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Day 56: 100 Pots in 100 Days


So today I got irritated – sorry Somerset Art Weeks (SAW) – but I did. I think it is because I felt the challenge was misunderstood by SAW and consequently ignored. I have to say 10 Parishes got it but Pauline Homeshaw took a personal interest in my idea for which I am truly grateful. I think it was when the SAW team member said “there are lots of people doing 100 paintings or 100 drawings or 100 pots” that made me pause and think and then she followed this with a focus on the shape of an early pot and saying “I like this one, you could make more of them” as if my intent was to learn to throw so I could sell pots. This is my time line and shows all of the pots that I have ever thrown in my life. I have no interest in selling from my time line at all and the fact that I am giving up 4 is gut wrenching to me – much to my father and friends amusement.

So this is a time line of all the pots I have ever thrown in my life. It is not about the quality of my throwing but about my learning journey and my relationship with my father.

In true Fiona fashion I then reflected and thought, maybe I have not explained what I am doing very well and have carried on with the challenge without communicating the true nature of my project? Also why should someone be interested in my work at all? I mean of all the 100’s of people creating and making things why should anyone be interested in little old me, having never studied art or history and only learning to pot to try and raise awareness about one of the most impressive ceramic collections in the country that most people do not know about? 

At the end of this I want people to be interested in my learning journey (re throwing) and the history of ceramics here in our very own county of Somerset in the UK.  For me? I want to have understood my father better and have spent a little time in his world as I love him and this is the best gift he could ever give to me.

The reasons this is a challenge to me? 

So why have I never thrown before as I have a potter, who is extremely good at throwing, as a father. I think one reason I never threw is that it is hard, when your dad is brilliant, to start the process of learning. One of the nice things about this project though is that seeing my work, looking at the progress and then seeing his – you can really see why he commands the prices and recognition he now gets. I have always thought of Dad as a potters potter. You only really know how good he is if you know how hard throwing 10lb of highly grogged clay into a beautiful tall lidded jar with a blue, black and bronze glaze.  

Why did it take me to the age of 54 to try to learn to pot?  I have no idea really. I was an arsey little cow as a young woman. I thought I knew best and would rather have been poked in the eyes with hot skewers than thrown on a wheel. I loved sculpture and making things that reflected emotion, dance and movement. Having done this project I am grateful that I have taken this opportunity to share this time with my father, who is now 80, before the opportunity is gone. 

So with regard to the pottery and history – why do I think I should do the challenge? 

It is because I do not know, I have not been to college, I can ask the really stupid questions, be crap and laughed at and it is ok as I have no self esteem locked into my work and I can talk from a place that the majority of the uk talk from. One of ignorance but interest. 

I love the fact that the romans brought the wheel here and then left with it. I love that the question about Saxon pottery and why is there so little information about it came from a discussion at a party. I love the people I am sharing my time with who know a lot about this stuff and I want to shine a light on them and let everyone see how interesting they are and the wonderful work they are doing. Most of all I want people to know and share in the wonderful resources owned by SANHS and looked after by SWHT. 

Rant over 


A SAW team member visited today – enough said.

I am going to SAHNS tomorrow – very excited

16th November is the date of the talk with me and David Dawson – He is amazing.


 I had conflated the design of the bowl – a shallow, straight sided bowl quite broad with the place ‘pudding pan’.  I have included a diagram of some Roman shapes used in pottery design from a blog I found. I am currently trying to reflect design 79 in my throwing. Using 4lb of clay – I am up to 106 pots with many having the s shaped profile and a few bottles starting and also jugs with handles. Pottery Shapes Roman.jpg. Where was pudding pan out of interest? 
We do not have whole very early pieces in the SANHS collection but I am still interested in holding the oldest sherd. 
Found this to explain sherd – what do you think? It is from wikipedia 
“In archaeology, a sherd, or more precisely, potsherd,[1] is commonly a historic or prehistoric fragment of pottery, although the term is occasionally used to refer to fragments of stone and glass vessels, as well.[citation needed]
Occasionally, a piece of broken pottery may be referred to as a shard. While the spelling shard is generally reserved for referring to fragments of glass vessels, the term does not exclude pottery fragments. The etymology is connected with the idea of breakage, from Old English sceard, related to Old Norse skarð, “notch”, and Middle High German schart, “notch”.[citation needed][2]
A sherd or potsherd that has been used by having writing painted or inscribed on it can be more precisely referred to as an ostracon.
The analysis of sherds is widely used by archaeologists to date sites and develop chronologies, due to their diagnostic characteristics and high resistance to natural, destructive processes. Some characteristics of sherds useful to archaeologists include temper, form, and glaze. These characteristics can be used to determine the kinds of resources and technologies used at the site. “
So question for David Dawson
I am referring to the black burnished ware we saw in the museum. It seems to be referred to as roman but I thought it was also earlier than that. I am slightly confused by my time line but hope to gradually clear it up with you. 

Pot of the Day Process Gallery


Clay type: Toasted Stoneware

Turned and decorated

Decoration: Just turned the base

Biscuit Fired

Kiln: ?
Programme: ?Temperature: ?
Duration: ?
Date: ?


Oxide: ?
Slip: ?
Glaze: ?
Kiln: ?
Temperature: ?
Date: ?

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