Three years ago…

Walking around the world museum in Liverpool three years ago, I was so impressed by the travelling exhibition of the Chinese terracotta warriors. Obviously only a few if them were represented in the gallery, but it gave a strong example of the creative and military civilization behind these figures.

There were crowds at the gallery, people shuffled round and many of the exhibits were partially hidden by bodies that strangely mimicked the warriors remaining in China as they stand within the archaeological dig there, rows and columns lined up. Humans used to congregate. They group, they press against each other, travel together . That feeling of community has been lost to some degree because of Covid. Will they ever do the same again? Will we go forward in time to a freedom we do not enjoy now? I don’t know.

Story tiles

A view of St Austell in Cornwall that was at the BCB exhibition recently at Swift House, Stoke-on-Trent. With subtle tones of sepia colour it depicted a semi industrial landscape. I didn’t see a notice but I’m guessing it was made of China clay which has been quarried there for centuries. One of the sites was used to create the Eden Project, a set of giant domed greenhouses or ‘biomes’ which house tropical and arid environments from more equatorial climes.

St Austell is a town in Cornwall inland from the southern coast, in a landscape dotted with abandoned tin mines. It was once the home of a famous poet called Jack Clemo. He was blind but managed to write his poems while supported by his mother in the 1950’s?

Mugs and cups

How many mugs and cups have you got? I seem to have enough for a small orchestra!

I think there are a few more around the house and in the garden. I am not going to search them out. They are from various manufacturers. The majority from this city, Stoke-on-Trent.

Different styles and sizes. Some that I decorated (you can book workshops to paint your own mugs, some places are more expensive than others). The small cups are for tea or expresso coffee. But I prefer a madium sized mug, pint sized ones are too much for me.

The creativity of this city shows through the designs and shapes of the mugs and cups.

China cupboard

The ‘stuff’ you collect

The stuff in this ‘cup’board is mainly cups and egg cups. I’m pleased that some of them are ones we have decorated ourselves. Plus I found the Maggie egg cup I was looking for.

It’s amazing what clutter I’ve collected over the years.. I guess I can call it a cup collection…

Turn over club

The back stamp on the bottom of pottery can identify where it was made, it’s country of origin, and sometimes indicate what it’s worth, although sometimes people fake the marks to try and con people thinking a cheap teacup or vase is worth more, sometimes a lot more, than it actually is.

This happens in pottery manufacture across the globe. A Ming dynasty vase might have been made last week, a Delpht plate might have been made somewhere in Britain..

The thing is an inanimate lump of clay can be transformed into something delicately shaped and beautifully glazed or enamelled. People want to know it they are looking at a Clarice Cliff or a Susie Cooper. That’s part of the reason they look. But also if you live in a pottery manufacturing town you want to tell the difference between them. And the turn over can be enlightening!

Orange person walking backwards.

A description…

odd combination

A monkey crying

a lion in a captains cap

Wellington boots

Across the sea..

A boat with cargo

Two life belts

Sails and steam stack

Religious icon and weeping people.

Tree of life,

Amidst it all,

an orange oaf.

Long blond mullet?

Photo from a ceramics event,

Last year,

Challenging history,

Walking backwards

To disaster?

Remembering the BCB

The BCB, British Ceramic Biannual, was on in the Spode China Halls last year. Fine China and art pottery cheek by jowl. I do hope it happens again next year. Bringing art into Stoke-upon-Trent and the rest of the city of Stoke-on-Trent and spreading creativity that sadly seems to have been forgotten by government during this pandemic.

Art has just as much a right as any other industry to continue in this world. Creativity and the power of the mind are linked. Science can go hand in hand with art. What we need to do is try and support everyone, not be selective towards the richest and devil take the hind most.

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Tiles

One thing about living in Stoke is that you get to see beautiful pottery. For instance these tiles may be simple for or wall decorations, but they signify the creativity of the City.

You visit the Potteries Museum and art gallery, in the city centre (Hanley), you will see amazing beauty and talent in the history of the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

A whole history and creativity that has gradually dwindled as austerity has crippled the country. Manufacturing has reduced, has been driven offshore by costs, and although some had started to return, the current situation has made things worse again. Life continues…..