History of Potfest Ceramic Events UK
In 1990 Geoff and Christine exhibited at their first Continental potters’ market, the International Ceramics Festival in Eindhoven, Holland. It came as a revelation – potters of international repute away from galleries, selling their work in the heart of the community. Why didn’t this happen in the UK?
The first and best
They soon realised that if it were to happen back home they would have to organise it themselves. They decided on a large under cover cattle market in Penrith as a venue and in early June 1994 Potfest in the Pens was born -the first potters’ market of any size in the UK.
North of the Border
In 1997 Perth, the ancient capital of the country, where the Highlands meet the Lowlands became the venue for the first Potfest Scotland.
Reaching a new audience
In 2001 Potfest in the Park was held at Hutton-in-the-Forest, an old Country House 4 miles north of Penrith.
This new show was held under canvas on the parkland in front of the big house where the open aspect and landscape setting would allow the display of work on an architectural scale not possible at the Pens. This was to become their flagship event, a show of excellence attracting exhibitors from all over the world.
Matthew, their son, continued the development Potfest Scotland.
Over the years there have been several smaller projects – hands on workshops, kiln buildings and international networkings but the primary objective remains one of developing a larger audience for studio ceramics – taking it into the heart of the community – Putting potters and the public together in large numbers.
In 2013 to celebrate the 20th annual Potfest in Penrith and mark how far it’s come they organised an exhibition called “Potfest: Journeys in clay” at the gallery at Rheged near Penrith. Here they showed the work of some of those intrepid travellers who drive from their studios all over Europe to be part of Potfest each year.