Where did all the potters go?

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dantheman
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Where did all the potters go? Empty Where did all the potters go?

Post by denbydump July 20th 2014, 3:55 pm

Isn't it amazing just how many studio potteries there are/were in Cornwall,
and the south west. I wonder just how many potters were actually from
the region, or did they just move down there for the light, landscape, or
inspiration, like the Newlyn school before? Is it the artistic history, or just
having a sexier address? If I moved to Cornwall would I come under the
influence and start being creative? I haven't been through the book, but
there must be some counties with virtually no studio potters, particularly
as you head north. So is a "pretty" location a prerequisite for creativity?
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Post by dantheman July 20th 2014, 4:39 pm

a good clay source is also important

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Post by NaomiM July 20th 2014, 4:51 pm

And local grant schemes. Wales and the Scottish Isles also benefited, amongst others.

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Post by studio-pots July 20th 2014, 5:01 pm

The ones of the older generation, who weren't born down there usually went because the countryside was appealing and property in the middle of nowhere was really cheap.

There was also the fact that the Leach Pottery and Cardew's Wenford Bridge Pottery were in Cornwall, so attracting apprentices, who sometimes remained nearby when starting out on their own.

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Post by denbydump July 20th 2014, 8:17 pm

dantheman wrote:a good clay source is also important

You want clay? we got clay! to wit, the large number of historical potteries in Derbyshire.
Good stoneware clay often occurs in coal seam areas. Denby, who source locally,
reckon there are at least 30 years worth left, even though they make stuff in the
far east now also. Yes Cornish clay is special, and exported everywhere, but did
that really attract potters, and did they always use it? How many potters actually
used the Cornish "China clay"?
I'm sure I read somewhere that Troika bought their clay in from Staffordshire.
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Post by studio-pots July 20th 2014, 8:54 pm

I know of no potter in Devon or Cornwall who uses/used china clay. The Fremington clay from North Devon is used though but most potters "import or imported" their clay.

Starting a pottery in St. Ives, as Bernard Leach did, was complete madness from a raw materials point of view. He only went there because a rich woman by the name of Frances Horne had started up "The St. Ives Handicraft Guild" and wanted a potter to be included. She gave him £2500 to move there and buy a property, which he did.

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Post by denbydump July 20th 2014, 9:16 pm

Wow, moving to Cornwall was expensive back then!


Last edited by denbydump on July 20th 2014, 9:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by big ed July 21st 2014, 5:13 pm

It still is , house prices in st ives are astronomical .
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Post by studio-pots July 21st 2014, 6:39 pm

In the mid to late 1990s I was toying with the idea of buying a place in St. Ives i.e. a shop with living accommodation above. It was the right time, as a number of long standing traditional business owners seem to be retiring and prices for that type of property were within my price range. What stopped me was the distance from affordable stock.

I don't regret not buying but by the beginning of this century that was no longer possible, as property of that type was less plentiful and so the costs shot up and made it uneconomical.

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Post by NaomiM July 21st 2014, 6:45 pm

My husband wants to retire to Cornwall, but only if/when it has fibre optic broadband.

 Happy 

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Post by big ed July 21st 2014, 7:05 pm

And roads .
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Post by pot-bellied amateur July 22nd 2014, 9:59 am

NaomiM wrote:My husband wants to retire to Cornwall, but only if/when it has fibre optic broadband.

 Happy 


Don't tell him but some of us do. (Still thinking of indoor toilets though.)
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