I’ve been to lots of exhibition openings – but never a kiln opening before.
This was a holiday treat too, something I found out about while away in Pembrokeshire, but it’s a good idea which could do with being copied.
The ceramicist in question was Adam Buick, a name to watch whose work has already featured in national art, design and style publications. He focuses on making white porcelain moon jars, inspired by the Korean dal-hang-a-ri vessels, but of widely varying colour and size.
The opening was at his secluded studio not far as the crow flies from St David’s. We left the main road, went through a village, down some single track roads then on to a rough dirt track a worryingly long way (for the car tyres) and parked in a farmyard. Adam’s kiln is in a studio here. Along the way we knew we were heading in the right direction – as well as signs, some of his distinctive pots had been placed dramatically in the landscape which is his inspiration.
Adam (left) and helpers unload the kiln
After arriving at the farmyard wine was being served in the barn, and Ed from Llys Meddyg in nearby Newport was circulating with some rather fine canapés.
When there was a crowd, Adam and some helpers slowly unbricked the 80 cubic foot wood fired kiln, which he built himself in 2006. And slowly out they came – dozens of pots! They ranged from small ones (pictured above) which were selling on the night for £75 each to the larger ones which were considerably more.
It was a bit nervewracking as children and dogs ran in and out, but at least while I was there all remained intact.
Adam also answered questions about his works – although all the same in shape, they are of distinctive designs with different natural glazes and colours, different patterns and other things done for impact. Some have materials or patterns added – including apparently a drawing of the coastline of Pembrokeshire – and with some he had experimented with leaving them in a river for a time to see what impact it had on the pattern. A couple of small experiments had failed with two pots failing to come out successfully, but it was interesting to see the number of experiments that had succeeded.
With light rapidly disappearing it was time for the hazardous drive back to Fishguard, but with unique memories of a fun and very different arts event.