Penny Eccles had me at
“The pink bowl is a RAKU firing and a one off. Special clay and an outdoor kiln. When I next do one I’ll let you know. It’s a Japanese firing technique, quite a spectacular thing with spontaneous combustion flames and bulging smoke. I’ve got underglaze colours we can mix & muddy to mute down the tone. Cece can paint these colours on herself with brushes like watercolour. ”
I don’t know what a lot of this means, but doesn’t it sound just wonderful? Doesn’t it sound like the kind of conversations you dream of having with creatives as you sit in bed drinking your morning cup of tea, with the radio playing “Desert Island Disks” in the background, imagining what you’ll be having for breakfast, just as soon as you can drag yourself out of your featurey soft bed warmed by the morning sun. Ugh. I want to have spontaneously combusting flames, bulging smoke, and Japanese firing techniques in my life. I want to sit in the morning sunshine painting beautiful colours onto pots Cece and I have made on a potter’s wheel, marvelling with Penny at the simple beauty of the light in her class workbench. I was amazed noone was sat in the sunny seat. No, I wasn’t. Noone ever sat in the sunny seat at school did they?
If you’ve spoken to me recently then you’ll know my struggle of working to do the things I love to do and then finding the time to do those things working affords me, balancing that precious time with filling my cup and doing the things I need to do, have to do and most of the time , want to do. If you know me you’ll also know I’m a sunseeker, I need to be warm and in the light, “You’re solar powered” my dear friend Harry would say. The sunshine has gone now, today I woke up in the dark, and I had that feeling of dread, like something awful had happened last night and the memory of what it was , was about to resurface. Nothing awful had happened. It was my body overreacting to another summer gone.
I reached for my phone and found a message from Penny. I suddenly remembered the pictures I’d taken in her class and it made me happy.
Here are a few photos of a “Toddler Pottery” class I’m taking with the wonderful Penny Eccles. Penny’s class is at the back of the courtyard of Farnham Maltings, a heaven for creatives. Penny’s energy us alluring, she is kind and gentle, you know that as soon as you meet her, before she speaks. Her classroom is fascinating, I’m sure she’d forgive me if I told you I didnt listen to a word she said, I was absolutely enthralled by all the wonderful things in her space. Things things things. Everywhere, a photograph of her daughter blue tacked onto a wooden underside of a shelf, next to a clay face she’d made when she was years younger. Her childhood forever captured in a plate of clay. Penny daren’t unhook it.
Names hurriedly scrawled onto scraps of thick creamy coloured paper placed on beautifully imperfect pots made by students and children , waiting to be glazed and fired. Buckets of glaze with jagged pieces of clay hanging off handles, giving the curious one a glimpse of what beautiful colours live inside. An old fashioned bike with a wicker basket, resting casually on the wooden cabinet. Stacks of dusty books, tubs of pencils, lime shaped moulds for pouring clay, conkers, twigs, autumn treasures. Ugh, all the beautiful things. I waved a photo of my home grown tomato at Penny complaining of having nothing to photograph. I begged her to give me something to take home and capture on my camera.
Penny marvelled at my use of roof slate and offcut of desk to create a piece art from a bunch of garden tomatoes.Creatives discussing beautiful things, makes my heart sing.
Here are a few pictures. We have a few sessions left, next week we are glazing our pots.
Penny can be found on her Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/trustmeimapotter