Pots and Poems
Scotland – May 2008
This current body of work came together in a strange and fortuitous manner. I am a keen if somewhat inept golfer and a member at the Helensburgh golf club. As a result of excavations on the course, clay was unearthed that I thought might be suitable for pottery. This then lead to a prototype golf trophy. I was struck by the “look” or visual appeal of the text on the pottery form. Around this time, for no particular reason, I purchased a copy of the Independent newspaper containing Booklet 1 of The Great Poets- Geoffrey Chaucer. Whilst I did not use any of Geoffrey’s work, the proverbial penny had dropped and I had the beginnings of my textual material to develop this work.
I like most modern ( or indeed post modern!) potters are looking for ways to make their work objects of contemplation as well as objects of use. Poems or parts of poems and a developing calligraphic style have allowed me to do this. Most of the quotes are romantic or spiritual in nature, little snapshots that strike a chord with my internal life. Ceramic illuminations is a term that comes to mind and gives an idea of the future for this work
On a more political level, I have used Rudyard Kiplings “Mesopotamia – July 1917” in full. It is a powerful criticism of a political leadership that takes a country into a war in the Middle East and then cannot or will not get the job done. A huge loss of life ensues. The leadership skulks off and returns to public life later when the political heat is off. Does any of this sound familiar?
Special thanks go to the people at the Luss Pilgrimage Centre, in particular Minister Dane Sherrard and Bob Seaward for their unstinting support and understanding,, without their help none of this work could exist. They provided a work space, a potters wheel and a kiln to a pottery orphan a long way from home.
I would also like to thank the Independent newspaper for their series of booklets on the great poets. They served as a source of quotes and inspiration to look further into poetry. The booklets were put together by Mr Michael Schmidt, Professor of Poetry, University of Glasgow.