Visit to "Honest Pots" exhibition

We visited this exhibition because it was a rare opportunity to see the sort of pots that inspire us. I say rare because, as Andrew McGarva intimates in "Country Pottery", this sort of pottery is overlooked. While the V&A website claims to house "the greatest and most comprehensive collection of Ceramics in the world", if you do a search on "country pottery", "Isaac Button", "Wetheriggs" or "Littlethorpe" the closest you get is Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew, who were themselves inspired by the type of pots in this show. Leach and Cardew had the good sense to appreciate these pots even while they were still fairly common.

What is it about the sort of pots in this show that make them interesting? For me it is the balance of materials, function, need, fluidity, speed, appropriateness, the makers resilience, and independence. The materials for these pots are mainly locally sourced. They are made to fulfil the fundamental human requirements of containing, carrying, storing, mixing, cooking, baking and brewing. As with any commercial endeavour, the pots needed to be made efficiently, so were made quickly and with a minimum of finishing or decoration, which lead to fluid, handsome work of economical design.

The show ranged from medieval pottery to Simon Carrol, which made 500 years pass in the blink of an eye. The common factor is common surface clay and with this material it is easy to go back thousands of years and still be working the same stuff. Doug Fitch was part of the "Honest Pots" exhibition. He has a great blog and makes fantastic pots. He also posted this video of the exhibition on his YouTube Channel.