Friday, 31 March 2017

A little history

In 1966 I left South Africa and sailed to England, landing at Southampton on a misty Sunday morning in February.
I was 20, and had a broken-off university education in english and history, and a similarly broken off art school ceramics diploma! But I had masses of self confidence and loved throwing pots!
Priscilla Thoms at Morar Pottery, Morar, Scotland - about 1967
After a year in London, working at Briglin Pottery, Crawford Street, W1, I moved to remote Morar on the west coast of Scotland and rented a huge workshop, formerly a training centre, from the "Highland Home Industries". Seated at the wheel I had a view over the  Morar River estuary, which filled and emptied with the tide. The work I made was sold in the chain of craft shops the HHI ran in the Highlands and in Edinburgh. In 1968 I spent some time in Dublin, working in the workshops of Fergus O'Farrell - an almost legendary Irish sculptor and entrepeneur. I moved to back London in November 1968.
Priscilla Thoms: Greenwich Studios, London, about 1970

I rented the first floor of Greenwich Studios, a Victorian shop building at the foot of Blackheath Hill, from Alan Wallwork, who had moved his pottery to Dorset. Here I produced quantities of once-fired loving cups for a medieval restaurant "1066" in St Martins Lane. Saving all the money from this enabled me to buy the Magpie, a former pub on the Suffolk - Norfolk border.

Same kick wheel, Magpie, Fersfield, Norfolk. 1976

On the wheel: coffee cups and coffee pots for David Mellor Shop, Sloane Square, London 
My workshop was in an old stable, and the same self-built wheel produced quantities of teapots, coffeepots and 100's of candlesticks - the biggest seller.
I moved to Denmark in 1978 and sold the Magpie in 1980. The catenary arch of my oil kiln still stands in the rear garden.