Pots in the Byre

I dropped in to Steph Jamieson‘s annual ‘Pots in the Byre’ show at Broadwood Hall Studios, yesterday, just before the heavens opened and the rain came down in a deluge, to see some of the pottery displays. The day before, Saturday, she’d fired up the electric Raku kiln, to make some lovely glazed fish decorations, and last weekend she had the big wood-fired kiln roaring away. Given the lovely weather on Saturday, it was no surprise to hear that the artists had enjoyed an incredibly busy day.

I had a lovely chat with Karen James, who is based in the Wasps Studios in Glasgow. She also exhibits in Florida, and it was a real treat to enjoy her work and her technique here in Allendale. Her figurines have a sense of primitive sculpture about them, but each are in what feels like contemporary poses: diving, exulting, blowing a kiss, embracing. Life-enhancing, for sure.

The displays around the ‘byre’ were stunningly presented: great credit and kudos to Steph and the individual artists for the arrangements. The artists who have wares on display this year include: Lisa Armour Brown, Eileen Downs, Laura Hancock, Karen James, Steph Jamieson, David Lawson, Andrew Pentland, June Roddam, John Scott and Rob Watson.

Steph has had a wealth of ceramic-centric artists through her annual show over the past 11 years, and before that during the Art Tour for many years. The Art tour eventually came to a natural end, but her show has endured.

It was an illuminating experience to see the craftsmanship and artistry on display in the byre, and no doubt there will be more visitors in this coming weekend (the show opens at 11am and continues until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday) as the crowds descend on Allendale for the annual folk festival. Let’s hope the displays will sell well too, so that these artists will receive some recompense commensurate with their industry and perseverance in an art form that somehow seems so integral to our daily life.

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