Friday, 20 November 2009

Ewenny Pottery - Wassail Bowl


Wassail Bowl - Swansea Museum - seen here

I've been thinking about this amazing pot kept in Swansea Museum. It's a wassail bowl made in Ewenny Pottery, south Wales in the mid 19th C. The pottery still thrives and is currently run by 8th generation potter Caitlin Jenkins. Her ancestors first began throwing pots in Ewenny in 1610, but there may have been a working pottery there even earlier as clay was first dug on the site in 1427.

The wassail bowl would have been used as part of a folk custom at Christmas time: "...Wassailing bowls were always decorated in the same way and this one has nearly all the expected traditional features...[the] Christmas tradition of carol singing door-to-door grew out of wassailing. The bowl contained mulled wine which the householder drank for good luck before adding more wine to the bowl." seen here

I have also seen a modern replica made in this style and apparently, it is a difficult thing to produce; this piece manages to have an amazing life and spirit in its making in addition to its virtuosity.
On my recent visit to Flow Gallery in London I saw this piece (below) by Kate Malone which has a strong resonance with the form of the wassail bowl although I don't know if it's intentional.


Kate Malone - seen here

1 comment:

  1. As an artist myself, I enjoy reading Philip Koch's sensitive writing about Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, who along with Whistler and Rothko, are my favorite American painters.
    I don't live in the United States but have traveled and passed a short time there. But even with the little time spent in your beautiful country, especially in small-town America, I can relate to some of the poetical feel that Hopper and Wyeth had captured in their art, which is for me part of the attraction of their paintings.
    Browsing at wahooart.com the other day, as I do now and then, I find a good selection of Edward Hopper's work, http://EN.WahooArt.com/@/EdwardHopper ,in the big archive of Western Art, that customers can order online for canvas prints and even hand-painted, oil-painting reproductions can be made and sent to them.
    Hopper's surrealistic and depersonalized world is there again. Timeless, yes, as it is still there now in the roadside cafes and diners that I ate at all over America.

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