome. They were also accepting donations for charity. If you feel like visiting its in the Villas up the hill on the right off London Road, Oakhill , Stoke-on-Trent.

Since I was there and had missed other sketching opportunities I did a quick drawing of the garden and summerhouse in the distance.

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Minton tiles

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One thing I have got to do is paint some images of minton tiles. These were made in their millions over many years and can often be found in the hallways of town houses especially in Stoke-on-Trent. People are enthusiastic about them even now and get excited about them when they find them in old houses.

There were apparently 12 original designs which are documented in a little book called touching history by Hans van Lemmen and Bret Shah. This is available through StokeYourGratitude.org.uk #StokeYourGratitude

Minton exhibition

Tonight we went to the opening of an exhibition based on Minton tiles.. This is being held at the Winkhill Mill at Swan Street in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent.

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Bret Shah and Hans Van Lemmen on have produced a book of patterns based on designs by Minton tiles. Also in the exhibition are examples of tiles. There are 3d printed tiles where the different patterns are built up as layers. You can wear glasses that obscure your vision so you see as if you are visually impaired  The 3d tiles give you an idea of the shapes used on the flat tiles. There is also a chance to see tile presses where dry clay dust is used to produce blank clay tiles. However the mill is also looking ar producing encaustic patterns on the tiles.DSC_1862.JPG

Later we visited St Thomas’s Church at Penkhull. The floor of the church is covered in minton tiles in the area by the altar.

Fluffy clouds

 

Fluffy clouds, mares tails and con trails at Spode today. I loved the way the sky was crossed and patterned with clouds. The sun was quite low and now we have moved into autumn it took on that crisp shimmer when the heat of summer has all but been extinguished from the sky. The warmth seems to wash out of the blue and it becomes a deeper hue.

Round about the skeletal remains of parts of the spode site sit like dinosaur ribs, shed of flesh and skin, one gaunt necklike chimney sits upright looking out over the landscape of rust and broken bricks.

All this hides the beating pulse of creativity, artists, ceramacists and other makers populate the various untidy buildings. Glass and clay, paint and photography, laser cutting and architecture. All of them dwell under the fluffy white clouds, mares tails and con trails.

Next weekend we are having an OPEN studio. On the 6th and 7th of October.

Admission is free from 11am to 4pm. You are welcome to come into the studios which are open to the public. There will be much to see including a new exhibition of people’s work on the theme of transition. We are at the Spode site, Elanora Street, Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent. The way in will be signposted.

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Tiles

Tiles at Gladstone yesterday.

I think they are by Minton which was a Pottery that went out of business a few years ago when a lot of Pottery manufacture went abroad because it was cheaper.

I know lots of people admire these tiles and they are often found in hallways in old victorian houses in this area. Our local church, St Thomas’s has tiles by Minton. The factory was based in Stoke-upon-trent, which is one of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

Many of the people in the town were laid off from factories in Stoke, including Spode. Only a few places still make Pottery now, including Emma Bridgewater, Portmerion, Moorland Pottery, Moorcroft and I think Wedgwood…. There is also a tile manufacturer called Johnson’s tiles. But nothing really compares to the beauty of Minton.