Robert Ayton

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Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 18th 2014, 2:17 pm

Having browsed "The D.A.G. Yunomi Collection" ( www.myteabowls.com ) after Naomi's recent link to it under the Useful External Links section of the Forum, got me to thinking that I ought to start a topic about Robert Ayton, whose work is included in the collection.

I am sure that Robert wouldn't mind me calling him a "hobby potter" as he has a proper job i.e. Head of Design and Conservation at Westminster Council.

However, I do have two teabowls by him in my own collection and his work was much admired and bought by visitors to an exhibition I held in 2002 entitled "East meets West". It was a two person show, one Japanese and one British, and I do recall that all the Japanese visitors to that show couldn't believe that Robert's hand built pots were not by a Japanese maker.


Last edited by studio-pots on August 18th 2014, 2:33 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 18th 2014, 2:20 pm



The first of the bowls from my collection is marked on the base in a similar way to the one in the D.A.G. Yunomi collection: -


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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 18th 2014, 2:23 pm

However, Robert didn't always mark his work and when he did it wasn't always on the base.

The other bowl in my collection shown below is unmarked, as the image of the base shows.




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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by NaomiM on August 18th 2014, 6:03 pm

Interesting pottery. Although I have to say that, to my eye, it's not all that original. But hobby potters do get it right sometimes, and he's definitely one of them. I have a couple of hobby potter pieces on my wish list, so not a group to be ignored.

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 18th 2014, 10:43 pm

I don't think that Robert ever wanted to be original but just wanted to make pots that reminded him of the ancient wood fired pots produced at Bizen, Iga and Shigaraki in Japan. Not that his pots are wood-fired or would be mistaken for work from these 3 Ancient Kilns.

I would say though that once you have seen and held a few you would not mistake them for the work of anyone else, with or without a mark. At least he has that advantage over Shoji Hamada and Lucie Rie.  Cheeky

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by big ed on August 22nd 2014, 3:01 pm

I don't think the term "hobby potter" applies here , that suggests lesser imo , these are better than that , the top one in particular looks very well made and would not look out of place against better knowns , the bottom one is also a fine piece although I am personally not too keen on the Bob Dawe type dots impressed decor , is he related to Julie Ayton A Potters name I saw in d book ?

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 22nd 2014, 4:02 pm

I have no idea if Julie Ayton is related, as until you mentioned her I wasn't aware of her existence. I had a look at her website and her work looks interesting so the next time I see Robert I'll try and remember to ask him.

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by dantheman on August 22nd 2014, 4:03 pm

surely a hobby potter is someone who pots for pleasure and doesn't sell

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by big ed on August 22nd 2014, 4:29 pm

i agree with you there Dan

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by NaomiM on August 22nd 2014, 5:46 pm

dantheman wrote:surely a hobby potter is someone who pots for pleasure and doesn't sell


There are a lot of outlets for hobby/weekend potters, eg, ebay, etsy, craft fairs - even our local library has a couple of tables devoted to items made by local craftspersons. I've made wooden pens before now, and it soon get to the stage when you've got them coming out of your ears. You can't keep it all yourself, or give it all away to friends; there's just too much, so you resort to selling it. The quality, however, leaves something to be desired, ie, shows it be by a hobbyist, rather than by a professional who has to make a living out of it.

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Re: Robert Ayton

Post by studio-pots on August 22nd 2014, 6:49 pm

Robert had to be persuaded to sell his pots by both Trevor, who ran the Harlequin Gallery before me, and myself. Before that he had only shown his pots in a large exhibition organised by the Craft Potters' Association at the V&A when a few Associate Members (i.e. members interested in studio pottery rather than makers) had work selected to be shown alongside that of Professional members and Fellows.

It was there that Trevor came across his work and traced Robert because, although Trevor arrived less than 5 minutes after the exhibition opened, all of Robert's pots had sold.

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