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Chris & Geoff Cox

Porcelain beakers by Chris Cox
Chris's work

Ceramic figures by Geoff Cox
Geoff's work

POTFEST IN THE PENS ... how it began

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?

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.

POTFEST SCOTLAND ... extending the audience

In 1997 Perth, the ancient capitol of the country, where the Highlands meet the Lowlands became the venue for the first Scottish Potfest.

POTFEST IN THE PARK ... 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.

In 2002 in order to find more time for their own ceramics Geoff and Christine decided to concentrate their energies on developing the content of the extending festival in Penrith.

Matthew, their son, continued the development Potfest Scotland and introduced Potfest South West in 2003, Potfest in the Peak District in 2005 and Potfest Shropshire in 2007.

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.

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