A Little History

No new photos today, so here’s a little piece of my formative years…..

I arrived in England and ‘The Guildhouse’ (above) in January, 1978, to teach pottery to ‘seniors’, local villagers and handicapped children. This amazing building was built by the sheer willpower of one woman named Mary Osbourne. To conform with local building codes, it was built from the stone of seven old local barns.
Just 7 miles away was The Winchcombe Pottery, and I soon became a regular visitor until Ray Finch gave me a job. Winchcombe has been the site of a pottery for at least 200 years. Michael Cardew revived it after he left Bernard Leach’s pottery in St. Ives in the 1920’s. Ray became an early student and eventually bought the pottery. He has led a team of potters making wood-fired domestic ware for more than 60 years! No surprise that this was the experience that really set me on my way as a potter. I learned a life time of lessons…about pottery…and life.

7 Responses to “A Little History”

  1. Dan Finnegan

    Hey John, here’s the list, from left to right:
    Eddie Hopkins, Sid Tustin, Steve Marchant (wood turner), Will Hall (furniture maker), myself, Mike Finch, Nori de Montigny, Keith Jamison (sculptor). Seated is Ray Finch and to his right is Toff Milway. I made tea for this group twice a day!

  2. Dan Finnegan

    Sadly, Eddie and Sid have both passed away, but I have been close to these guys all these years. Toff is my best friend and I’ve been back to the Cotswolds many times since I worked there. They are great craftsmen and some of the best people I’ve ever known. Ray is not in good health at the moment, but he has continued to make pots in his 90’s!
    What are you up to, John?

  3. doug fitch

    Great to see this picture Dan. What a fine collection of beards. I have to say, when I saw your beard I knew I was going to enjoy your pots!

    I was in Winchcombe just this afternoon, nothing much changes there.

    So sad about Eddie, he was the very reason I started potting, it’s wrong that he never got to enjoy his retirement

  4. John Tilton

    Hi Dan,

    I tried to post last night and was cut off by my ISP.

    I have still been making pots — now it’s over 40 years — and trying to concentrate on crystalline glazes — well any art glaze will do, but I guess I would classify my stuff as art pottery with an emphasis on crystalline effects.

    I had a moustache for 40 years too and it just started to recede becoming less and less until finally I just shaved it off and no one even noticed it was so straggly.

    I have lived in a meditation community since 1978 and actually was the cook tonight — I cook every other Thursday and make about 30 meals. It takes most all day. But my shop is here and I love the community and all the people that live here — about 15 of us.


  5. Dan Finnegan

    John, Thanks for your news…Our meeting in Pa. was memorable for me and I know that you’re still making exquisite pots. I hope that we meet again one day.


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