Thursday, August 6, 2009

A bundle of letters, an airplane, and disbelief

A number of years ago, as an impressionable teenager, an artist came to stay with my family. He came twice. A mutual respect developed between my mother and Seth and my whole family. He was much older than I and his name carried weight in the pottery community. Not only was he the son of a famous potter but he had made his own name stand out through his beautiful ceramic work and painting. I was so excited to meet him and get to spend some time with him. He had sparkly eyes, kind wrinkles, and potter's hands. He embraced the clay like an old friend. In one of the workshops he gave during his stay, he told the audience to think of someone you love as you make the rim. Do that, he claimed, and the rims would be lovely to drink from! I think about that every time I do a rim for a drinking vessel. I can't get it out of my head. He had so much personality and he put that personality into his teaching and into his pots. This delightful British man is Seth Cardew.

Excerpts from my pottery journal as a 17 year old:
I love and respect his work, his background, and his personality and so naturally a few months ago I wrote to dear Seth and told him of my new ventures. I mentioned the possibility of working with him for a time, slave labor included of course ... well, a few letters and a few months later (oh yes, real snail mail!) I am off. Jet setting my way across the Atlantic to Spain, where Seth and his wife have moved the pottery from England.

Wenford Bridge Pottery sits in a little nook of Castellon, Spain on the coast, south of Barcelona. The Cardews host students from around the world, offering ceramic courses April through October. I will be working with Seth for a month or two, throwing, trimming, firing, glazing, firing some more, and casting some sculptures. As a wonderful friend of the family, he is offering me a trip of a life time and I can't wait to share it!'

I leave on August 25th. I don't know what my life will look like over there (or what sort of internet access I will have!) but the preparations have begun! Stay tuned as the adventures loom ahead and potting winds down in Fairfax.
Seth Cardew: a charger with his signature birds and detail work.


  1. Ah! That is so amazing! What an incredible opportunity. So pumped for you! And can't wait to hear about it!

  2. Yay spain & seth & europe. lots of mistakes to be made..

  3. Wow! That's awesome!! Can we hang out before you leave?

  4. Sounds like an exceptional opportunity. Looking forward to stories to come!

  5. That is so awesome! What a wonderful opportunity!!!

  6. bless your heart ! you will have an amazing time spain will entrance you !. There is an incredible museum of regional pottery in Barcelona.. Spanish people know how to enjoy life!
    the sights, the food, the people, and their work ...ahh! bright times for you Sarah!