A key factor of South Wales Potters is generosity. For 50 years SWP has been a platform for sharing skills, equipment and opportunities not only amongst members but with anyone we can. Every 2 years SWP, North Wales Potters and Aberystwyth University throw Europe’s biggest clay-party the International Ceramics Festival. I’ve been before, working, but this time lovely SWP members Phil Hughes and Kay Milward gave me a ticket and a room and I was free to wander from one fascinating, challenging, eye-opening, reassuring, encouraging lecture, demo, and conversation to the next. And then SWP Cocktails with Mary Cousins and dancing!
There was kiln building and firing.
Helen Walsh from York Art Gallery gave a really interesting talk about the new building and plans for their Centre of Ceramic Art, a fabulous new extension to the Museum opening this August. It’s especially great to see that happening in these pessimistic days. It is going to be wonderful, with imaginative exhibitions, a selling Gallery, a working studio, archives, an educational program and academic research.
One of the high-lights for me was the Emerging Makers presentation. A very diverse and inspiring group of young people were hoping to go on a Residency at the awesome Archie Bray Foundation in the USA. I was so pleased when Lanty Ball was chosen. His committed, thoughtful and sensitive approach to craftsmanship and expression was a joy to see. His pots are very beautiful.
The atmosphere at the closing ceremony was very warm, a thousand clay-people loving the work they are dedicated to and respecting and celebrating their peers.