BLACKWELL: houseplace

burger menu icon

The residency

In January 2016, I undertook a residency at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House which is situated on the banks of Lake Windermere in the English Lake District. Organised by The Craft Potter's Association and Lakeland Arts and funded by The Headley Trust, the residency enabled me to spend time in the house - researching, absorbing, and becoming familiar with this extraordinarily beautiful dwelling, designed by MH Baillie Scott and built as a holiday home for the Holts, a Manchester brewing family, in 1900.


The exhibition

The research, combined with a subsequent period of practical experimentation and making in my studio, culminated in the exhibition, houseplace, in which I aimed to reference landscape, history, Baillie Scott's architectural philosophy, the family that built the house and the place that Blackwell has become in the 21st century. The exhibition, which ran from July to October 2016, represents the single most ambitious and satisfying period of work I have undertaken since becoming a potter — functional pieces, interactive pieces, installation pieces...even 2D wall pieces — my gamut. At the same time, I also curated a small exhibition within the house, "stuff I live with; stuff I love", an assortment of objects...the aforementioned "stuff", both functional and decorative - that I have acquired during my adult life, accompanied by a written narrative that explained their personal significance.


All the work is thrown Limoges porcelain

1. Crack in the Sky

A response to Baillie Scott's fondness (present in his designs for both houses and gardens) for the idea of emerging from darkness into light. The way the pots are glazed also serves the dual purpose of echoing the shapes of the fells observed through the window behind.


2. houseplace

Encompasses a gilded copper, maple-wood plinth and numerous small bowls that each revolve around their own axis. The piece reflects the repoussé copper lampshades above. The close proximity of the bowls to one another and its all-round instability give houseplace a distinctive and potentially disconcerting percussive quality.

3. Blackwell Dinner Service

These functional pieces make abstract reference to the decorative use of flora throughout the house. The bowls and beakers have no base and allow the hand to travel from rim to rim across the glazed surface. The monochrome glaze contrasts Baillie Scott’s use of colour in the dining room.


4. Anemone Tea Set

Pursuing a desire to use actual motifs from the house this group of functional pots uses bespoke ceramic transfers taken from William de Morgan’s Anemone tiles which can be seen in the fireplace in the newly-refurbished bedroom.

5. handleheart

A fine example of upcycling. Hearts made from the surplus handles produced for cups and mugs.


6. All the Wonders

This henge-like piece is a memorial to Joseph Holt (son of Edward Holt, for whom Blackwell was built) who was killed at the age of 33 in WW1. There are 33 hollow but fully enclosed pieces and the title comes from a line in the WW1 song Hush, Here Comes A Whizzbang….. ‘And you’ll see all the wonders of no-man’s land, If a whizzbang hits you’

7. Where The Heart Is

Envisaging wet Edwardian summer afternoons when perhaps the most entertaining thing to do might be…..a jigsaw. That was the genesis of this interactive piece in the White Drawing Room – a space full of monochromatic surface details which are echoed by the assortment of tiles. Visitors were invited to take and upload an image of their picture.

Message here
Exit Preview