News & Events

Clayfest 2018 celebration weekend


An amazing weekend of firings, demonstrations and ceramics community events
8th/9th September 2018
Teign Valley Community Hall and grounds

This was an outstanding 25th anniversary event, celebrating our shared knowledge and skills, together with networking and catching up with ceramics friends old and new. Clayfest@25 was the culmination of a year and a half’s planning, by our committee team of John Watson (event leader), Karen Edwards, Abi Higgins and Adrian Bates. To them go the thanks of all of the Association.

Committee members were joined by Maggie Harbour, Anita Gibson and Simon Wright and all worked really hard on Friday to set up the Teign Valley community centre for our weekend. We had a well earned meal and wine in the hall on Friday evening.

The Members’ exhibition was set up by Adrian Bates in a corner of the main hall, which was popular with visitors during the weekend. Mandy Biscoe set up a Ball Clay exhibition also in the hall for visitors to peruse.
On Saturday 8th September, participants were all welcomed in reception by Norma Harris and Liz Challis. Refreshments were available all weekend from our caterer Georgina, whose cafe area was based in the main hall. We had a bar area, run by Louise, featuring some delicious Devon ales and ciders. Ceramics films were regularly available in the Eileen Bowden room, organised by Lorraine Gilroy, Martin Harbour and Mandy Biscoe.

A two hour glazing session was laid out on the stage area at the side of the hall, where participants could work their way through how to decorate their pots, under the tutelage of Susan Luker, Christina Peters and other glazing helpers. Further glazing was available for barrel firing outside with Tim Gee. Firings were soon all underway on Saturday morning, comprising raku, smoke and barrel work and smoky magical firing effects soon followed.
Raku firings were led by John Watson, David Chilton, Abi Higgins and Alison West, with help from Annie Sykes, Christina Peters, Claire Murray, Babs Kirby, Patsy Lang, Rose Ellis and Lorraine Gilroy. Smoke firings by Sue Rouillard. Barrel firings by Tim Gee. Tables were laid outside for the scrubbed, polished pots to be shown on, for the first time.

Simultaneously on Saturday afternoon in the hall, participants were treated to a hilarious Throwdown event led by Tom Knowles Jackson and Martin Harbour, which included a group relay throwing as many egg cups as possible in 20 minutes, whilst swopping around in teams of three. This produced a lot of mud and laughter . . . .
The Throwdown materials and prizes were generously donated by CTM Supplies of Exeter

We had a delicious meal on Saturday evening, thanks and acknowledgements from WPA Chair Lorraine Gilroy and Clayfest organiser John Watson, with a bar and lively Ceilidh to follow, from musicians Jeroka.

On Sunday morning, Karen Edwards introduced three demonstrators in the main hall: Adrian Bates (handbuilding), Nic Harrison (throwing) and Tony Smither (press moulding techniques) who all captivated the large audience with their skills and techniques. Video projection was done by Chris Walpole for the WPA. Bindy Saywood, Tim Hearn, Karen Edwards and Tony Smither took photographs of the weekend on behalf of the Association. Two of our founder members, Joanne Richards and Ann Watson, joined us on Sunday too.
This event was dedicated to the memory of Doreen Gardner, one of our founder members, who died in May.

Elaine Hughes set up a Bring and Buy ceramics area on the main stage on Sunday morning and raised £180, to be divided between Clayfest expenses and a donation to Adopt-a-Potter.

Evaluation sheets were available on the weekend. If you have any further feedback, please send to the event organiser:
John Watson

or to our magazine editor Bindy Saywood on: