The end of year celebration for students at Aylesford Pottery in Kent was a competition in the spirit of a series of challenges. Judges and students gathered in the Great Barn of Aylesford Priory to hear the results.
It is fair to say that none of the three challenges were easy. The first was to make two identical vases, each 8 inches tall after firing. The construction method and decoration were down to the student. The second challenge was to create a large plate, dish or jug in earthenware and decorated in slip, taking inspiration from the English slipware tradition of the 17th and early 18th centuries used by makers like Thomas Toft. The third was to produce a pot while completely blindfolded, including lifting it from the wheel. Each entrant was judged in all three categories, and winners decided for each category. An overall winner was then chosen.
Alan Parris, co-director at the pottery, said: “Given that none of the students are trained potters, the standard and imagination in what has been produced is a tribute to the pottery. Some of the students have produced work completely beyond what they have done in the past. All the work has been done with good humour and a desire to inject some satire where possible.”
The judges were Rachel Graham, editor of ClayCraft and Angela Cole, senior features writer for the Kent Messenger, who announced the overall winner was Pobert Pou.
Rachel said: “The overall standard of work was incredibly high, and it made judging the entries very difficult. We were very impressed by the creativity of the students, and their obvious technical skills. It’s a great testament to the high level of tuition they clearly receive from Alan and Billy.”