Preparing for exhibitions – Annabelle’s ninth month at the Leach Pottery

Summer is finally here in St Ives, which means watching dolphin pods from Porthmeor beach. The warmer weather has been a long time coming and you can see everyone is lighting up. Kat Wheeler has returned from a three-month pottery trip to America and since then, we have been preparing for a 20 piece exhibition in the shop to host pots made by everyone who has worked at the Leach since its re-opening 10 years ago.

For this exhibition, I’ve been practicing making round jars which has been so much fun. Once you’ve set the size of the base and made sure the pot’s foot is the right height, you pull up the walls as high as you can. While keeping the walls around 5mm thick, you can start to shape the body by pushing out the clay from the bottom to the middle, and from the top to the middle. It doesn’t seem to take much longer to throw a 20 or 30cm jar than to throw something hand sized, like making the mug. Shoji Hamada’s use of pouring glaze creates a new direction for the eye to follow and I have been working out some glaze finishes for these pots in a similar way.

I have taken a lot of inspiration from slipware potters and started using a slip trailer to decorate my bowls with. I’m really excited about these new handle-less teacups. I use this particular toffee and apple coloured cup for herbal teas almost every day. Using your own pots gives you a closer understanding of how you use different shaped pots and why, for instance, the curvature of the rim and how the liquid pours into your mouth.

After work, the weather has been perfect for a snooze on the beach before carrying on making personal work. For the summer time, I will be making bright orangey-red colours and cool blues like the St Ives sea on a sunny day, and they will be shown at the exhibition this month.