Geoff and Chris Cox write….
Every year at the Park we have at least 20 new exhibitors to keep the shows fresh and lively. Sorry if your favourite potters won’t be there this time but we hope you’ll be equally excited by the new work on display.
Among this year’s Continental first timers are :
Vladimir Groh & Yasuyo Nishida – Czech Republic Aire Goutt-Allikmets - France
Ellen Rijsdorp – Netherlands Ross Campbell & Johannes Makolies - Germany
Returning this year are Willy van Bussell and Mathieu van der Geissen – Holland, and
Lina Bekeriene and Osvaldus and Vilja Balciuniene from Lithuania. ( this year’s special guest country )
Most of the long distance potters who left work for the “Potfest : Journeys in clay” exhibition at Rheged
earlier this year will be back including
Reindert Overduin from Mediterranean France with his very colourful domestic ware
Richard Dewar from Brittany with his salt glazed wood fired work
Angelika Panten from Belgium with her crystalline glazed pots and
Kathrin Najorka from Germany with her wood-fired work.
Booklets from the exhibition are still available and will be for sale at the show.
Each year we try to have a special guest country with potters who live and work fairly close to each other to help create networks with their UK counterparts.The first group all came from Hohr-Grenzhausen near Coblenz in the German Rhineland. Many potters live in and around the town and every year they hold a pottery festival in the town centre. Several of us from the Park and the Pens took part in their show the year after as their guests. Hohr-Grenzhausen is the home of the Westerwald ceramics museum. Well worth a visit for any pot lovers who find themselves in the area.
Then came the group from St Amande -en – Puisaye in France another pottery town this time in Burgundy. Their special ceramics festival takes place in the grounds of the ancient convent at Treigny a nearby tiny village. Once again several Potfest potters were invited in return.
This year our guests are from Lithuania – Lina Bekeriene and her husband Levas first came to the Pens in 1999, our first long distance travellers’ driving through Poland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France then the length of England with a car full of pots just to be part of Potfest in Cumbria
For us potters are very special people wherever they come from.
Although each year we select the potters at the Park from all over Europe to make the show as interesting and varied as possible, from the very beginning we’ve made the Pens open to any working potter regardless of the stage in their ceramics career. For some it’s their first foot on the ladder, others prefer the unique atmosphere of the Pens and come back year on year but just like the Park at least 20% are new each year so there’s always different work to see. Where the Park is exclusive the Pens is inclusive and we try to involve the visiting public wherever possible. We offer free hour long classes in throwing on the wheel for adults, in the hope that it will give them the confidence to maybe join a night class or take up a course with one of the potters later in the year. There is a kids and clay area where graduating ceramics students will work with them to a theme during the show [ remember accompanied children get in free ]. This year’s theme is “ Under the Sea “. Unlike the Park, there will be trade stands selling clay, kilns and pottery tools at the Pens to get you started or give advice.
Hope to see you at one of the Potfest shows this year
Geoff & Chris Cox