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Sea and harbour inspire ceramics for festive gifts

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 15, 2012

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pendeen pottery

Ceramics inspired by the turquoise sea of the far west of Cornwall are among the locally made gifts on sale at Pendeen Pottery in a Christmas show of pottery and paintings.

John Swan hand-throws vases, mugs and other tableware at his roadside pottery, a stone's throw from Geevor Tin Mine on the St Ives to Lands End road.

His wife Gemma is a painter whose work is on sale in the gallery. She also makes ceramic Christmas decorations with a cheery Scandinavian look, fired in the kiln along with the pots. They have two firings, one to fix the hand drawn decorations, and another to fix the translucent glaze over the top.

The couple also collaborate on hand-thrown pottery featuring Gemma's hand-painted scenes of a Cornish fishing village, based on Mousehole close to where they live. Prices for their "harbour" pottery start at £5 for an egg cup, with a jug costing £19 and tiles at £7 each.

John's turquoise pottery is edged by a honey glaze which gives a yellow glow like the gorse to be found on Cornish cliffs. His pots are all fired at 1120C for an hour "which gives them a nice sheen".

While most of his work is in earthenware, he also hand throws terracotta pots for the garden, resurrecting in a small way an industry that once thrived in the Westcountry.

"If you look at all the Victorian ones they had finger marks on the inside," he says, "Mine do too."

Pendeen Pottery is on the B3306 St Ives to Lands End road. The Christmas show runs until December 21, open Monday to Friday, 10.30am-5pm, with free parking. Call 01736 788070 or visit www.pendeenpottery.co.uk.

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