Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jane Hamlyn

I truly enjoyed Jane Hamlyn at the Conference. She was really delightful and told many stories and shared bits of wisdom from her years as a potter.One of the common threads that all the women had in common was that problem solving kept their work progressing. Jane spoke of how she had problems with her slip early on (something I know about first hand) and how this lead her to switching to the blue slip, which behaved better.

I asked her about this, my impression was that maybe the blue was more of a marketing decision (ie blue sells better), but in fact it was not. She said at the time blue was rather frowned upon. She mentioned how Leach had hated blue pots and had spoken against potters making them. She went on to say that of course Bernard never 'had the bottle to make salt glazed pots'. We all had to ask what 'bottle' meant, and she explained that it means 'courage'.
She also spoke of how the blue slip works best on pots that have this sort of 'hard edge', that the blue would not look the same on Mary's pots. I have tried blue on my pots and it's true that it works best for me on certain forms. On a casually thrown pot, it's no good. On Jane's pots, and Walter Keeler's, it really complements the forms.
Jane has been experimenting with some new forms and has had good success. They are very spare cylinder shapes that she calls 'Empty Vessels'. They are quite beautiful. You can see them here. A bit of wisdom from Jane, "It takes lots of courage to do things simply". Amen.