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Thursday
Aug312017

Ancestry

 

 

 

Ancestry

Howard and I were blessed to have been able to spend three weeks traveling North to South on a work related journey.While I am half English/Irish, I think I have always identified more with my Mediterranean heritage. No more! I am definately grooving on my Anglo Saxon roots. What a beautiful landscape, and language as well: our abbrieviated Americanized tongue is so direct and succint. It was wonderful to hear English spoken in rich and unfamiliar phrases that were novel to my ear.

We visitied studio potter's, ceramic manufacturers, weaving studio's, and willow growers. You may read Howard's story on his BLOG; it provides his perspective of a mutually appreciated journey.

Karen Collins, (whose business is weaving caskets from willow for green buriel), lives in Forres Scotland. Howard has wanted to learn how to weave one, so he did! I busied myself with visiting a centuries old woolen mill in Knockandoo Scotland, pretty cool, ;pved the water wheel which provided the electricity for all the centuries old equiptment.  Visited the very clever shop "Three Bags Wool" in nearby Abelour. Sarah, the owner, specializes in selling the selvedge edges of wool scarves and blankets for hooked, prodded, and woven projects. I bought HUGE needles and am going to knit up some wool rugs using my own strips of yard goods!

Karen also invited me to do a bit of needle felting at her studio, using fleece that we picked up at the nearby farmers. What did I paint a picture of wool in? A thistle of course!

 

In north England, we stopped in Stoke on Trent, where I did a bit of dumpster diving at Wedgewood (now I know plenty of folks who did that in the Fioriware dumpster as well, busted!) Plucked a few chards of coveted Jasperware.

 

I honed up on my industrial revolutionary knowledge of the ceramics, which of course influenced the subsequent ceramic industy here in Zanesville. Sam Weller and Herman Mueller never could have gotten all that pottery down the Missisippi without the canal system, so they took the lead from Josiah Wedgewood, who builtthe Trent and Mersey waterways to get his pottery out of town! Walking the canals, it was a real treat to pub hop, working the locks for a canal boat, and meeting the owner of one who travels with her wool shop!

I was enchanted with the tile collection at the Gladstone Museum, located at a historic pottery. The bottle kilns were incredible as well as the tile collection in a small but educationally rich gallery; Medieval, Islanic, Majolica, Art Nouveau ,and Contemprorty examples were all displayed. 

We visited Eddie Glew, the "Future of Basket Making in Great Britain". I kid you not. We were able to weave with him for three days, and it was a flipping treat. His business is Blithfield Willow and he is brilliant. I am so looking forward to getting our box(es) of my (crappy) baskets as I ordered quite a few from him!

 

My hands did learn a bit more, and I look forward to making baskets with Howard this winter.

When we traveled to the Somerset region of the Country, to visit the willow fields in "the levels" (lowlands), I got to visit the incredible studio John Leach, Bernards Leach's grandson.

Bernard Leach was the first European potter to visit the potteries in Japan, which in turn influenced the future generations of Western pottery. Three cheers for Wabi-Sabi! 

John invited us into his studio, where we saw the Anangama kiln that he and his partners fire and we were charmed by his lovely wife and the collection of pottery for sale in the gallery.

Great Anangama Kiln. 

 

The plum of my visit in this area was discovering the Queen of Medieval Tile. Thank you Caroline Hayles. A few cups of tea and hours later, I left with a few cherished examples which I look forward to sharing with my students. Pretty darned swell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do subscribe to leaving home for extended periods of time to explore the world. One always comes home changed, and this venture out was no exception. Thanks to all who helped us grow...including my ancestors from 3000 BC who managed to pull this one off....

 

Do read Howard's Blog, he has promised to have it finished tomorrow.  

 

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