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millenium kilns uk

updated tue 28 jul 98


chris cox on mon 27 jul 98

Many thanks to all those who answered our call for potters with British
ancestry interested in coming to the UK in 2000 to trace their family
roots, look up old relations, work with small communities on a ceramic
project and make pots to sell at the 2 Potfests. We will be in touch,
you haven't been forgotten!
(If you missed this info, see bottom of message).

Finding rudimentary work spaces for the project is no great
problem. It merely requires an open mind on both sides and an
adventurous spirit. The real difficulty arises in finding some method of
firing the work when few [ no ] village has a resident potter.


A possible village resource might be a communal barbecue. Used
on the few occasions when the British weather allows, it could be the
focus of village fairs and fetes. If this was a simple brick fire-box
with a removable griddle plate, could it be easily converted to a
woodfired kiln by placing a removeable, "top-hat", ceramic fibre, firing
chamber on top ?. If this proved possible it could result in a
serviceable kiln, at minimal cost, in every small community in the area
[ the same, portable fireing chamber being used by everyone ].
However as a village focal point the structure would need to be
more than an unruly heap of bricks, so the villagers would take pride in
their new amenity.
Any ideas ?.......


Potfest is a potters' market / gathering in Scotland and the North of
England. About 200 potters come together to show and sell their work at
each event. In the past as well as those from all over the U.K. potters
from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and mainland Europe have attended.
The problem for the really long distance travellers has always been
transporting work. It would make more sense if they could share working
facilities here in the weeks leading up to the event but workshops are
holy places and sharing tools and space is a sure fire way to lose
friends rather than make them.

Potfest is not just for potters to meet up, enjoy the "crack" [a
colloquial word for animated conversation ] and generally have a good
time in each others company. So many potters in one place attracts an
audience from far and wide, it excites the imagination and pulls more
people into the ceramics world both as buyers and makers.

Potfest 2000 - an idea for the millenium -

I have tentatively approached my local village communities in the Eden
Valley. [ An area defined by the river Eden on the edge of the Lake
District National Park in North West England ] I suggested that
they offer their village halls, empty barns or schools as temporary
studio space in return for a small teaching commitment. They seemed
cautious but interested, so here is the deal.

Any potter of British ancestry, i.e. the most tenuous connection to a
family history anywhere in the British Isles, looking for an excuse to
come to Britain in the year 2000 to discover their ancestral roots would
be welcome to use a makeshift studio, for a time, in a village in the
Eden Valley.
In return for the working space they would be asked to give one day a
week to the community to work on a small project to leave a record of
their part in the millenium in Britain. Their own work could be
displayed and hopefully sold at Potfest to offset their costs as there
is no financial aid available. In essence they would be just potters and
people enjoying each others company and making special connections
marking the millenium.
This is merely a starting point, to assess

for better information on Potfest itself check out

In this first instance interested potters should e-mail me direct. The
number of replies over the next few weeks will dictate what happens
next. [ 12 positive responses to date ]

chris cox