Falcon Pottery

Used a photodirector filter to give this photo a bit of a twist. The building is semi derelict like many others in Stoke-on-Trent. They sit huddled in the landscape, settling gently into decay. Some owners of the old pot banks just leave them. Maybe one day to be renovated. At one stage there were plans to turn some of them in museums. But money doesn’t come this way very often. We are lucky to have places like the Gladstone pottery museum and Middleport pottery open for visitors, but so many more are falling down. A sad situation.

My Emma Bailey ceramics cat

It’s a lovely little cat with yellow and black decoration. It’s only small, about 7 inches tall. He’s smart and adds to my ornaments on the mantlepiece. Emma does larger cats and lots of other objects. The ceramics have designs that are reminiscent of Clarice Cliff pottery from the 1930’s.

Emma Bailey ceramics is based at Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Check opening times as the pottery is open at the moment.

Collected mugs

This is one of the mugs I bought from Emma Bailey Ceramics. She’s done a run of them to celebrate Penkhull Winning the #WorldSeriesOfFlags from the #theflaginstitute. Great fun. Bonus, if you live in Penkhull you get a discount!

So pleased with them. Its also good because we won the #FACupOfFlags. I helped design the flag as part of a competition a couple of years ago. That’s some Christmas presents sorted out.

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A drawing of a steam engine

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I like to try and sketch things when I’m visiting places, and this is my attempt at a steam engine when we were visiting. Middleport pottery in August 2018.i don’t know why I thought it was bad, it doesn’t look too awful now in hindsight. I can be too critical of myself sometimes. It’s a bit wonky but when you are trying to draw a moving bit of machinery it’s not easy. Anyway I’m publishing it, so I’ve forgiven myself for my mistakes.

Black ink pen on cartridge paper, it’s probably in one of my numerous sketchbooks, somewhere in the pile of drawings and sketches I have built up over the years.

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Industrial archeology

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Photo of Middleport pottery. The walls are stained with pottery clay. These buildings are now artisan studios. Make do and mend. Reusing old buildings rather than knocking them down. But it costs money to do that. Historical buildings are getting demolished, history is being destroyed. Old buildings that could be refurbished are sometimes left to rot. There is a place in Dudley, in the West Midlands, called the black Country museum. They have demolished old buildings, then rebuilt them on the site. Maybe my city should do the same. X

A few years ago

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Two paintings I did for a leaflet a couple of years ago. The first was of Middleport pottery, a split image of two areas of the pottery, done to fit the images onto the page. The second, a view of the Trent and Mersey canal showing a lock that barges travel through where the water level changes. Opening the gates allows water to flow through and boats to go up and down the canal.

Acrylic paint on watercolour paper. Used by the canal and river trust on their leaflet.

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Craft fair

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Help! After a day painting I called in at the waiting room gallery to set up my craft stall for the weekend. I didn’t remember to take a photo, so this is from the previous weekends stall. I’ve added more Christmassy pictures to it.

So if you happen to be in Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, this weekend you might like to come along. You could also visit a Middleport pottery show and Cherished Chimneys in Longport.

Memory

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If you can’t read the writing it says (bit truncated) weeping window, 31. 8.18, middleport pottery.

The drawing is of thousands of ceramic poppies which were displayed on the bottle oven at Middleport pottery, middleport, Stoke-on-Trent in August last year. These poppies had travelled round the country to commemorate the men who had fallen in the first World War.

At one stage the poppies were not going to come to Stoke-on-Trent despite thousands of them being made here. I for one am glad they came.

Weeping Window

 

We visited Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent today to see “weeping window” a memorial made of 11,000 ceramic poppies placed on a bottle oven in the pottery. The poppies are some of the ones that were on display previously at the Tower of London and have been travelling around the country for the last couple of years. You are supposed to book a visit but as the number of people going to see the display has reduced we were allowed in without booking. We had to park on a designated car park as the local streets have parking restrictions at the moment and you could get fined.

The poppies commemorate the worth anniversary of the 1st world war,”the war to end all wars” which sadly did not stop humans fighting over and over again as they have since our ancestors first fought many thousands of years ago. Many if the poppies were made in Stoke-on-Trent so its good to see them come home although there was a fight to get them.

The display of poppies cascade down the oven, spreading out on the ground, representing blood and the fallen soldiers that were killed in the war.

I drew the scene but had to slightly shorten the bottle kiln to fit it on the page. I also struggled to represent so many poppies. We then visited the rest of the pottery, including the steam engine although it was not working today. There was quite a crowd so I only sketched it briefly.

On our return to the car park there was a large poster with the poem by John McCrae written in 1915. I decided to draw my own version of a poppy to go along with it.

Middleport pottery is very interesting, there is a museum on site, plus artists and ceramicists with their own studios. The tea shop was very busy but we managed to get a table. There was also a display by students from clay college who are doing a two year full time course to learn the skills of pottery making before they are forgotten.

Although the weeping window display ends in mid September the pottery is well worth a visit. It’s surprising how much goes on round here!

Exhibition

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Short notice I know….Its a steaming weekend with tours round the Etruria Industrial museum. The steam engine for Jessie Shirleys bone and flint mill will be fired up and the forge will be open further along the Trent and Mersy canal where it joins with the Cauldon canal. Also I think there will be organ grinders there. The exhibition  will be in the warehouse and hands on pottery is also on, run by Etruria Artists. The canal warehouse is by lock 40 on the trent and mersey. The weekend coincides with the opening of weeping window just down the canal at Middleport, this consists of thousands of poppies made out of clay and painted red. They are displayed pouring down the outside of the bottle oven at the Middleport pottery in Burslem.

The Flint mill is over the canal from Kilndown close, Etruria, stoke-on-Trent…  Come and see us if you can!