13 September 2017

Wardlow Mires Pottery & Food Festival

show venue in the middle of beautiful Peak District (before the storm!)
A huge and belated thank you for those who came to Wardlow Mires Pottery & Food Festival last weekend despite the horrendous weather. You were all amazing! If you have seen my story clip from Instagram, you could tell the buzz of the venue. I was actually stunned how busy it was! It was wonderful to meet so many people, had a chat about work and life, and to see off many of my work to happy new homes. Thank you so much!

Here are a round up of this show and more of goodies from other potters at the end. Hope you enjoy! 

“A celebration of the table”

A keyword of this show by the organiser Pat Fuller was stuck in my head since I first heard about this event a few years ago. To me, pottery has always been to be used and enjoyed at the table, which was deep in the food-culture in my Japanese background. However, as you can find so many industrial ceramics out there, I guess it is not as easy as you think for people to bring “handmade” pottery to home. But actually I feel more and more people enjoy their home cooked meal with family and friends these days, and they are realising that a joy of the table can be brought with handmade pottery to serve the food. I’ve been holding this idea, which is quite a basic but easily forgotten, as the main reason that I love making pottery and love to share with people. 

So with a lots of expectation, I finally visited the event last summer. Well, you know what? It went beyond my expectation. It was bloody brilliant! Up until then, when it comes to ceramic event, tableware were not necessary the centre of focus. But this show was all about it, which was exactly what I was looking for. So you know how much I was delighted to take part of this show. I cannot thank the organiser Pat enough for being so kind and encouraging. 

my stand at the show (need more refining!)

Setting up with my display stand whilst you look around many established potters’s wonderful displays wasn’t an easy one. I kept feeling that my stand looked rubbish and amateurish. Not enough height, not enough impact. I was rather disheartened to be honest. The space in our car was limited with my daughter and camping gears, as one of my excuses. Yet the show like this is actually a good place to learn, too. I hope I will get better at it with practice over time.

As you can see, I displayed two of my recent work, “rakugaki” (blue and white series) and “mazekoze” (four coloured) in symmetrical way. The interesting thing from this show for me was to hear what people say about my work. 

my "rakugaki" mugs and jugs

Many mentioned that “rakugaki” has a sort of Scandinavian feel. I do love Scandi style myself, but have never thought about it when I was making these. It’s rather nice to know such taste comes out naturally not deliberately, so I am very happy.

"mazekoze" nesting bowls

As for “mazekoze”, the colours and the texture of glazes were well received. If you’re my blog reader for a while, you know it took me a long time to get these colours, so it is nice to hear such a good response. Some says “organic”, some says beautiful to the eyes and to touch. That made my day!

Many also mentioned that they can see Japanese-ness in my “caring to the details” approach, but there are also freedom in designs like Western. What a great compliment! Thank you everyone. 


Now, you know I cannot take my eyes off other potters as a pottery lover. There were many established and talented potters at the show. I would like to share some of my favourites with you. 

I have been a big fan of Isabel’s work for some time now as I posted in the past (here). Those colourful surface decoration are truly joy to the eyes and we enjoy having a cuppa in her lovely mug everyday. 

colourful stand with ISABEL MERRICK
bird butter dish by ISABEL MERRICK

Actually Isabel has been a great asset for me to come to this show. Always encouraging and giving me positive feedback, and in fact she was the one who persuaded me to apply for this show a year ago. It is so fortunate to meet someone like Isabel, as I feel like I have got a mentor! Thank you Isabel, as always. It was lovely seeing you again, (and your fabulous tent with fairly lights!) 

I have never met Margaret before, but she approached me to say that she’s been reading my blog. You know I share about my daughter’s condition etc in blog, talking to her felt like rather personal and intimate. 

an excellent owl bowl by MARGARET BRAMPTON

Margaret produces traditional slipware with sgraffito decoration, many of which are flora and fauna. I was instantly drawn to her owl bowl with a quirky handle. You know I could not resist! Happily came home with us. Thank you Margaret, it was so lovely to meet you. 

Fleen’s stand was directly opposite to me. I haven’t seen her work at first hand before but I knew from an article in Ceramic Review. Fleen makes wood-fired salt-glazed stoneware with stamped surface decoration, which is her unique charms. She also makes simple yet elegant porcelain pieces. 

FLEEN DORAN and her beautiful salt-glazed work

Fleen kindly shared her tips about online shop, mailing list etc and all was very helpful information for me, as I am hoping to build that up this year. She is now expecting her first baby and it was lovely to chat with her, and she also spoken to my daughter at the site. All the best Fleen and looking forward to hear if it’s a girl or a boy! 

Ben’s free, wild and somewhat primitive drawings on his work are just so appealing to many of us, I’m sure. They make us happy! It's a simple fact! 

BEN’s whimsical drawings bring us happiness
A man to watch! BEN FOSKER

His drawings fascinate me a lot. As I also draw my “rakugaki” series, it’s good to get inspiration from other artists work too. Having spoken to him over Facebook for some years now, it is strange to meet him this way because you don’t feel like a first time. He is indeed a lovely chap as you imagined and kindly shared the story about his family and his thought about the show. 
wonderful owl platter by BEN FOSKER

I always wanted his work one day, so this owl platter now sat on my bird wall looking at us everyday. 

As I was looking around prior to the show starts, Sheila’s pottery was the very first one that I was attracted to. 

 pencil drawings by SHEILA HERRING

SHEILA HERRING and her stand

She explores the surface design with pencil line drawings and sgraffito. I just love those techniques and tools. As you might remember that I used to use pencil line drawings on my old “rakugaki”, it brought a smile to my face when I saw her work. With additional colours and dark clay that she altered its shape and embossed pattern, her work brings to life. 

my fav jug of the day by SHEILA HERRING

I adore this jug with a flower handle. What a creation! Great meeting you Sheila. 

Finally I cannot thank enough for this opportunity to Pat the organiser of this wonderful event. Her friendly, welcoming and down-to-earth character is such an admiration to many of us, certainly to me and helped put me at ease at the show. 

beautiful teapot and cups by PAT FULLER

We returned home with a perfect memory too. We shall treasure them. 

Thank you so much for reading along! Hope you enjoy it and find your favourite too. You can click each name to visit the potter’s website to find out more. 

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