Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Post Potfest Disorder...

I am suffering from a bad case of PPD.  Post Potfest Disorder is a syndrome with both psychological and physical symptoms. I've just returned from 3 days at one of Europe's most outstanding ceramic art events: Potfest in the Pens, having been lucky enough to be an exhibitor myself this year rather than just a punter.

To explain the physical disorder: it's taken me 48 hours to sort out the chaos of boxes, tools, camping gear, display materials, etc that travelled to Potfest and back with me, and were then spread around my house from Sunday evening, when I arrived home too shattered to properly unpack them. 

Over the past couple of years, I've really come to appreciate that Potfest is a truly incredible event. Apart from the overwhelming diversity of art works on show (all made from the same basic material: i.e. mud!) the logistical and organisational processes behind the event are, in themselves, quite stunning.

The general public who come to enjoy Potfest don't know the half of what goes on behind the scenes before and after the events. There is such a lot of hard work involved with getting the pens set up.... and then with taking it all down again. Not to mention the matter of engaging with the public for 3 very 'full-on' days when most potters are used to working in solitary confinement in a quiet studio...

Packing at the end of another very successful event

Fetching, carrying, packing, dismantling, tidying...

My involvement with the event this year came about when Steve Nicholson, my good pal from Newcastle College, in his final college year, was given a free 'pen' for himself and fellow students in return for running 'some kind' of ceramics workshops for Potfest visitors.  Geoff and Christine Cox, who are the organisers of Potfest make great efforts to help student potters make it commercially.  Steve's work went down a storm!  He was inundated with customers and nearly ran out of work to sell on the last day.

The sign I made to go with Steve's work.
I have to admit to having enjoyed running the workshops more than trying to sell my work, even though it was very tiring.  I talked to so many lovely people and met so many enthusiastic youngsters who were just desperate to get their hands on a lump of clay and start making! As we didn't have the facilities to fire the work made in our workshops I promised all the young budding artists that I'd showcase their work here on my blog, so here goes...

Hannah Furnival - first to try my workshop and definitely a potter in the making!

Hannah's lovely printed tile

The above are only some of the lovely things there were made.  Many folk took their work away with them before I got chance to photograph it. 

So Potfest is packed away for another year....

....and I am feeling a little lost without the vibrant, cheery company of 150 other potters. I don't know quite what to do with myself...   I suppose the best way to cure my PPD is to just start getting ready for the next one... :-) 

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