With the Easter Holidays upon us, I have the studio fully open again to visitors, with new vessels out of the kiln or drying on shelves, waiting to be fired.
I always enjoy the lull between Christmas and Easter as it is an opportunity to plan for the year ahead and to reflect upon the events of the previous year. 2016 had been an exciting year with a piece of sculpture in a Visual Arts Scotland www.visualartsscotland.org/ exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy buidings in December and participation in ‘Made’, the contemporary craft exhibition in Thurso and Wick galleries. Further back in August there was the ‘kiln cairn’ sculpture kiln at Yarrows.
But now Spring is here with lots look forward to. I am just compleating new tableware for the Cote du Nord restaurant. They will be the third set in a series of collaborative ideas between myself and chef Chris Duckham, this year the dishes are based on a scroll.
I have been successful in my application for a visual artists and craft makers award to help towards the cost of another experimantal sculpture kiln. It will be based on an Anagama Climbing kiln and middle eastern adobe architecture. I am planning to build this over the summer months and firing will be a celebratory event to which I will be inviting all my friends and customers! It also happens to 30 years since I first embarked on my career in ceramics so the firing will be a double celebration.
Autumn will be bringing a different aspect of my work into focus with two exhibitions. Firstly I am one of ten artists who have been asked by Mackay Country to create a piece of work to commenorate the life of Gaelic Poet Robb Donn from Strathmore. Robb Dunn has been heralded as the Robbie Burns of the gaelic speaking world, but his work is little known because of the language barrier. Our works will be on show in the Strath Naver Museum in October. In November I will be having an exhibition of sculpture and drawing in the Kelvin Collage in Glasgow this will be a great opportunity to focus on a series of small scale abstract pieces.
In the background there is also the specta of another major kiln building project. My old Salt kiln is very much on its last legs now and plans are afoot to turn the glaze and garden in sheds into a new kiln shed to house a rebuilt and modified kiln. The timescale is not fixed but I am aiming for summer 2018 for the build.
Of course I cannot do all of this without help, over the past year I have had ocassional assistance from Amy Shennan and Hannah Morrison. Both are ex-students of mine and both are very promising potters. They kindly leave behind their s wn new studios to help me out with production of the smaller items in the studio and I am looking forward to working with them again from time to time.
I will also be welcoming two students again this summer from Grays school of Art, recent graduate Amy Benzie, and third year student Brodie Birss. I am sure we will all have a happy and frantic time!
Wishing everybody a happy Easter
With best wishes from