A Celebration of the Table

One of the UK’s most prominent art critics, writer and curator has cited a Derbyshire ceramics and food festival as key to showcasing both famous and lesser known talent in the industry.

David Whiting, who has been active in the field of contemporary studio ceramic art for over 30 years, has described how the Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival offers the opportunity to take home and enjoy a huge range of pots for everyday use.

Established art critic and ceramics author David, who writes for Crafts magazine, Ceramic Review and The Guardian says festivals like this, which takes place on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 at Wardlow near Tideswell, are vitally important to keeping studio-made ceramics alive.

David Whiting said: “The Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival is already in its seventh year! It feels like a fraction of that time ago when Geoff and Pat Fuller discussed with me their exciting idea of organising an annual, very personal showcase for good spirited pots to enrich and embellish our mealtimes, something they have been doing through their own work and famous pub for many years now.

“Here we have a strong and cohesive range of traditional pots to peruse and take home and enjoy for many years to come.

“This festival has proved interesting for a number of reasons, not only for its very personal and intimate nature, though it is now a sizeable event with more than 95 exhibitors, but because this is the place to see much work not often found elsewhere.

“Famous names rub shoulders with the lesser known. There is new, as well as more established talent. Here are the kind of useful objects that will never, mercifully, be bought for investment, but because people want pots to beautify their houses and their eating times, a fitting frame for hospitality and for living.”

For visitors, David includes must see creations from Sue Blatherwick’’s vibrantly painted dishes and tiles and Mariam Cullum’’s softly formed porcelain to Ben Dodd’’s slip-covered and Nuka-glazed cups and dishes, and James Hake’s splashed decoration on equally fluid shapes, to enjoy at the event.
Exhibitors also include the newly founded Knighton Mills Pottery with Ian Morrison’’s clean, well-designed and balanced salt glaze, and Clay College in Stoke, only established last year, and which will show its wares for the first time at Wardlow this year.

The popular festival, which has become a must attend in the ceramics industry calendar, attracts some of the most renowned makers across the UK, offering visitors the chance to meet and talk to established and up and coming national and international pottery makers and quality food purveyors.

Avid ceramics collector Jon Cullum, based in Suffolk, added: “I remember my first trip to Wardlow Mires Pots & Food Festival. I had always made the excuse that Wardlow Mires was too far!

“I don’t know if it was the pots, the food, the free flowing beer, sitting on a bale eating a freshly cooked pizza from a wood oven, the views, or the amount of dogs roaming about – but for me it was one of the best gatherings I think I have been to for some time – it had the feel and atmosphere of one big party – I will be there again this year.”

Derbyshire potter Pat Fuller organises the unique event. She said: “Many of our exhibitors have been with us from the start and are among the most renown in the country, but we have always been very keen to introduce lesser known potters and new talent.

“We choose our exhibitors on the merit of the work, not the individual.”
“There will also be a large selection of hot and cold foods to choose from, both to eat while at the event and to take home. So, come and enjoy the show, enjoy the pots, enjoy the feast!”

Back for 2018 will be “Into the Garden” with pots, planters and bird baths on sale to enhance gardens while other exhibitors include Top Pot Supplies, Alison McHale’s aprons will also attend alongside pewter designer and silversmith Keith Tyssen, Claire Lake and her glassware and Neil Trinder with his woodworking and cabinet making.

Food producers exhibiting include Ashgate Preserves, Beltonville Farm, Brockleby’s Pies, Birchover Brewery and Cheese, Chocolates of the Peak, Fosters of Chapel-en-le-Frith, Madhatter’s Cider, Ooh La La Crepes, Stewarts of Trent Bridge, The Three Stags’ Beer Tent, Stella’s Kitchen, Staffordshire Savoury Eggs and The Sunshine Pizza Oven.

As well as goods to buy there is also the chance to decorate and glaze a Raku pot with Chris Jensen and dig out your blunt blades for knife sharpener Andy Knives.

A Celebration of the Table takes place in Wardlow on the B6465, and runs from 10am until 5pm on Saturday September 8 and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday September 9. Last entry is one hour before closing time.

Tickets cost £5 each on the gate (free for children under 16), or pre-order online for £3.50, and parking is free.

For further details contact The Three Stags’ Heads on 01298 872268 or visit http://www.potsandfood.co.uk to pre-book tickets and view a full list of exhibitors.