This weekend I’ve been out and about visiting a couple of Open Studio events on the island. I thought it would do me good (between my own shows) to visit other people’s. So last night I went to see my friend Sue Paraskeva’s studio in Ryde. Sue is a potter who specialises in hand-thrown porcelain tableware and one-off altered pieces. She uses a stick-driven momentum wheel for throwing, and ‘reduction’ fires all her work using a gas kiln. Last night her studio was overflowing with beautiful pots on display all around the walls and shelves.
Her work is mostly monochromatic: pure whites, lightly toned greys with the occasional pale green celadon or splash of dark oxide. This calming, harmonious colour scheme means her pots complement each other, mix and match perfectly, and look stunning together as a display. For a festive atmosphere Sue provided visitors with plenty of wine and mince pies (which I ate from one of her lovely side plates) and arranged a trail of pretty candles to guide guests along the path to the front door of her studio – a welcome glow on an otherwise cold wintery evening!
Earlier today I went on my second Open Studio visit to see my friend Anna Hayward who lives just outside of Cowes. I met Anna a few years ago on a raku workshop, but besides making ceramics, Anna specialises in making handmade glass beads and jewellery. I’m rather envious of her studio which is a lovely wooden summer house/shed in her garden. Knowing nothing about the process myself, it was fascinating to watch Anna demonstrate lampworking – which is the method she uses to make her beads – and to learn about her tools and equipment. It was very interesting too to talk about the crossover between glass bead making and ceramics – glazes being essentially made of glass of course and both disciplines using fire, minerals and kilns in their processes.
There’s also a crossover between Anna’s styles of work. Her interest in circles and spirals feeds into her designs and methods of working in both her ceramics (which are mostly hand-built coiled pots) and her beads, which feature colourful dots, snake-like lines and swirling patterns. In fact she also uses her pots to display her work, setting off her jewellery beautifully. So I had a very enjoyable afternoon admiring her skill - and choosing a couple of pieces to take home with me too!
Anyway, thanks Sue and Anna for their lovely shows!