Gradient: A weekend of Pottery & People

Simple Shape's first exhibition Gradient: Experiments in Clay happened as part of South East Makers Club and the London Design Festival. It was a weekend of pottery and of people. A combination that turned out to be truly wonderful.

Simple Shape Studio: We have officially moved in. If the beautiful ceramics aren't proof enough, the sign on the door says so.

Simple Shape Studio: We have officially moved in. If the beautiful ceramics aren't proof enough, the sign on the door says so.

The exhibition came about, as things so often seems to, by accident. Over coffee with Jono on a chilly Sunday in early spring I commented that the test tiles, the gradients of his colour palette, that were nailed to the wall in a perfect grid were so beautiful together, they were like an art work. A seed lodged, and an idea began to unfurl (these things happen in spring!).

Luke Eastop: Creme Anglaise

Luke Eastop: Creme Anglaise

Jono Smart: Anatomy of Greys

Jono Smart: Anatomy of Greys

The resulting exhibition was an opportunity to display the incredible work of two of our talented makers, Luke Eastop joined Jono Smart and Gradient became an exploration of their different approaches to ceramics, to tone, colour, size and scale.

It also gave us an excuse (and a deadline!) to open the doors to our Studio for the very first time. And it provided a moment to meet hundreds, quite literally, of lovely, interesting and creative people, who successfully tracked us down, tucked away on Ashby Mews (sorry, we must get better signage for our dirt track...)

Small scale: The miniature barman opened 26 bottles of Prosecco (not bad for a beginner!)

Small scale: The miniature barman opened 26 bottles of Prosecco (not bad for a beginner!)

Crowd scene: view from the 'mews'

Crowd scene: view from the 'mews'

We held a 'Private View' on Friday night, as a sort of 'launch' and a celebration. It was a resounding success, largely down to a number of unwavering (and marginally underage) bar staff, and the generosity of local Greenwich business, Meantime Brewery, who so kindly supplied the beer simply to support a local business.

The weather was beautiful all weekend, the doors were wide open and people came: locals, artists, makers, families, Instagram followers, collectors, designers, friends (and quite a few dogs) made the journey to Brockley to find us. I've never spoken to so many interesting people in such a short space of time in my life.

Still Standing: Jono Smart & Emily Stephen

Still Standing: Jono Smart & Emily Stephen

Invisibility Cloak: Firsthand Collective disappear into the room and quietly record what they see. This, one of their 'live illustrations', is easily one of the coolest things about the whole weekend.

Invisibility Cloak: Firsthand Collective disappear into the room and quietly record what they see. This, one of their 'live illustrations', is easily one of the coolest things about the whole weekend.

Keeping Up Appearances: I temporarily forgot the basic rule, 'don't believe your own PR', and had a rapid reminder lesson and reality check... when the vinyl 'titles' were installed the conversation went like this: "...this isn't a mews, this is a dirt track". "Yes, but a dirt track with a gallery, right. Come on!" "If you insist love."  

Keeping Up Appearances: I temporarily forgot the basic rule, 'don't believe your own PR', and had a rapid reminder lesson and reality check... when the vinyl 'titles' were installed the conversation went like this: "...this isn't a mews, this is a dirt track". "Yes, but a dirt track with a gallery, right. Come on!" "If you insist love."
 

White trainers: Not obligatory.

White trainers: Not obligatory.

The weekend was such a fun and rewarding (and exhausting) experience. The seeds have certainly been sown for future projects, quite what yet, I'm not sure! But that's the fun. 


And finally, I cannot thank all those involved enough for the relentless hard work, time and effort that was put in to make this happen. Jono, Luke, Emily, Sophie, Jay...(and the miniatures E, S & F)...thank you all.

Getting Perspective: my favourite photo from the whole weekend. It's not perfect but it says so much, taken from the side window, in a 'before the madness' moment.

Getting Perspective: my favourite photo from the whole weekend. It's not perfect but it says so much, taken from the side window, in a 'before the madness' moment.