What is the 100 Pots in 100 Days all about?
The 100 Pots challenge started with a bright idea from yours truly spoken about in a meeting. It was a website meeting and we were talking about our website – funny that!
So the issue was – we didn’t have enough people with the IT skills to update the website as volunteers, in the original brief we had costed for a paid website editor/manager but SANHS was short of cash so we had to think of a solution. I came up with a sponsored pottery challenge. I thought it would also have the added advantage, if I did it correctly, of highlighting what SANHS owns and what SANHS does and stands for. For example – did you know that many of the artefacts looked after by the South West Heritage Trust are owned by SANHS and that we fund their upkeep? Did you know that the Castle Museum is owned by SANHS? Did you know that, together with SWHT, we own one of the largest collections of pottery in the UK outside the V&A? Did you know that much of the collection is stored in Taunton and that you can get it out if you request it? Did you know SANHS gives grants to people to promote our aims?
And there is the problem.
Unless you know what is there and what we do how can you ask? So we want to have our collections available to view, we want a website that champions what we do and helps us fund our activities and to do this we need someone to manage and edit the website. We want a website that lets everyone know about the talks and visits we put on and that can help you access them. We want you to be able to see what books we publish and also share what our grants are creating and give you opportunities to apply for them.
So my challenge to myself was and is to try and raise a bit of money for SANHS by doing what I love – pottery.
So how could I make it a challenge that people would sponsor? Well I have always refused to throw. My father is a brilliant potter and he throws on the wheel. I sculpted figures using a highly grogged clay or paper clay. So the challenge to myself was to learn to throw and then to use the SANHS collections to inspire me. Also I have PTSD, am constantly poorly and have the concentration of gnat and, before I started this, was finding it hard to settle to anything even sculpture – so this really really really was and is a challenge.
If I had known what I know now about the process would I have done it?
- Research and increase my understand around the history of ceramics – techniques and context
- Prep the clay
- Throw a pot
- Dry the pot
- Turn the pot
- Decorate the pot – possibly add a handle etc
- Blog about the pot on twitter, two websites, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn etc
- Fire the pot
- Glaze the pot
- Fire the pot
- On top of all this I have to live and look after the house, gallery and my father.
The answer is Yes even though it is much harder than I anticipated.
The first 50 days were really spent learning how to throw and looking for pots that reflected design or decoration within the collections. I read up about history and when people first started making pots and I understand much more about the Neolithic person through to the Romans. I am just touching on Saxon and later so watch the blog for updates.
I was not skilled enough to make a pot that I had an idea about at the start of the process.
- Day 50 I started to be able to think more about what I was able to do
- Day 57 I started really looking at designs and finding the process of combining the archaeological with the making interesting.
- Day 64 I made something just for me as I was beginning to get confident that I would achieve the 100 pots and add some. I was up to 94 pots.
So by funding me you fund, an hour at a time, support for the development of the website. By doing this you support us to create a website that promotes our activity. Volunteers will post onto it but we need help to edit and manage the boring bits that nobody wants to volunteer for.
You are also enabling me to spend time and learn from my dad. I can not thank the world enough for giving me this amazing opportunity and you are helping me, just by being interested, mend and rebuild my life.
Thank you for being interested and/or sponsoring me. I hope, when you visit the SANHS Website, you will feel inspired, join and fall in love with the collections as I have done.