Sarah Halford

Architecture and Ceramics

the potting past

The other week I was invited to join a group of potters who are getting together every month to discuss pots, watch videos and demonstrations and bring along precious pots made by potters they admire. I’m very new to the world of pottery, and have no training in either ceramic technology or ceramic history. In one way, this frees me from looking too much to the masters such as Leach and Rie, who cast a long and wonderful shadow over 21st century studio pottery. In another, more real way, it makes me look like a fool when I don’t know who Isaac Button is, in front of a group of potters!
We watched a wonderful silent film of Isaac Button, who was the last owner and potter at the Soil Hill Pottery in Yorkshire. The pottery was rebuilt by Isaac and had a downdraft kiln, so performs double duty as a kiln, and the hot air from the firing dries the raw materials to provide the clay, before being expelled.

My amazing diagram

There are video excerpts on YouTube

There was even an original Isaac Button planter/large lugged pot that one lady had been given, it was wonderful. The lugs were so rustic, and not completely even, and there was a gallery for the lid to fit in, but no lid. From watching the film we thought that the gallery was actually for resting a temporary kiln shelf ‘lid’, to stand the next planter on, so it never had a lid at all. Pottery detective work!

I’ve been making a few platters lately, luckily they should stack when they’re finished, so my flat won’t be full of enormous platters. This is my favourite stage, when all the detail carving is done and I scrape back the coloured slip to reveal… all the mistakes I’ve made! Ha!

Lots on Mud Colony this week 🙂


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This entry was posted on October 28, 2012 by in pottery.
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