Slow down you move too fast…

There are certain songs that remain permanent fixtures in your head  – one of those, for TheEye, is Simon and Garfunkel’s 59th Bridge Street classic Feeling Groovy

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel as they were back in the day…

‘SLOW DOWN YOU MOVE TOO FAST’, which easily leads on to the subject of this week’s post and how we have been spending our time post Lockdown. Life for many, TheEye included, has changed dramatically. People are working from home which has its blessings and curses. For TheEye the convenient location of the fridge to her office results in constant snacking expeditions. Not good news for her waistline.

Co-Founder Lucy Attwood. Photo Credit: Yik Dong

Time is more precious. Learning new skills, with opportunities to do things we previously put off on the grounds of ‘not having the time’. The joys of making and the popularity of programmes such as Master Chef, the incredibly popular Repair Workshop and The Great Pottery Throw Down, all intended to make us curious and keen to begin a new journey. Rather like meditation, people are discovering the joys of trying something new: sewing, mending, knitting, baking, jam and discovering they are better cooks than they imagined. It’s an endless list of possibilities.

An ex-student of the RCA is an accomplished mender and her thesis involved taking the longest tube journey, mending the fraying seats and keeping a diary and photos. She had studied jewellery and moved on to the subtle repair of torn pages from children’s story books, broken pots in the style of Kintsugi (the Chinese art of ‘precious scars’.) It’s the leisurely pace that appeals to so many.

A couple of weeks ago TheEye visited Studio Pottery in Ecclestone Yards Belgravia around the corner from Victoria Bus Terminal. Light and airy, the 3,000 square foot space which the founders –Gregory Tingay and Lucy Attwood– created. It’s an eye opener. A creative ray of sunshine in a somewhat dreary corner full of weary travellers pushing their wheelies.

Lucy studied at the Courtauld Institute and then worked at Christie’s managing private clients, followed by time at the Serpentine Gallery in charge of patrons and development. In 2018 she established Pop Up Pots a mobile pottery studio.

Gregory Tingay. Photo credit: Yik Dong

Lucy was on rather imminent maternity leave when TheEye visited but she was enthralled listening to Gregory Tingay – a fascinating unusually gifted man.

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and brought up in the Seychelles, Gregory started throwing pots at the age of 16. He attended Trinity College Cambridge where he graduated with a degree in Art History. He subsequently joined the Benedictine Order and was known as Brother Alexander at Buckfast Abbey Devon, and then Quarr Abbey in the Isle of Wight where he trained in the monastery pottery. Mary Boys-Adams, his mentor had been a pupil of the great potter, Bernard Leach.

Where it all happens behind the scenes.

Reassuringly messy!

After leaving monastic life in 2008, he practiced as a full time potter at Dartmouth Park Pottery in North London and was selected by Hauser and Wirth to be Artist in Residence for the Summer of 2019. Clearly he had made a great impression on one of the the artworld’s major international gallerists. A couple of years ago when Erwan Wirth was scratching his hair out thinking of an original Christmas present for his wife, a lady who lacked for nothing, he surprised her by building a studio into which he installed a kiln and, of course, a tutor. She was thrilled and told him she feared the gift might be ‘yet another horse’.

In conversation champagne at the ready. Joshua Aubroc Tong and Gregory Tingay

TheEye learnt a lot in her short visit, enough to soak in much information and watching not one, but two, demonstrations. One by Gregory of sgraffito and carving through slips and into the body of the vessels he attributes to references to Islamic, North African, sub-Saharan and Aborigial art.

Joshua Aubroc Tong with the teacup he is in the process of making.

The other was watching as Joshua Aubroc Tong made a tea cup and demonstrated throwing on the wheel and how to make the handles.

Co-founder in the studio rafting by hand. Photo: Yik Dong

Fascinating and refreshingly different.

The studio offers courses – starting with an introductory three house ‘taster’ course for complete beginners, going on to foundation classes to hone their new skill and passion.

Studio Pottery hosts workshops and classes under expert ceramicists. All very organised and efficient. There are twelve wheels intended for small classes and a private studio for one-to-one sessions. There is a monthly membership and a dedicated members area. Gregory gives individual lessons in his own studio and he believes that under the close guidance of a kind empathetic firm teacher a keen learner will quickly develop a sound technique.

The studio was opened by Edmund de Waal.

Edmund de Waal opened the studio.  Photograph: Ben McKee

So if you want a change in the pace of life and feel it’s time to indulge in something you have always thought about but never had the guts to try – give it a go. Maybe you will catch the ‘pot bug’. Cheaper and more healing than therapy.

2 Comments

  1. What an inspiring discovery and marvellous storey, really elevating.

  2. Tingay’s journey is absolutely riveting, would love to see his work. Can imagine throwing a pot is incredibly therapeutic & the Studio sounds wonderful.

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