I had the chance this weekend to stretch my horizons a bit both geographically and metaphorically, experiencing two different ways of site-based working with clay.
As part of the Thames festival there was a firing on the foreshore, inspired by ancient methods of pit-firing. By the time I arrived the pots were safely tucked up under the bonfire and couldn't be seen, but it was certainly an unusual experience to see a bonfire in the heart of the city!
For anyone who loves rusty treasures like I do, a trip to the foreshore is always a bonus!
Sunday took me to the Making Ground open day. This is a really inspiring collaboration between ceramicist Elaine Bolt, basket-maker Annemarie O'Sullivan and a disused brickpit site outside Horam in East Sussex. The site is a lovely watery tree-y place to relax and recharge anyway, but for one day visitors could also see and play with the 'wild' clay that they had dug from the site.
Some of the artworks made on the site were also on display.
As was the kiln, built from a willow framework and the clay from the site.
It was surprisingly moving to see things being made so directly from the un-processed materials found in a place, and to see them in that very place, and made me think about how I could find ways incorporate wilder gathered materials and 'place-ness' more into my work...