Guy Sydenham

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on April 5th 2017, 11:01 pm

Not so sure about that one Dan, reminds me of feathers and roadkill. Like a squashed vulture.
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by NaomiM on May 19th 2017, 10:43 pm

My first Guy Sydenham bowl, for Poole (sadly with a rim chip Doh! )




 

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on May 19th 2017, 10:59 pm

GS is a pottery genius! Loves!
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on May 19th 2017, 11:22 pm

that's one big Atlantis bowl!

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on September 25th 2017, 9:38 pm





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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on September 25th 2017, 9:59 pm

I was thinking that also. Perhaps Joan did all the threading and assembling and they both made beads in the dark evenings in front of the fire? Hard to see Guy not helping at some point?
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on September 25th 2017, 10:12 pm

Could some be press moulded where guy helped with the original? Or do you think most are done by hand, inscribed? The scale/skin like ones look like they were rolled onto a texture?
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by 22 Crawford St. on September 27th 2017, 8:41 pm

Hello Alex

Mother made all the beads,but the face does look like dads work.
maybe he made it as a bit of fun, who can say.

i diden`t work with dad for very long on the island, or though i was around a lot of the time.

Best wishes Russel
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on November 11th 2017, 11:30 am



6 inch saltglazed mermaid, Green Island

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John Benfield

Post by skay on February 18th 2018, 11:07 am

John Benfield has contacted the forum, initially cross about certain comments in this thread. This has now been resolved.

I thought the following parts of our conversation would be of interest:


When I was working with Guy on his second book. It took 4 years to complete it.  During that time Guy was losing his sight to Age Related Macular Degeneration.  It was very frustrating for him and it was obvious that his work was suffering as a result of it.    I was just an amateur potter encouraged by Guy and he taught me how to carve and glaze in his style.   Despite the sight problem he could still throw pots on the wheel and he decided without my knowledge to throw quite a lot of pots and bag them in plastic to stop them drying out.  On one visit to him he presented me with two bakers trays of these pots and told me to take them and decorate them.   He knew I had a kiln at home.  

I took the first few back to show him and he delighted me by saying it would be difficult to distinguish them from one he had decorated.  In fact he kept them and mixed them up with some of his own and played a game on visitors by making them guess which were his and which were mine without looking at the marks. 

Eventually he went totally blind and couldn't see to read the book we had just at that time published.  In order for him to appreciate it I described each photograph page by page onto tape,  My wife read out all the text she had typed up on the second half of the book.  He  could identify everything in his minds eye.

I decided to sell a lot of the pots I had decorated to help pay for the cost of producing the book.  When I listed them I was very explicit in my description so that there would be no doubt that they were a joint effort between Guy and myself.   If those pots are then sold on its not my responsibility if they seller fails to explain why JB appears next to GS on each pot. 

Guy and I were very good friends.  I admired him. I consider him to be more than a master potter. In my eyes he was a genius. There is no way I would ever try and pass off any pots I made as his.   I am no longer making any pots and haven't since Guy died.  I have a few pieces of our joint efforts left and will be selling some soon.  As before I will detail how they were made etc. There is one that I will probably smash before I die as Guy's mark is a bit indistinct compared to my JB and I do not want to give anyone the opportunity to claim its a fake.   Guys "seals" bearing his GS marks  are all in the possession of his son Russel who will never use them as he is a master potter in his own right.  

I am happy for any questions etc to be sent via you.  I don't mind if you publish my name but as you say my email address could add to the tons of spam I already get.   Most of what I know is anecdotal but I did spend so many hours with Guy in his Studio I think I knew every piece in there.  There are still dozens and dozens of pots there. Or were the last time I went. Haven been now for 2 years as dear Joan isn't up to dealing with visitors.  She is 96  this year I think or maybe 97 without looking it up.  Losing Guy who was her life has taken its toll over the years.   I do have a pretty comprehensive example of most of his marks in a plaque he threw and I sat with him pressing all the marks I could find into it. Actually there were about five I think  I sold them all bar one.  I kept the best one obviously. 

I have videos of him transferred from old cine film and his poems on CD. Its all just bits and pieces of his and Joan's life.  Guy was a great talker and full of interesting tales of his life 

I am happy to try and answer any questions about Guy and Joan.  I notice on one item there are beads that are thought to be by Guy.  What happened was Joan made the beads and Guy fired them for her. Then she would string them.   Guy did make some bead but they tended to be much bigger and often thrown on the wheel.   I am not an expert on Guys work and I am sure there are others who have studied his work in great depth.   The sad thing I find is that outside of Poole of Guy collectors he is unknown.  Yet he was one of the greatest potters from Dorset.  Even Dorchester Museum had never heard of him until an exhibition was organised some years ago. 

When we published the second book I had a request for a copy from the V & A as they had the first one.   I was happy to supply them and asked if they had any examples of his work.  The answer was no.  The never came back and requested a piece as I would have been more than happy to either approach Guy or donated a piece from my collection.  

He was buried in Poole Pottery most of his working life.  Even now after his death his following is very limited and I fear will get smaller as older collectors pass on.


If you have any questions for John, feel free to pm me with them.

xx

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by brin mcardle on February 18th 2018, 1:11 pm

Very Helpful..and heartfelt
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on February 19th 2018, 6:42 pm

     


This 2 piece figure stands about nine inches tall and about five inches across the base
it seems to be a cross between his mermaids and driftwood inspired work


The figure stands about nine inches tall and about five inches across the base

many thanks to our new member John for donating the images

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 2:08 pm

Regarding Joans beads.  These are screen shots from an old cine film showing Joan making her beads.  Guy did fire them in the kiln for her.  He told me he had to stand each one on its end to avoid the glaze sticking to the kiln  
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 2:10 pm

and another of her threading and knotting them

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on February 20th 2018, 2:50 pm

looking forward to more pics John Most Excellent

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 3:17 pm

There is a whole video but the quality is like the pictures. I was transferred from cine to VHS for guy years ago. I transferred it from VHS to CD. I doubt even a pro could improve it
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 3:32 pm

These are the two flat backs that I made using the moulds Guy gave me.  I thought I would try them in black clay.  Pity Guy never got to see them.   He named them Sabrina and Neptune.  His artistic genius in designing and modelling the originals is breathtaking.   I found the Sabrina plaster mould broken in three places. I repaired it and had to re model the face as it was completely missing.   Although Guy gave me the moulds I decided not to make any more from them and rather than smash them I gave them to Russel Sydenham to keep or do as he chooses.
These only bear the JB mark

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on February 20th 2018, 5:38 pm

these 2 are the best I have seen

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 6:05 pm

Thanks Dan   Pity they are not by Guy though.  I wish he could have lived to see them


Last edited by John925 on February 20th 2018, 6:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by philpot on February 20th 2018, 6:20 pm

Wow!
Superlatives seem entirely hackneyed.
That is plain beautiful, and so much more.
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 6:33 pm

Guy's imagination and ability to produce in clay has no equal. This picture is a novelty.
Pots from Left to right. Guy Sydenham. Russel Sydenham John Benfield. They sit on a shelf in Joan Sydenhams conservatory
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 20th 2018, 6:45 pm

These are what Guy called his Ghostly Pirates. He was walking on the beach at Church Hope Cove on Portland and wondered how many shipwrecked sailors lay under the sea bed. He cut a slice of clay with a twisted wire and pushed these shapes up. He used to sleep in his studio and told me these used to come alive and haunt him hahaha
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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on February 20th 2018, 6:58 pm

wonderful

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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by John925 on February 21st 2018, 2:21 pm

Here you are Dan. The three mermaids One saltglaze. One terracotta called Amelia and the very last one the Guy made.


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Re: Guy Sydenham

Post by dantheman on February 21st 2018, 2:39 pm

I love the saltglazed mermaid! could we see the face and hair please?

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Re: Guy Sydenham

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