He’s always been a part of the pottery ‘scene’ as I know it, at my first Rufford show, when I was barely started, he bounced up and enthused about my slipware and was very complimentary. He had time for everyone, no matter who you were. He always smiled and spoke, his love of pots and clay and of people and fun and of life was blatantly obvious and required no searching for.
Potters I feel have a tendency to make pots that reflect themselves in some way and Richard’s more than any did this so well. No one else could have made his pots. They are bright beasts, immaculately made, vibrant and smiling.
Always smiling, I don’t know if I ever saw him not smiling. Even after his diagnosis of cancer two years ago and after what must have been a horrid operation that left him in pain and with speech being difficult, he still smiled on. Even just six weeks or so ago at the Oxford show, still smiling, now obviously tired and hurting but still smiling and still with time for other people.
At the funeral yesterday, the church packed so tightly you couldn’t have slipped another one in, the aisles packed, people stood in the kitchen and virtually into the vestry, 500 plus come to send him home. One of his boys spoke of how Richard was completely comfortable with himself. I think that for me explained so much, a man who was just so able to be himself. Hymns sung with gusto and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ sung with a feeling I don’t think I’ll hear again.
In Minnesota a couple of years ago I met some relatives of Richard’s, Cheryl has written this lovely post, Art and Loss.
I didn’t know Richard well at all but he was always there, a huge part of this wonderful pottery family which I love to belong to and to quote Doug, ‘the sweetest of men’. Many tears were shed but they turned to laughter as his coffin, draped in a cloth printed with one of his bright designs he was carried out to the sounds of the Beach Boys blasting out of the speakers, how very fitting for a man who loved the coast where he lived and music and life. I’ve never attended a funeral where the man we all loved was spontaneously applauded out on his final journey. It sounds irreverent but it felt fitting and barely spoke of the impact he has had on this world.
Richard, thank you for everything. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. x