This weekend, despite awful weather reports, I took my little family down to Hatfield House for our first Art in Clay event! I had a voucher for 2-4-1 from the Ceramics Review publication and so it was a bargain at £10 for all three of us! (Children under a certain age had free entry too).
We drove around the beautiful Hatfield House (we decided we must go back for a separate visit!) and through the trees, saw long white marquees and tents. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was a little nervous about going and speaking with other artists. But, the weather held and as we entered our first Tent – the David Leach tent – and we were met with smiles, people talking and an incredible variety of ceramics!
There were pots large and small; porcelain, earthenware, stoneware and paper clay; clay rabbits, gorillas and dogs galore!
The weather cleared and the sun came out as we helped ourselves to a delicious roast pork bap from the food section. As well as the different ceramic artists there was a raffle for Adopt a Potter, a tent for children’s activities, PotClays were there selling glazes and accessories and PotteryCrafts selling kilns and lots of information points.There was so much to see, the hours flew by!
As we walked around even my Beloved became interested in the different effects, glazes and shapes! Everyone we met was truly genuine and lovely. I absolutely love the pottery community. No one minded if you asked questions about how they achieved a certain effect, no one minded if you picked up their pots and had a good look – in fact they wanted you to ask questions – it was so warm and friendly! One artist started singing patty cake patty cake to Little One as he was beating his vase with a paddle, it was wonderful! I even dropped my wallet at one point without realising it, and it was returned to me within minutes with an announcement over the loud speaker – all money and cards intact!
What struck me most with the different artists’ stalls, was that they have developed a consistent colour scheme and style. Some of the pots are quite normal, simple shapes but their glazes are textured or intricate. Some artists paint flowers and leaves etc for a very ‘country kitchen’ style, whereas other artists had more geometric, traditional or contemporary shapes. Other artists are able to achieve incredible shapes and vessels, cutting into the clay or adding other mediums. Every stall was a feast for the eyes!
I had gone to Art in Clay determined to buy a little something – perhaps a coffee jar or a mug. As it happens, the coffee jars were well out of my price range for the most part, so instead we came across Pat Southwood‘s stall and Beloved and I liked a little pot, which I bought. It’s simple but an honest little pot with a lovely ridge and lip. A great little souvenir from a really wonderful day!
Overall we had a really wonderful time at our first Art in Clay! We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future events, particularly as it was so family friendly and Little One would be old enough to get involved next time. It has inspired me to try and find my style and build a body of work. Perhaps, one day I’ll be able to have a stall…