Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Roman Pottery Workshop - Fascinating and Fabulous!


A couple of weeks ago I attended Graham Taylor's Roman Pottery Workshop at The Bowes Museum. I was very glad to do this for a variety of reasons. Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd. run a series of lectures and workshops each year which locals can attend to bone up on Hadrian's Wall (and all things/places/people/time periods). It's called "Know Your Hadrian's Wall" (click on the link to see this year's line-up). A whole range of different speakers, lecturers and experts are recruited to deliver these days and mini courses. The "KYHW" programme has been going now since 2009. Nigel and I have managed to attend most of these - 2009 onwards. (There is also a Northumberland Coast and Country Programme and a Know Your North Pennines Programme. Again we try to attend as many of these as we can!) A friend who had attended one of Graham's Roman Pottery workshops last year raved about it to me. But... Eheu! Woe is me! I had missed both of Graham's days as I had been busy with other things (which could not easily be cancelled)! And then I heard about another course that Graham was doing over at The Bowes Museum during February 2011. I jumped at the chance to book it....
And....
And...
Without wanting to...I had a bit of a contretemps with The Bowes Museum and its booking system (to get onto the course). I blogged about it here. (All names and events have been protected to preserve everyone's modesty.)

Euge! Hurrah! Any Roman Road Up!...It was all sorted out in the end. It truly was a happy ending: The Bowes Museum Personnel listened to me and in super, marvellous, wonderful customer service fashion booked me onto the course for free!

It was a half day workshop and I could have easily stayed there all day. Graham showed us what to do and explained how a Roman Potter would have made a pot. He'd also brought along some headpots that he'd made earlier. He then let us all loose on them.  The Facbook Page link is here for that workshop and more photos and more!

I'd not met any of the group before - there were about ten/twelve of us -  we all chatted away and encouraged each other whilst creating our very own Roman headpot. I'm pictured in the photos above (clad in purple top) and Graham is there in the top photo - showing us expertly how to make the eyes, the mouth, the nose et cetera.

Graham who is an experimental archaeologist and master potter, plus his artist wife, Lynda, are active Tweeters/Twitterers. This is how I have got to know them a bit more...They have both told me that my headpot has been fired and is now ready to pick up from their Rothbury studio. I can't wait to get it!

For more information on this very talented pair check out these links:
Potted History Website
Crown Studio   (their studio/gallery/workshop in Rothbury)
Lynda's blog 
Graham's blog

We, the group, did very well that day apparently. I must say that I very much enjoyed my morning there and getting to know everyone. I loved looking at their headpots. They all had a different identity! The chap in the last photo (above) said his pot reminded him of Freddy Mercury!

I'm writing this quickly as I've been applying for grants galore. I'm off to do another Minimus Training Day in Salisbury this Saturday and to visit another museum in Sussex. I've gained some funding for this from the Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group. I can't wait to go there and tell you all about it. It's all grist to the mill. I also start to teach Minimus in three local primary schools next week as lunchtime clubs. (As well as launching our Hands-on-Latin on Hadrian's Wall business. Check out the sidebar page for more details.) Will keep you all posted as to how it is going!

Vale! Bye for now! Hadriana xx

8 comments:

Graham said...

Thanks for your very kind words, I try to make my workshops accessible, informative and possibly most important of all, FUN! Glad you enjoyed it, your pot is gracing the gallery in Rothbury awaiting your arrival. No Rush!

Jeneane said...

Salve Hadriana. I recently found your blog via Grumpy Old Ken. Today I looked at your lead photo of the wall and quailed because an earthquake has tumbled all the stone walls that I hold so dear and thought would stand forever. Any image of masonry and brickwork anywhere in the world now has the same effect and I have wondered if I can ever walk beloved English streets again. Oxford, Richmond, Haltwhistle even. But reading your account of local enthusiast groups gives me hope that I might recover through the sheer delight in history. I look forward to reading more from you.

Nota Bene said...

I remember that contra temps very well...glad it got sorted, and you enjoyed yourself...

the fly in the web said...

Oh yes, I remember the booking fiasco too...glad it was sorted so well!
I would love to have gone on that course...even though I'd probably only have managed to make a gargoyle.
Surrounded by pre Columbian stuff here...it is interesting, but it doesn't speak to me that way the European tradition does.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you, Graham. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to pick it up very soon! :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Jeneane Welcome to my blog! Lovely to hear from you and you say such kind words. Sending you many greetings and warmest wishes from this side of the world to your side. Here's hoping that you can/will visit your beloved towns and streets again. I'm sure you will. Our thoughts are with you all right now. Hxx

Thank you, NB. :)

Fly...it's interesting you say that about where you are. I remember thinking that when I was in Venezuela (despite speaking the language) I felt as if I was on Mars. My European cultural references did seem a million miles away. Despite my love of South and Central America it did feel bizarre....

...we made some great headpots that day...you would have enjoyed yourself..... ;)

Mark said...

Those workshops look interesting. I have never made a pot but would like to one day.

Is Bowes museum the one that has mechanical swan in a glass case - or am I just dreaming that?

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Mark,

I'm pretty sure that the swan is there. It is on their logo and everyone talks about it. I need to go back to the museum to have a proper look round. The whole building looks great and whilst I have a free pass to the whole museum that day I did not have the time to stay and browse.

The market town of Barnard Castle (where the museum is) looks interesting too.