|Still from the title of the RTÉ film Hands: Carley's Bridge Potteries|
|Stills of three workers, James, John and Tom, digging the clay at Carley's Bridge|
|George Curtis digging clay at Littlethorpe|
|The Potato Eaters - Vincent Van Gogh, 1885|
"You see, I really have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labour and — that they have thus honestly earned their food."
From Vincent van Gogh's letter to his brother Theo van Gogh, Thursday, 30th April, 1885.
A great deal of the work involved in making pottery is drudgery. There are dozens and dozens of small, laborious, in-between but essential jobs that need to be done. There is definitely a simple joy to physical hard work in its own right and to getting to the end of a day's work and looking at what you have achieved. But there is also a more subtle satisfaction that comes from the understanding of all your cumulative labour adding up to something bigger.
At Winchcombe, we mix clay and glazes and fire with wood. And these jobs get completed steadily, bit-by-bit, over days and days, in between throwing, turning, glazing and firing. On their own they might seem very distant from a lot of people's idea of what being a potter is like - day after day sat joyfully at the wheel throwing pot after beautiful pot, creating all the time. The truth is that throwing on the wheel actually makes up a relatively small percentage of what a potter does. There is an enormous amount of labour that happens before, alongside and after throwing in order to make beautiful work in a pottery.
|Pine waiting to be cut and a temporary pile of wood cut to length, waiting to be stacked into palettes|
|The handsome tractor at Winchcombe|
|Me cutting the wood on the saw and the blade with some early morning frost|
|The beautiful colours of the pine and splitting the wood by hand when it is too wide for the fireboxes.|