Obituary: Jean Lowe 1926-2015
Pam Dodds has just told me that her great friend and fellow potter, Jean Lowe has just died (Friday 28 August 2015). I only know her by reputation but I know she will be sorely missed by not only her family, but by many many friends. Pam has written:
Jean Lowe, died on Friday 28th August 2015.
Jean, whose husband Anthony predeceased her, leaves four children and ten grandchildren. She also leaves many friends.
Jean took up ceramics in her sixties, for some years she had a workbench at Kate Malone’s Balls Pond Studios in Hackney, while also having her own studio at her home in Lower Halstow, Kent.
It was here, at the Old Reed Bed Studio that I and my fellow graduate Louise Bassant first knew Jean, and without her I doubt whether I would be making now. Facilities for potting in that part of Kent at that time were few and far between. Jean had a spare wheel she didn’t use for her own work (lucky me) and a kiln and space that we badly needed at a very reasonable rent. We all hit it off straight away. Getting to know Jean we realised what a great friend and role model she was and how lucky we were.
From 2002 to 2011 the Old Reed Bed Studios held Open studio’s showing not only the studio artists work but also hosting many invited artists, who exhibited their ceramics, paintings, jewellery, and textiles. These were wonderful occasions, the standard was good and people enjoyed them. Jean’s work was inspired by the surroundings of her home on the estuary, the rocks and shells she found there in particular. She coiled and handbuilt her rock pool forms and oyster shells as well as her larger standing forms.
Following her recent move to Bath and until she became too unwell Jean could be found working at the Bath Artist’s Studios.
Farewell Jean, I don’t want to get too sentimental but you will be greatly missed . Pam Dodds
A poem written by the poet Katherine May, inspired by Jean pots and to accompany our joint show Ways of Seeing (2005)
it encodes the most careful of joins
that the kiln finds,
and splits apart,
the tide remembers the curve of the shore
and the cut of the boat’s prow
exactly, each time it returns;
the shore remembers the footprints of children
as it seeps to fill the voids
of arch, heel, sole and toe;
shells remember the sound of the sea,
even inland, and flint remembers
each knap and blow in white scars
on its black obsidian;
the frost remembers unimagined patterns in the stones,
and the stones remember the human form
somehow, by accident, after they’re fired,
so that they crowd us like ghosts:
a watchful ancestry.
© Katherine May 2005