I had a chat with my friend Christine today who told me off for not having mentioned something on here that I should have. I hadn’t mentioned it because although I was thrilled to bits when I got the letter on friday afternoon I feel a bit odd talking about it because it feels like I’m blowing my own trumpet too much. Anyway here it is:
A good few months ago now, crikey I can’t even remember when it was but probably August ish I decided that I would apply to the Craft Potters Association to see if they would let me join as a professional member. The first stage you send images of your work and a brief bit of information about what you do and how you learnt. Oh how I agonised over which pictures to send, took me ages to decide – thanks Helen for your patience! The CPA Council then look at the images and make a decision as to whether to get you to bring your pots to them for assessment. So just before Christmas I had a letter saying yes we would like you to bring six pots to London in February. February arrived along with Hannah having many a trauma and change of mind over which pots to take. Does one mug look too silly on it’s own or would a pair be better? Do I take some of the Birdie range or would that be too commercial? Does the lid on that casserole fit better than the lid on the other casserole? Is it too traditional a shape? Is that a bad thing? (There’s a whole other blog post there, remind me about that some other time.) Should I take a lettered piece or a commemorative piece? Is two sgraffito and four slip trailed a good balance? Oh endless questions and procrastinations. Thank you Helen again for yet more patience, is it any wonder the poor girl has moved to Glasgow? Then on top of that I was going down on the train I certainly didn’t fancy the 365 mile each way drive thank you very much. So how do I carry these breakable not particularly light weight things, I decided to take one of my big oak tree chargers too just to make life more interesting. Amanda lent me a wheelie suitcase which was great and I concocted a rather fetching cardboard plate carrier with shoulder strap for the charger.
So I had to take the pots to a particular place by 9.30 on the saturday morning and I remember thinking when I booked the tickets ages ago how nice it would be to have a day in London on the friday to have a wander around and see some exhibitions and I honestly thought I had booked the tickets for just that reason to go on the thursday. I discovered on the tuesday I think it was when I was fishing out the tickets so that I was ready that they were actually booked for the friday so that was a bit of a swine. I can only assume that I had thought the £19 ticket was too good to miss. What happened that week though? Well it didn’t happen here but the rest of the country was brought to a stand still by the snow. Typical, I was really worried about being suck half way there on a train in a snow drift. All afternoon on the thursday here I kept watching the weather. I thought that if it started to snow I would go down to Dumfries then and stay with my sister overnight and then at least I would be able to walk to the station as I was worried about being snowed in out here. I’d look up and see some snowflakes and think right if it’s still snowing in fifteen minutes then I’m going now, then it’d stop. Talk about tense!
It still didn’t snow here and I got the train all fine and dandy and got to London AOK and I stayed with Annabel again which was great though I saw precious little of her as my trip was so short. I had booked a train out of London at about 4pm on the saturday up to Sheffield to Paul’s mum’s 80th party. There’s nowt like cramming it all in.
I found the right place no problem on the saturday morning but how annoying can those wheelie suitcase things be when the start up a little wobble and it just gets bigger and bigger till the damn thing is fair dancing along the road behind you and wrenching your shoulder because of the weight in it, there’s nothing else to do but stop and gently oh so gently start again.
It was an odd experience if I am quite honest. I had been warned though so at least I was prepared for oddness. There were I think six of us there applying and we went into a lecture room of the university, laid out our pots on tables and were told to amuse ourselves elsewhere for three hours. Then we came back and packed up our pots and that was that. I thought it was bizarre that we weren’t really spoken to, and the process wasn’t explained. It was quite as I say, odd. After the selection, as we were all packing away the Council was waiting to start their meeting and the couple of people who I had met before did come and have a chat which I was very grateful for as it made the whole thing a bit less intimidating. I just thought it strange that people could travel all the way to London to show their work and not be asked about it, one girl had set off at 3.30am to be there by 9.30am. I’d have been even more terrified if I had had to speak but I thought it would have been interesting both to us as applicants and to the selectors to hear from each other.
So after that I left my trusty wheelie case at the left luggage area in Kings Cross station where it was scanned through an x-ray machine. That was great,I wanted to take a picture but I thought they might think I was some sort of weird terrorist suspect person if I did so I didn’t. It came up on the screen with x-rays of all my pots, fantastic, the harvest jug I had taken had really even walls, I was quite pleased. I spent a couple of hours then at the City of London Museum which had some tasty pots and chatted to a researcher lady who’s aunt has a couple of Lucy Rie pots at her house. Like you do. Then I made my way north to Sheffield to the party while trying as hard as I could to stay awake so that I didn’t miss my stop and the man at the side of me didn’t stay awake and his head kept hitting my shoulder as he nodded off.
Anyway at the end of that epic story I got a letter on friday saying that yes I had been offered Professional Member
ship of the CPA. I did some crazy la-la-la-ing and bouncing around the workshop and singing to myself as there was no-one else around to tell at the time and kept laughing out loud for the rest of the afternoon. I did text Paul Young who sent his congratulations from a train ride somewhere in deepest darkest India. I’m very pleased but it does feel a bit weird saying it I’m not boasting, just very pleased.
There you go Christine, I’ve done it!