New Pottery and Ceramics Page

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Today I have added a pottery and ceramics sub-section to the Arts & Crafts page,continuing on from last week. By adding some permanent pages I want to highlight some of the subjects I have covered on this site in my blogs and make them easier to access. My visits to see George at Lemba pottery were a real treat for me and I think he deserves mentioning as often as possible as his pottery is truly beautiful. Times are hard going for many in these unusual times and craftsmen like George should be supported as much as possible as his craftsmanship and products are unique.

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http://www.lembapottery.com/

 

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Lemba Pottery

My cousin Androula introduced me to Lemba Pottery. She has acquired quite a few fine pieces over the years from the gifted master potter George Georghiades who owns the pottery with his wife Sotiroula.

George’s father was a potter in the famous Lapithos region, the traditional home of pottery on the island before the Turkish invasion. George has studied both traditional and modern techniques and the shapes he utilises in his pottery reflect archaic forms of simple elegance. They have an ease and flow of line that I personally find very pleasing to the eye.

On my last visit to Cyprus I wanted to purchase some of his beautiful small bowls which I had seen on my first visit, a perfect size to use for soup. I found the colours very appealing as George uses colours that reflect the sea and the sky, so very appropriate for someone who lives a stones throw from one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in Cyprus. Whenever I use this bowl I take great pleasure in the grace of its lines, this adds another dimension to the enjoyment of my meal.

Many years ago I used to attend a pottery evening class and one of the things that fascinated me  was the glazes. Most glazes use metallic oxides and these can be a real adventure to the inexperienced as the results after firing can range widely but that was the fun of it. George uses glazes to great effect producing a richness of colour that adds yet another element to entice the senses. I love the mug I bought on my last trip as this demonstrates the metallic tones that can result, this one a verdigris colour.

He also produces some very lovely jugs, these ones a reflection of a shape used in antiquity.

The one I had to buy though has a much more utilitarian shape but one I love for its pleasing rotundity. Every detail you can see reflects the attention to detail that each piece is given lifted by the creative use of the glaze.

Traditional potters in Cyprus would use the local earthenware clay which chips very easily,  George uses a stoneware clay from Europe which results in a much more durable article. Traditionally potters would use a low kick wheel, where you sit low on the ground and use your knees or feet to turn it. George uses a modern electric wheel and a huge gas kiln to fire his pots.

If you are in or near Lemba or plan to visit in future please pay George a visit, he is just around the corner from the fantastic Lemba Art College, more of which next time. Meanwhile enjoy the virtual tour of some of his wonderful pots here.

Lemba – Ancient and Modern

I wanted to re – visit George Georgiades at Lemba Pottery when I visited Cyprus again in September so that I could buy some of the small bowls that he makes, crafting them with such a pleasing curve to their shape.

I found him at his wheel and busy at his craft.  I was lucky that he had made two extra bowls for an order and these I purchased from him along with a mug coloured with a band of verdigris green and I left with the thought that next time I will send a commission ahead, before leaving the UK, in order to buy a set of these useful little bowls coloured in the hues of the sea and sky which are so often represented on George’s pottery. These I am sure would bring a zing into the dull days of winter at home whenever I looked at them and remind me of that deep blue sky and sea that I love so much to look at when I am in Polis or Paphos.

On my road out of  Lemba, heading towards the sea, I saw on the outskirts, a small sign pointing the way to a prehistoric Experimental Village  being curious I followed the dirt road and saw to my delight a re-creation of several round- houses painted in an exuberant geometric pattern in earth red on an archaeological site.

There is free access to view this cluster of houses with but a brief description of what they are and why they are here.  The village of Lemba has been, since 1976, a site of archaeological interest and ongoing research by the University of Edinburgh, being one of the most ancient in Cyprus. This reconstruction made in 1982, is a representation of a Chalcolithic (3800-2500BC) village and has been used to carry out a number of prehistoric activities including the making and firing of pottery as well as the use of building materials. I took great pleasure in looking at the results in the form of one of the larger houses and viewing the

spacious interior with its funky decoration and attractive construction techniques. I don’t know how authentic the painted design was but it certainly looked striking.

It was a very hot day and the hottest part of the day and I longed for a cool spot to pass away some time and rest. Outside the enclosure, a track with a row of shady pine trees offered a welcome spot to park the car and taking out my beach mat to place it under one of the trees I  sat resting my back against its trunk.The area was deserted of people and very peaceful. The air was cool here and the scent of the pine tree made it even more refreshing and as I gazed over the horizon I was content. I had seen in the space of a few hours two different parts of Lemba separated by thousands of years and yet I felt, there probably was not a lot of difference between George practising his pottery a few yards down the road and the potter who would have performed very similar skills so many millennia before him.