This weekend I have mostly been demonstrating what I do. I was invited by the Scottish Potters Association to be one of their three demonstrators for the annual Spring weekend at Kindrogan in Perthshire. The other two were Jim Robison and John Dix, both potters of shall we say a little greater vintage than myself and both seasoned demonstrators. I’ve done a couple of wee slots before but nothing more than about 45minutes. This started with a slide show on friday evening – not great, I made a bit of a hash of it, I flapped quite a bit and garbled somewhat but although it was chaos compared to the other two folks, in comparison to my own last slide presentation it was a lot better! I know it doesn’t take much to be better than the last one and I know to those there on friday who hadn’t seen the last one they may still feel it was rather poor but this one felt like a huge leap forward.
Then from first thing saturday through to 4 o’clock on sunday I was demonstrating. The first hour or so was a bit scary. I had a plan in my head as to what I was going to make. The room I was in is upstairs in the centre and John Dix was in the room below me. I was quietly throwing whilst I could hear John talking away confidently and his audience regularly bursting out laughing while mine were sat still and very quiet. Once people started to ask questions it suddenly felt much easier and I started to relax a bit. It was when I got my slip trailers out though that I it felt best, I was stunned by the reaction. I’m so chuffed that people seemed so genuinely impressed and that they wanted to watch more and more of what I do. After the first couple of hours it was tea break time and my room emptied (people can wander in and out of the rooms as they wish as all three demonstrators are working simultaneously). I was worried they might not come back but when I spotted that half a dozen had left their notebooks on their seats I smiled because that meant they’d be coming back for them.
Some people did say some really flattering things about what I’d done. I heard from one person that a comment had been made that I should have talked more about what I was doing and any other comments from the audience would be great so that I know a bit better what worked and what didn’t. My squared dishes went down a storm in the demo. I did at one point find that I had relaxed so much I started to tell them about my dragon friends, there were some confused faces and I realised maybe I should keep the dragons a bit more secret in case dragon slayers try to come and find them. That would never do.
I took Blogger Andrew with me as my helper but actually lent him to my wonderful sweet friend Barbel for the weekend and he helped her with building and firing her kiln over the weekend. On the way up on friday me and Andrew stopped for a quick play in the snow that was left over.
I sold a lot of pots too and so that was great and I feel I can now look forward to the next jaunt properly feeling a bit more relaxed and a bit more confident about the whole thing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be in a different place but although I’m utterly exhausted I feel like I did an ok job, lots of things learnt that I would and wouldn’t do at the next one but I don’t feel like I completely messed up or anything – very unusual for me really. I am stunned and surprised that I actually ended up enjoying the demonstrating bit which really threw me as I wasn’t expecting that at all. I had a great student helper over the weekend who was wonderful and brought me regular supplies of tea and warm water for throwing with, my diva style request for jelly babies was honoured many times over, thank you all, you know who you are!
I haven’t any images of my own from the weekend, I was busy doing something else but these ones of me were taken by Amy Buttress.
At the end of sunday I’d told the group in my room how I’d been worrying about the fact that John’s audience were always laughing and clapping. Bless them they conspired to all stamp their feet and cheer and clap and generally make a loud ruckus all at the same time as I finished. It was hysterical, at least it was to me, I was so very tired and rather emotional about the fact that I’d managed to do it. I’m still fair pleased about it too. So hopefully tonight I’ll be sleeping soundly and recovering from the weekend before tomorrow getting everything into order in preparation for America…