The Flying Potter landed at Lugwardine Primary School near Hereford just before the Easter break.
The school was celebrating all things arty and crafty in their annual arts week and pottery was just one of many art forms the children were encouraged to engage with over the five days.
Each year group was given a different country to inspire their clay work with each class making a collaborative terracotta planter encrusted with decoration associated with their assigned country. The Sydney Opera House on the Australian vessel was a particular stroke of genius!
The pots have been dried and fired at Eastnor Pottery HQ and returned to the school to take up permanent residence in their new sensory garden.
We didn’t manage to get a photo of the x7 finished terracotta pots before we delivered them (doh!) but…. they posted a lovely photo of the pots freshly made on their website:
We’ve worked with Bishops Cleeve Primary School for a number of years producing quality, collaborative ceramic masterpieces, most of which are proudly displayed through-out the school.
We thoroughly enjoy our visits and it appears the school do too! Here’s what Arts Development Officer Mrs Parks has to say about our relationship:
“Always polite and puts all at ease whether paid teaching staff, classroom assistants or the unpaid voluntary helpers who make such a difference to the children’s experience of clay. Jon is always totally responsive to ideas and suggestions from the teacher planning the day and he or his friendly & helpful staff, respond promptly and enthusiastically to all the administrative details that schools need.
Jon’s encouragement and gentle, open manner with the children never fails to put all at their ease and get the best outcomes possible.
They love his sense of fun and even the teachers forgave him his jokes! It is always evident that Jon has a wealth of experience working with children of all abilities and he seems to have an intuitive feeling for the best approaches to take with each individual. His enthusiasm is infectious and our children gain valuable memories or working with a professional artist who is happy to share his skills and passion for all things muddy!
It exceeded my expectation as the children were more original and Jon’s demonstration of different ways of forming the animals and borders were so clear that all the children had a range of choices to make and were able to adapt the techniques shown to suit their animal and their own ability.
I just know the highlight hasn’t happened yet…it is the moment that the children see their fired pieces and those wide eyes and happy faces make it all worth while!”
Mrs Parkes is also an extremely talented maker in her own right. Examples of her work can be seen here.
Some of customers over the past four years or so will remember throwing pots under the tutorage of one of our staff members called Ethan.
Ethan joined us in 2012 as a fresh faced Community Arts Apprentice having never thrown a pot in his life. As part of his training we encouraged him to spend at least an hour a day on the potter’s wheel perfecting his technique. In a short space of time he was proficient enough to work with our customers, and was so smitten with the clay, established a studio at home.
Such was his rapid development and interest in pottery, after he finished his year-long apprenticeship we were able to offer him full time employment as a workshop facilitator here at Eastnor Pottery.
Fast forward to April 2018 and Ethan has nearly completed the first year of a BA Hons Ceramics course at Cardiff Metropolitan University!
Throwing is still very important to his making and he’s been making some pretty handsome forms decorated by way of a technique called naked raku.
More examples of Ethan’s work can be seen here.
People of all ages celebrate their birthdays with us here at Eastnor Pottery & The Flying Potter.
Helen and her family opted for our 1.5hr shared potter’s wheel experience to mark her 30th. The six adults took turns on the wheel, each person making three or four pots. Those resting from the wheel offered words of encouragement or simply giggled at their potting partners, wrestling with the spinning clay. One thing was certain, and everybody agreed, the activity made for a great spectator sport!
We’ll fire and glaze the party’s pots ready for the group to collect in a month’s time, the ceramic keepsakes serving as a permanent reminder of Josie’s special day.
Jon recently spent two creative and inspiring days working with the young people at Tettenhall Wood School in Wolverhampton, an educational setting specializing in students with a wide range of autism.
Arts week co-ordinator Maggie had worked with Jon in another SEN school and was keen to introduce her current pupils to the delights of working with clay in an exploratory and open ended fashion.
There were some ceramic outcomes – eg Zurg and Buzz Lightyear beautifully sculpted in a matter of minutes, but on the whole it was all about the potter’s wheel and the fluid, silky consistency of slip and soft clay.
The sessions were gloriously messy and by the end of the day the art room was well and truly splattered, a testament to the enjoyment and enthusiasm in which the students approached the material.
One student was initially unimpressed by the mess and stood a long way from the wheel vocalizing her disapproval at being in the space. Through-out her protest, the individual in question watched the other students take their turn on the wheel and as her mood calmed, she was encouraged to step a little closer. Eventually and with a little more coaxing she was handed a pencil to interact with the spinning clay. She used the pencil to create marks, spirals and swirls before downing the tool and tentatively touching the clay with the tip of her finger. Next thing, both hands were clasped around the lump and a broad smile stretched across her face. All this inside a very short space of time – naught to sixty in 20 minutes!