Round Robin

21 December, 2014

Elaine_Bolt_IMG_1819I was a tad busy this Autumn/Winter. If I try to put it all down I realise it looks a bit like a Christmas round robin letter – a lengthy listing of what I’ve been up to, regardless of the audience! So, no obligation – feel free to enjoy only the pictures and skip the rest! I won’t be offended.

exhibiting at Made London and Made Brighton –  I exhibited my work at two big shows this Autumn/Winter – Made London and Made Brighton. I spoke to so many lovely people and sold some of my favourite wall pieces and objects. It was a bit hard sometimes to see some of them go, but the people who bought them really seemed to connect with the ideas behind the work. Again it was great to meet up with some fantastic makers such as fellow ceramicists Carys Davies, Paul Wearing, Silvia K, Alice Walton, Hilary Mayo; plus Annemarie O’Sullivan (basket/willow artist), Emily Kidson (jewellery), and the members of the 2014 Hothouse alumni group amongst many others.

It was lovely to then take my work to Silvia K’s beautiful open house in Hove. She had curated a wonderful selection of work by talented artists and crafts people.

Silvia K's open house

visits to museums and other places

Uppark House –

I’m interested in how installations and ‘interventions’ by makers in craft disciplines respond to the themes and aesthetics of a particular place. In October, I visited Uppark House to see the work of several artists as part of the ‘Unravelled‘ installation. There were some fascinating responses to the house and its history by a number of makers in different materials. The regular displays in the house also offered an opportunity to consider how museum houses present the story of their domestic history. The kitchens and ‘below stairs’ spaces are, I often find, the most fascinating spaces. I particularly liked the silverware and kitchen utensils laid out in rows, as if mid-polish. The house also offered a thoughtful reflection on the fire that had destroyed much of the building in the 1980s.

Steven Follen - 'Trade' at Uppark HouseUppark House kitchen

Craft Interventions in Domestic Spaces –

Shortly after that visit, I attended a one day seminar event organised by the Crafts Council on ‘Craft Interventions in Domestic Spaces‘. It offered a useful insight into past projects and collaborations between museums, houses and makers. I came away still feeling intrigued about the directions my work might take, if presented with such opportunities. But it was also enlightening as to the challenges that can be faced.

Pitt Rivers Museum –

In November, I went to Oxford to go to one of my favourite museums the Pitt Rivers. I’ve been a few times and love the slightly gloomy setting and the seemingly endless exhibits crammed into countless cabinets. There’s always so much to see, both on display and in drawers you can pull out, that you’ll always see something new. It’s easy to see how many makers have been inspired by its collections.

Pitt Rivers museum - display

Institute of Making –

In December I went to a special event held at the Institute of Making. The day long session was organised by the Institute and R&A Collaborations. They brought together 38 makers from many craft disciplines for an opportunity to learn about the facilities and collection; to discover the materials held there; and to experiment with different making processes, materials and ideas. I loved trying out pewter casting, working with willow and creating objects with various plastics. These were all materials I hadn’t really ever worked with before and may well filter through into future ideas for my own work. It was also a great opportunity to properly meet some makers that I had only ever ‘met’ on Twitter and Instagram! Photos from R&A Collaborations can be seen on Facebook.

Elaine Bolt - Pewter casting at the Institute of Making

being captured on film – 

My final ceramics adventure for 2014 was to be filmed by the dynamic duo that is Richard and Arron of R&A Collaborations. I could say a lot about this challenging/amazing experience, but I’ll post more about it in the new year, when the film is ready.

Richard and Arron - capturing images in the studio

And finally… 

Thank you all for visiting my blog in 2014 It’s always worth it for me to put these things down in writing. I hope it’s sometimes worth the read! Merry Christmas and Best wishes for 2015!

Pitt Rivers Museum eskimo and polar bear

Mudlarking

28 June, 2014

Thames River Bank

Thames River Bank

Last week I went on a very exciting trip to London to go ‘Mudlarking’ on the banks of the River Thames. Beach combing, to seek out unusual ‘found objects’, is one of my favourite activities, but I’d never had the opportunity, or courage, to go foraging for finds in London before. My friend and fellow potter Fay de Winter planned the adventure as an unusual treat!

There are some rules and regulations about what you are allowed to do and pick up there. You can’t dig or even ‘scrape’ the surface for example without a permit, and there are certain areas that are out of bounds. But if you time the tides right, there is a large area, right in the city where you can walk along and find all sorts of things ‘by eye’ on the bank, with new finds refreshed with every tide.

Garnets found whilst Mudlarking

Tiny garnets

My intrepid friend and I descended down steps to the somewhat unpromising looking river banks at low tide and found an assortment of unlikely looking people already down there. I’m not sure we quite fitted into the scene but the people we chatted to, doing the same as us, were all as friendly as you could ask. There were one or two with metal detectors, looking for treasure, but most were like us, looking for the kind of treasure that isn’t worth anything to anyone else.

The kinds of things that caught our eyes, perhaps because we’re both potters, were things like pottery sherds (the most colourful items shining out of the mud) and clay pipes, pieces of which carpeted some areas of the bank. I also have a particular, somewhat crazy, attraction to hand made rusty boat nails and there were plenty of those there too. With the help of more experienced mudlarker ‘Dave’ who we got chatting to, we also found things we’d never have spotted otherwise; including tiny hand made pins and, most surprisingly to me, unpolished garnets.

I don’t know enough to date any of these finds or even really know what some of them were, before they became lost and then found again. Maybe I can do some digging around on the internet to find out more.

Of course they had to be organised and grouped into tidy categories of my own. Putting them in a row and photographing them, as if they were important archeological finds, affords them a status they probably don’t deserve. But it gives me joy anyway. All of these kinds of things have an influence on my creative work. I don’t know what kind of influence these objects will have – they may even find their way into a mixed media piece I make in the future. I just know there will be an impact, somewhere.

Various pottery sherds

Designer Crafts 2014

30 December, 2013

So 2013 has been an exciting year for developing and exhibiting my work. My first full year of business since completing my MA has been a pretty busy one. I got back in the studio today after a short break and am busy working on some new ideas and pieces. There’s lots to look forward to in 2014 and it’s starting well, with the first Crafts Council Hothouse event next week and a fantastic show in London starting soon after.

I will have a selection of my work available at the Designer Crafts 2014, ‘Shop within the Show’, organised by the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Come to the Mall Gallery from the 10th January to see ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, metal, mixed media, textiles and wood by both established, and emerging, designer-makers.

My pieces will include a selection of celadon vessels and some rather cute sets of tiny pots and spoons.

Elaine_Bolt_grainofsaltpots

The show will be at The Mall, London SW1 and runs from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th January 10am to 5pm (closing at 4pm on the 19th).

Designer Crafts 2014

Setting off

3 November, 2013

This week I’m packing up all my best pieces, and heading off to show my work at two fantastic events:

I have some new ideas to share as well as my range of vessels and other objects. Here are some images of pieces for the shows, fresh out of the kiln.

See below for details of both shows, including venue location, opening times, and tickets.

I hope to see you there!

Handmade in Britain – 8th-10th November

handmade in britain

The show features over 100 exhibitors in all disciplines including furniture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and glass – all with a focus on quality and craftsmanship.

I will be exhibiting as part of their ‘New Graduate Showcase’ a celebration of new talent in a dedicated gallery within the show.

As well as my work, the showcase will feature 4 other emerging makers and designers in the field of contemporary crafts. These include textile designer Amanda Gibbs; jeweller Anna Byers, glass artist Peter Kucerik and interior accessories designer Felix Proctor.

A pdf of the flier with location and contact details can be viewed by clicking here: HandmadeinBritaineflyer

Venue: Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE
Opening Times: 11:00 – 19:00 Friday 8th; 11:00 – 18:00 Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th November
Admission Prices: One day: £7, Concessions: £5. There is an online early bird offer of £5
http://www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk/chelsea-13/tickets/

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Art in Clay Farnham – 16th-17th Nov.

art in clay logoArt in Clay Farnham 2013

Art in Clay at Farnahm Maltings is a dedicated ceramics fair, showcasing some of the finest ceramics currently being made by individual makers in the UK and Europe.

There will be a range of work from newly qualified artists working in clay, to potters with many years of creative work behind them.

Venue: The Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham Surrey, GU9 7QR
Opening Times: 10am – 5pm Saturday 16th; 10am – 4.30pm Sunday 17th November
Admission: Adult £5 Concession £4.50 Children 15yrs and under go free
http://www.artinclay.co.uk/home/farnham