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If a tree falls in a wood and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound? / 23rd March 2016 Back

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cropped tree

Someone who may know the answer is Tony Hall, master potter and artist, whose training has impacted not only the work he produces, but the life he leads. We are sure he has an empathy with his surroundings which would pick up vibrations if there was a change in the woods around him.

Tony has built a wood-fired kiln at his farm-based studio, which is fuelled by local trees, many of which have been planted by him in the last few years, to fire his contemporary vessels including almost enclosed-spheres affectionately named bombs. Their ash-glaze is literally home-grown. Sadly, there is no clay to extract locally, so Tony sources from a long-established small business in St Agnes, Cornwall.

The influence for this life style in Powys may have been his early years of training at La Borne - an internationally known pottery village in the centre of France. Like the Old Mayor’s Parlour where Tony is exhibiting his work with Gallery@OMP the village has an extensive history dating back to the 16th century. Tony, obviously, attended much later to enjoy the high levels of artisanal skill on offer, which continue to be sought by potters from all over the world.

The high temperatures reached in wood-kiln firings, getting up to 1300 degrees centigrade are ideal for use with stoneware vessels, causing the ash to burn and create a finish on the pots. Prior to firing Tony may decorate the vessels with impressed marks. If you are into control, this is not for you, as the vagaries of the heat, draught in the kiln, and the wood itself will produce a great variety of results.

Gallery@OMP invited Tony into the first exhibition to showcase his pottery which uses traditional skills which would have been used by artisans at the time the Old Mayor’s Parlour was in use by the Mayor of Hereford in the 14th to 16th century. Observing the nature around the studio and bringing it into the creative process gives an enduring reality to the natural lifecycle of trees, using the pruned or fallen branches; a significant and beneficial change to the environment rather than using a gas or electric kiln.

The “Seeds of Change” exhibition is on from from March 28th to April 24th, Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00, Gallery@Night Thursdays 17:00 to 20:00, and Sundays 11:00 to 16:00.

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