June 22, Patricia Shone, Potter

Patricia and an unfired pot.

Patricia and an unfired pot.

I first came across Patricia’s work back when this trip back  was just a gleam in my eye. I was looking for wood firing ceramicists and came across her site. – And I just fell in love with her work, plus she’s located on Skye. (her “about ” page has a wonderful video of her giving a demo complete with local scenery). Her work has the  shared powers of ancient terrains and just manipulated clay -which is a very ephemeral state.

Over the course of planning this trip we were in contact and she was very kind and helpful. However I was in no way prepared for the generosity of time and teaching she offered me on this rainy afternoon.

View from Patricia's Studio

View from Patricia’s Studio

I got a cab from the hostel – which fascinates me. It’s an ordeal to get a cab in Pittsburgh but in this sparsely populated area I could arrange a cab and of course the driver knew Patricia and where she lived.

From the back of her studio

From the back of her studio

The first part of this visit was not only a tour of her  studio, and an inspection of the wood kiln, and conversation about several things clay and finding the head and heart time to work, and finding one’s voice, but also  – this was the humbling surprise here – A lesson on her technique! I was so thrilled.

The demo pot for my lesson

The demo pot for my lesson

After a while it was time for her to take the dogs for their long walks so it was agreed that she would do that while I had a sit and at the cafe at the pier, then she would get me then give me a tour of the Island. So here is another place where I can’t believe that I didn’t take a picture. This cafe – was a tiny tiny  bright many windowed box with an outdoor service window and 3 tables inside. very close together. – But the food was wonderful and fresh and homemade.

When Patricia came to get there had been a change of plans. Friends of hers,potters, Catherine Holtet, quite experienced and her husband, who was just getting into it, had stopped by for a visit so we went back to Patricia’s for tea and of course they wanted to see the kiln too.

to the right of the kiln

to the right of the kiln

Front of kiln Fire box

Front of kiln Fire box

Inside of kiln to the left

Inside of kiln to the left

See how it's tucked into the hill

See how it’s tucked into the hill.

This turned out to be an especially sweet experience for me. By being in the company of friends who are potters, even though both were virtual strangers to me – there was the spirit of being with my friends and doing what I love to do with other folks who a: love the doing the same thing but be whose work is very different from each other.  Certain things seem universal to potters: when picking cups for tea there is the discussion of which one because most potters have a selection of their friends work that they admire. So when a selection is made there is a knowledge of the maker of the cup that is most intimate. What brands they drink and smoke, who their partners are, how they were affected by the accident, the illness, the divorce. And I wish I could remember the name of the maker of the cup that Catherine picked because while we were out looking at the kiln the dogs got to the tea tray and that cup broke. So there was a tad more feeling than if any old cup had broken.

porn for wood firers: this how things can be when you have your own kiln

porn for wood firers: this how things can be when you have your own kiln

There is the similarity in this community as well about the difficult folk – who keep this life choice from always being nirvana – that and the lack of pay. We  had a  discussion of how we love  others’ work and  – this became an important theme on the trip – Patricia spoke of the influence of an artist who told her that one needs to learn to love their own work. I think it was late pm I was taken back to the hostel. But I have stayed in touch with Patricia and so hope that when I return to UK (God Willing), it involves another visit with Patricia.

Patricia’s website: http://www.patriciashone.co.uk/index.php,

Catherine’s: http://www.theweeviking.com/

Patricia's vase in my room back in Pittsburgh.

Patricia’s vase in my room back in Pittsburgh.

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