It’s Spode Open day on 6th and 7th October 2018. It’s at the studios at the old Spode factory site on Elanora Street, Stoke-on-Trent.
As well as the studios being open you will also be able to see an exhibition of the artists work in the gallery space. These are the pictures I will be showing.
Spode studios are run by a charity called Acava and part of the remit of the charity is to allow the public to come in and see what we are doing. Allowing the community to see the creativity in its midst.
The open day is on from 11am to 4pm on both days. You could also visit the Spode visitor Centre, the works canteen cafe on the same days.
Stoke on Trent is such a creative place. There are Pottery classes and ceramics courses for people to join. Artistic hubs and creative groups. Music, art and history all in one small city in Staffordshire. I am proud to live here.
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.
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.
While we were at Gladstone today we saw a couple of interesting ceramic techniques. The first was by a lady called Tez. She was firing some raku Pottery. She had some pots in a metal bin with a gas jet heating it at the base. I didn’t find out what temperature she was firing at, but she said it takes about 40 minutes for a firing plus the work on the pots afterwards. Once they had been fired the pots were taken out of the bin and put in another one to rapidly cool causing crazing in the glaze. The lady put lots of beech shavings on top of the pots so that it smothered the fire. We were told that the wood sucks the oxygen out of the air around the pots and is a reduction reaction causing the copper in the glazes to shine through in a wonderful sheen.
The other technique we saw was more subtle. This time another potter put her pots in a box of burned sawdust ash. The pot was then covered in fresh sawdust mixed with white spirit. She sprinkled some of the burnt ashes on the pot to mask some areas then set light to the sawdust. As it burned it gave a mottled effect on the pot. It looked like it was being aged.
Finally there was some traditional stone ware pottery for sale. Fired in an ordinary kiln but also lovely to look at
Starting with a ceramic head I made in the 1980s at a pottery class. It has lasted through many years and many plants. This year its just planted up with lobelia, but the fuschia that was in it in 2017 was spectacular.
The second photo is part of a Chinese bridge at Biddulph Grange gardens. A wonderful garden owned by the National Trust at Biddulph, North Staffordshire. The garden is split into different areas including one based on Egyptian architecture, a Swiss cottage, an ancient grotto, and the Chinese pagoda garden. It’s a fascinating and beautiful place to visit.
One of the odd things they have there is in picture number three. This is an upturned tree root that is covered in moss, there is a whole section of them lining the steps down to the grotto, the trees must have been huge before they were hewn.
The fourth photo is a phone error. Probably because I had too many images on my phone, so two photos of daliahs are grouped with the hedges of the daliah walk at Biddulph. The picture is totally random, and the colours just happened.
My kitchen and bathroom are almost finished after 2 and a half weeks of work…. I’m pleased with the blue colours I chose for the walls in the bathroom and the tiles in the kitchen.
I decided on two tones of tiles, a mid to dark blue tile complemented by a blue grey tile above. I wanted something which would work with the tone of pale green that I decided to have on the walls and the pale ivory cabinets. I also think the blue tiles tone in well with the wooden worktops. The green also compliments the foliage outside in the garden.
In the bathroom its bright blue with white fixtures and fittings. I wanted a colour that reminded me of beach holidays. There are no stripes but I feel like the colours are similar to beach huts on a bright sunny day.
I haven’t had the chance to have a new kitchen and bathroom before. I’m going to have to stop spending soon! I appreciate how lucky I am to get it done, but it has taken almost 25 years !