I’m writing an article at the moment for Ceramics Ireland’s next magazine about my work and why I choose to make tableware, and it has encouraged me to reread some of my old pottery books. In doing so I came across this paragraph written by a great old lady in her 90’s. I think it sums up a potters life…….
‘To make a pot, we must have skills-truly basic skills-firstly making the clay usable by pugging, wedging, kneading, and balling, then throwing the pot on the wheel, followed by turning the perfect foot rim, pulling or extruding a strong handle and, last of all the most difficult, decorating the vessel in an appropriate way. Allied to these formal skills is the paramount understanding of what we use and what we use it for, how relevant this is to our customers and, subsequently, if we can persuade(educate) them that this is what they themselves need as well as buying it as a gift. Apart from all these reasonable simple tasks, the potter fulfills what I believe to be a fundamental role in the community, in being, perhaps, the only relic of a magical time past-the simple craftsman in a village deprived of blacksmiths, cobblers, saddlers and carpenters. I do not mean the good old days in a romantic sense, but a time where people were in touch with where things came from. As working potters, we are the link to the earth. We are the monstrous relics of a marvellous time when designs and ideas flew from men, as opposed to machines. A time when craft was a noble word.’
From Brickfields by Mary Wondrausch