Back to Spode

Today, for the first time in two years I went back to Spode. I have a lot of paintings that I have done over the years. I’ve avoided going because of Covid and it felt so strange being there. Like the time hasn’t passed, and yet there are new people there. If I want to carry on being an artist I need to get my act together again. I called myself an explorative fine artist and I want to be one again.

Willow pattern painting

I painted this a few years ago. It’s an octagonal platter shape. I used a few images of willow pattern plates and amalgamated them. It’s mostly based on a Spode style of pattern. The edge design was made up by myself. The painting is meant to look like the platter is leant up against a background. That’s why I added shadows and played with adding a reflection below it. I can’t remember what else I added to it. I did a series of paintings of ceramic objects, there was also a jug and a teapot and a large vase painting. It was good to imagine pottery from my adopted home of Stoke-on-Trent.

Willow pattern banner

A banner for one of our Penkhull Mystery Plays. We hold them most summers and the one this was painted for was about the pottery industry and its history. This banner was based on the willow pattern famous in the potteries. Spode was one of the factories that made plates and pots with this design, but if you Google ‘willow pattern’ you can find lots of images from many manufacturers.

Blue acrylic paint on a canvas cloth. It took me a while to paint. I also painted the local church and methodist Hall as they would have appeared in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Panto hat

This large papier mache hat was made for out pantomime a few years ago, it was about a meter wide. Painted to look like an old Spode pottery design. With roman or grecian patterns round the cup. I wish we could be certain that the pantomime we are rehearsing at the moment. This is a photo I found on my phone because I’m trying to clear off some of them to make more space, but I’m keeping this one.

Memory of mystery

Me a couple of years ago painting banners for our mystery play we did. These are pictures of the willow pattern from Spode that I was copying for the performance. We hold it on a Saturday towards the start of July. Unfortunately we could not hold it last year and only had an online event this year. I hope it’s reinstated when things get better.

I’m so busy with college work it would have been difficult to make the time but I love doing this. It makes me feel part of a community. I also miss all the friends I have through being part of it. X

Clay at the gardens today

One thing I did do yesterday was make a couple of pieces clay that might be used as part of a tiled piece at the BCB (British Ceramic Biennial in September at Spode in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent. They will be fired up and someone else may end up glazing them.

I made lots of marks using old buttons and metal rings. I tried to give them a three dimensional look. I hope they won’t explode on the kiln.

It’s good finding different things to do when you are having a day out.

Memory

A friend died a while ago and I didn’t know that a memorial plaque had been attached to the weeping willow in the Spode Rose Garden.

The plaque is screened by the trees foliage, so when I saw a pale disc on the trunk, I assumed it was a branch that had been cut off, but no, it was a memorial. I was saddened because I hadn’t remembered him with everything that had happened over the last year. He was a lovely person and a brilliant artist. Farewell.

Part painted panto hat

This was used as a prop in the local village hall pantomime a few years ago. The hat was a large teacup and saucer made out of wire and paper and glue. Once it was made I had the task of painting it with a classic spode pattern of Greek or roman figures. I might have some more photos somewhere, but this gives you an idea of what I was painting. It was held in place on the panto dames head with a big blue ribbon and bow. I miss rehearsals for the yearly panto. It was restored about ten years ago after several years absence. The largest ausiencevwe had was 180, and we do four performances over Thursday, Friday and two on a Saturday. I miss the stage fright and the fun. We used to do the performances in February to coincide with the school half term.

X

Objects

A lion was waiting on a roundabout when it saw a disco ball in a hall window… The light from the sun reflected off it and made tiny stars sparkle off every surface. The magic it set off created a bronze dragon, which unfortunately was only tiny. It was seen by a bag in the shape of an owl. Which swallowed the dragon whole. The owl then grew new feathers of purple and blue wax. It flew over a lake with oriental buildings and trees. It followed an orange man walking backwards with his legs sticking through the bottom of a boat. Two people watched on in horror. Finally all the owls toy cushion friends stood and applauded as it flew in and landed quietly and quickly in the corner.

Yes that is a lot of silly words, but I’d gathered these odd photos together and wanted to describe them. Not much of a story really!