Early naive piece of pottery.

Grimwell Arkenthorpe on Braveheart.

I had to smile at the time of receiving these photographs a fair few months ago. Someone searched for one of my characters and found me on the internet. After an email she sent me these photographs. The first year of making ceramics was a truly experimental time. I had never handled clay before and was searching for an identifiable style. This extremely early piece was naïve yet wholesome. My Dad has a similar piece made a few months later and after getting to grips with clay a little more. It is of a minstrel on horseback playing a lute. My Mum fell in love with it so I gave it to her. It shows much more skill and learning to how clay works.


I have nothing of my later ceramic work at all. All pieces were either sold when I was self employed as a craft worker or given away. When first moving to Wales, I wired up the kiln and made about two dozen pieces. It was in the first year of moving here. Gave them away as Christmas, birthday presents or simply if people liked them. My later work was a bit more gothic. Not dark. More mythological, moody and slightly edgy I suppose.


I remember a gentleman looking at my pieces at a craft fair and saying “I bet your dreams are interesting”. He wasn’t far from the truth.


Slypole the Poscher.

Clay, when moulded, produces it’s own shape developed imagery. Having the condition of Aphantasia, drawing from imagination is simply impossible for me. I close my eyes and see nothing. A big dark space. Not a single thing appears. So I can only copy when drawing. Other than that it is doodled and cartoonish. No realistic drawing a cat leaping for example. Simply cannot bring that picture to mind. Yet within sleep experience I can dream vividly. A different part of the brain used. A few and very far between times in my waking life a strange phenomenon occurs.


Totally relaxed and closing my eyes a sudden rush of images can suddenly appear out of nowhere. I’ve spoke of this before in a blog somewhere. There are hundreds of images that flick into view behind my eyes in extremely fast succession. One after the other……Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam….. All types of individual visual. A duck, an orange, a tree, the Eiffel Tower, a ship, a book, a fence, a bridge, a cup of coffee, etc. No scenes. Just these individual images. Random and no control. It’s stored imagery energy let loose. I have had a few elongated episodes lasting about a minute plus where hundreds and hundreds of images appear. Also some short ones of 10 to 15 seconds of intense unlooked for ones. I escape those. Too graphic. They leave me in an astounded/astonished state. I have spoken to others who can close their eyes and bring up whatever they want! They simply cannot understand how I can’t do the same. Their imagery? Glorious if my few experiences were similar. Bright coloured perfection. Even more glorious if they can produce moving dreamlike scenarios.


Dream status? Great whilst your asleep and they are happening. Awake? You cannot recall a single image. Needless to say my visual memories of past lived events simply do not exist. Nor do peoples’ faces.


So clay gave purpose to producing individuality. The shapes appeared with manipulating a simple ball of clay in front of me. I could bring something of my own to the World that way. Also interesting are patterns and images seen in everyday objects. Unique little presentations. A marble tile, tree bark, shadows dancing in nature or an odd picture in carpet pattern for example showing wizened, sonorous, laughing, sad faces, etc. I sometimes attempt to draw them. But they never look the same.


So. A couple of my very, very early pottery pieces here. Love the shock on the horse’s face. If it could hear me I’d say ‘You were the unique first of many and at least you’re standing up and not kneeling through kiln cruelty. You stoically withstood the heat and came out of the Kiln-Chen. And with a wizard on your back too. I’m grateful for your bravery and giving me the momentum to carry on making more ceramics for a decade and more!’. Or words to that effect.

2 thoughts on “Early naive piece of pottery.”

    1. Thank you. I loved the end of pottery days. From 1982/3 to 1995 I still had the kiln going. A new cooker needing a 30 amp supply meant the kiln was taken out of the electricity equation. So it sits at back of house looking forlorn. At the very end of using clay I got a really nice groove going with the introduction of nature’s offerings. Wove what was found out there on the beach and countryside, when finding flotsam and jetsam, into the pieces afterwards. No nicey nice though. A few bones, verdigris copper, dried woody seed pods, acorn cups gnarled driftwoods, old bits of rusted metal, wool strands, etc. Inspired by Brian Froud always. Thanks once again. All the best Brenda.

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