The Northern Potters’ Association – Now we are 40

“It is clay in its many states that fascinates us all, whether makers, users or collectors, hobby potters, professionals, gallery owners or teachers. And it is an unbounded enthusiasm for this medium that is the mainstay of the Northern Potters Association.

Hugh Thomas Naked Raku Pots

Hugh Thomas won the most votes overall, for his naked raku pots

“The Association began in 1977, when a group of potters met in a ‘dungeon-like crypt’ below the sumptuous galleries of Bowes Museum and voted to start the group. It has now been very much in the light for 40 years, providing a focal point in the North for everyone interested in ceramics. An active volunteer committee works hard to plan and organise the many events.

“Founder member Maggie Angus Berkowitz, in 2005, likened it to ‘an available vehicle, one to be hopped into and driven by whoever was so inclined (so long as a sufficient number of passengers agreed to go along and paid their fare)’.

“Funding in the past from Regional Arts Associations supported programmes of lectures, exhibitions and weekend potters’ camps at Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Ripon & York St Johns College and Middlesborough College. The potters’ camps always had a full programme of workshop sessions, an exhibition and lively evening socialising.

Steve Rice Woodrings

Steven Rice won the Novice Sculptural category

“There are six regional groups within the Association, who organise events for those areas – exhibitions, workshops, studio visits and socials. They have been very active celebrating our 40th birthday this year.

“We celebrated our 40th year with a Party Table at Potfest In The Pens, replete with splendid ceramic party food, and it was even featured on the local BBC station.

“Our Online Competition illustrated the wide range of creativity and skills present throughout the Association’s membership, and the prizes donated by our generous sponsors will no doubt be put to good use.

“Members voted for their favourite pieces of work submitted by their colleagues and the results are as follows:

Functional Work: Mary Brandon
Decorative Work: Hugh Thomas (also received the most votes overall)
Sculptural: Steven Rice

Functional Work
: Martine Bequet
Decorative Work: Micaela Schoop
Sculptural: Richard Hedges

Functional Work:
Steve Booton
Decorative Work: Amberlea McNaught
Sculptural: Elizabeth Smith

Hugh Thomas received the most votes overall, and one of our newest members, Steven Rice, won the Novice Sculptural category.

“Looking to the future, the Northern Potters Association, now with nearly 600 members, has embraced social media and has a Facebook page, is on Twitter @NorthernPotters and, of course, a website”

Dianne Cross
NPA Publicity