- Jonquil Cook
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
I have thought a lot about writing a post about my feelings and my work during the 'lockdown' of these past few months; thought about it, but not got around to doing it. I blame it on a fair dose of procrastination, coupled with having been, like most people, completely overwhelmed by the drama of recent events, rendered mute by the complexity and shock of it all. I count myself, every day, as having been amongst the lucky ones. Not least because I have a garden, a beautiful one at that: the weather through the months of April and May this year, when the lockdown because of Covid 19 was at it's height, was utterly sublime (now in cold rainy July we are all wondering if Summer has been and gone...!). Added to that, I am lucky to be the owner of a big friendly dog called Frodo whose requirement for twice daily walks has provided me and my family with the perfect excuse to head out into our green and leafy southeast London suburb to observe nature in all her glory, bursting forth: from the blossoming of the wild cherry and horse chestnut trees, the swathes of delicate lace-like cow parsley, the unfurling lurid green of young leaves:the lush and fecund vibrancy of Spring and early Summer. More recently, a thousand different grasses and seed heads have appeared amongst the greenery, and as the weeks have passed I have rediscovered how incredibly important this wonderful, beautiful, complex natural world is to me, not only in terms of my own mental health, but as a source of inspiration in my ceramic design.
Back in March when it all kicked off I quickly grabbed clay, coloured slip and essential tools from my workshop at Thick As Milk Studios, and took it home with me. Over the next 3 months I managed to find time amongst my other responsibilities to produce three hand built pots. I hadn't done any hand-building for donkeys years, so it was a bit of a learning curve. By the time I made the final pot I had got, if I say so myself, rather good at it.
Of course, the building and sgraffito carving on the pot is only half the story. I was able to transport the finished pieces to the studio where my lovely friend and technician, Ceri Elliston, made sure to fire them for me. As we have begun to have access once again to the studio (no more than 3 of us at a time- Ceri has worked out a clever system of booking us our working slots and keeping us all safe) I have been able to do a bit more testing. The irony of this whole, highly stressful period, is that I have finally found time to do things such as work on improving my glaze technology and carry out testing. I have been longing for a period of time in which to concentrate on my ceramics and to move it forward, both technically and in terms of design. It has taken a global pandemic for this to become a reality. I guess the moral of this story is 'be careful what you wish for....'!
I hope you enjoy looking at these images of my pots, through the working process through to the end result.
Thank you for reading xx
Lockdown Pot Number 1
Entitled 'when this is all over I want to go travelling in India'
Made from black 'Vulcan' stoneware clay from PotClays, with white slip and transparent Chun glaze. Semi-opaque green glaze interior.
Lockdown Pot Number 2
Swimming Koi carp
St Thomas stoneware clay with cobalt oxide slip and transparent Chun glaze exterior. Interior glaze is deep blue-black matt glaze.
Lockdown Pot Number 3
Entitled 'Umbellifers and wild grasses'
St Thomas stoneware clay with cobalt slip. Glazed matt white opaque exterior, interior turquoise copper carbonate and petalite glaze.