Fired Up
the life behind 318 ceramics
Ceramics for the 21st Century
Written by Jane Lees
318 Ceramics is bursting with potential. There are massive changes afoot and a palpable energy about the place as I discovered when I visited earlier this month. I was invited by Jane Friend of 318 Ceramics to come and see some of the developments for myself. I wasn't prepared for what I encountered and I came away smitten.

Firstly by the building itself. Built in1872 by Absolom Harris to house his ceramice business, it still gives many fascinating glimpses of its life as a working Victorian pottery. In fact, generations of the Harris family continued the business right up until 1998, and I, like many Farnham residents, remember buying terracotta pots there for my garden. Back then, I only saw the courtyard from the Pottery Lane entrance piled high with pots for sale. I had no idea what lay within and beyond.
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Today, the building reveals a dramatic maze of rooms, some previously renovated, some in the process of restoration and many others waiting their turn to be magically brought to new life. Everywhere there are architectural and industrial jewels hiding in the fabric of the building or lovingly piled and stored for future use.  

Also everywhere there are people. And that was the other surprise to greet me on my first visit. The place was alive with industry and purpose, from carpenters to architects, from trustees to volunteers, all involved in the adventure of regenerating Farnham Pottery into a thriving centre for ceramics in the 21st Century. And everyone I spoke to had the same sense of enthusiasm, creativity and professionalism which I supect is going to be the backstamp of this whole project going forward.      

The aim of 318 Ceramics is to create a contemporary ceramics centre with excellence and professionalism at its core and the push is on to open in April this year. There will be master classes, lectures, short courses and events for makers at all levels. There will be local, community led projects alongside national and international collaborations with world class ceramicists. It's a high ambition and it's being realised.

Architects, builders and craftsmen are creating studio space for established makers, with opportunities for apprentices to learn and develop their practice. Also taking shape are a large throwing room, a kiln room, a glaze room, a plaster room and a teaching space.

I bumped into Angela Walker, the photographer who is lending her skills to help 318 Cermaics get set up, recording  the changes as they happen. She was in her element, soaking in the atmosphere and potential of the building: “ It's so photogenic! Everywhere you turn there are more rooms and more treasures.”    

This Blog will be charting the progress of the project and keeping you up to date with what the latest ideas and plans are. I want to dip in to the history of the Pottery, look at the building and focus on the individuals involved in the restoration and their work. I also want to find out about the inspirations and aspirations of the ceramicists, teachers, students, apprentices and academics who are working and dreaming hard to create 318 Ceramics. I hope that as I discover more and delve deeper you will come behind the scenes with me and maybe share some of your own thoughts, memories or ideas about Farnham Pottery and 318 Ceramics.
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1 response to "Ceramics for the 21st Century"
Helen Marton says:
12 June 2013 at 08:43
How absolutely fantastic!
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318 Ceramics is a creative organisation which promotes excellence in ceramics by providing education and support to all makers from beginners to professional. 
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