Whichford Pottery, the Cotswold based company responsible for beautiful pots, clay ware and more, hosted an afternoon for Head Gardeners this week with twenty six folks attending from around the region. Fortunately, the sun shone brightly and I was able to attend on behalf of Compton Verney.
I really wasn't sure what to expect, but there were a few familiar faces, and I found myself in the company of respected gardeners from well known gardens such as Hidcote, Waterperry, Daylesford, Kenilworth, Upton - and many more!
We were all very well cared for with the usual Whichford welcome, and judging by the smiles and conversation the afternoon was surely a success. (Even I succumbed to a pot from the new Shakespeare range!) The atmosphere at Whichford is quite calm and special, but for those, me included who admire and use terracotta; the pilgrimage always culminates in a sweet shop like experience - you really are spoiled for choice!
I have visited a number of times before but without the benefit of a guided tour. Naturally we can all imagine, loosely, the process behind pot making, and can sometimes struggle to understand the eventual pricing of each pot, I can say however that my eyes have now been widely opened to the process behind pot production, and the work involved in creating items of such quality.
This week we enjoyed tours of the pottery which included demonstrations on how the clay is processed once on site, through to throwing and manipulating the medium to produce various items - as a wander around the Octagon Gallery will prove, there's more on offer than plant pots...
As far as the manufacturing process is concerned, the physical effort involved is quite considerable, as demonstrated above by Adam but the technique and finesse required is also amazing - there are some talented individuals at work here for sure. Jim Keeling showed us how to throw and decorate a pot and opened up our minds to the process he learnt from fourth generation potters - Jim is keen to ensure his knowledge is passed on through his family to others.
One 'extra' that we were able to experience, was an activity that has consumed Whichford Pottery of late - the production of clay poppy flowers.... Linked no-less to a certain project linked with the Historic Royal Palaces - this occupation has for the time-being consumed many members of the team.
Above are a number of blanks that are prepared as extra 'blooms' for the Tower of London Remembers project. Do follow the link to see the amazing end result - Poppies!
All-in-all, we enjoyed a fascinating afternoon, caught up with and built some new contacts, and learnt a great deal that will be of use to me both personally and professionally. If you find yourself within range of Whichford, I would definitely recommend a visit, or maybe look to the website for there are many talks and events of interest.