Today I went on a whistle-stop tour, complete with my family, to the industrial heart-lands of Stoke-on-Trent, the historic home of ceramics, to visit Middleport Pottery, where I am involved in a joint exhibition with the Midland Potters Association.
The preserved site was originally constructed in 1888 for a well-known local ceramics company, Burgess & Leigh Limited and has only recently been restored with funding from the Princes Trust. It is a Grade II* listed site of red-brick maze, containing historic machinery, archives and collections in every corner, as well as studio spaces for new local artisans.
So, it is with great pride that I was amongst 15 selected potters to display their work in one of the old packing houses.
Last month I gave you the behind-the-scenes in my studio, this blog looks very briefly at the site of my current exhibition, which is open until April 24 at the Princes Studio and Gallery, in Burslem, in association with Barewall Gallery.
My work at this exhibition is based loosely upon a sea-theme, so there is a hint of wave formations and sea-foam in the patterns of piercings. The work is slip-cast using white or stained grey porcelain which is poured into a mould and left to harden. I then spend time smoothing the shape back since the mould leaves lines and marks which I prefer to remove.
I told you my family came with me on this trip. Here they are, getting in on the selfie action.
When I say whistle-stop I'm not exaggerating. A crash on the M6 meant our journey was prolonged by an hour and we had to be back in Birmingham for a kids' party too. So, I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked! But I was with some other distinguished potters that I have met through the Midland Potters Association. Here is a very small taster.
I wish I'd had longer to explore this special venue. It really was like stepping back in time, seeing the old Victorian offices. But there was also a sense of optimism - speaking to new potters and ceramacists who have chosen to base themselves at this historic site.
I hope you enjoyed joining me on this tour. Do visit if you get a chance. Or catch the venue in action for series 2 of The Throw Down (which I'm not planning on applying for by-the-way!)