Forgive me blog, for I have sinned / by Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown

It has been two and a half years since my last post... Wow. Where did that go?

It hasn't been uneventful, but that's no excuse. I was always a sporadic diary writer as a child, starting with determined enthusiasm, only to fall swiftly and soundly out of the habit until I was re-inspired by a character in a story, generally in some cheesy American teen movie.

So let's try again! A great deal has happened. Ceramic Art York and Ceramics in the City, for which I was preparing, went really well. I was astonished by the positive reaction and the welcome from the ceramics community. Everyone says that they're a lovely bunch. It's really true. Something I have found time and time again since my first shows is that one of the key pleasures of attending a fair or an exhibition is the other exhibitors. As I attend more and more, I add to the bank of familiar faces of potters and crafts people and they have become my friends. So while shows are hard work and exhausting, they are also really fun.

Other key events are moving studios (twice) and moving house (once). The Craft Central building in Clerkenwell where I did my apprenticeship with Helen and then shared a studio with Janet Stahelin Edmondson, has sadly been taken over by the developers. Craft Central is now in a fabulous new space called The Forge in the Isle of Dogs. 

The Isle of Dogs being a long way from Wood Green where I now live, I have moved into a studio in Finsbury Park which I share with the wonderful mother-daughter duo Olivia and Sally McGill. It is a 20 minute cycle from my house and is proving to be a fantastic, creative and supportive space to work. I also work about a day a week for Helen in her new home studio. This is a multi-faceted blessing since it helps to keep the wolf from the door (the pottery career wolf is quite big and menacing) and it means I get to regularly see her which is good because she is my friend, but also because she is still my mentor. She has always been and continues to be incredibly supportive and ambitious for me. I get in trouble if I'm not being ambitious enough for myself! 

Another big happening was having some mentoring from the wonderful Kyra Cane, organised by the CPA and Adopt-A-Potter. She has been fantastically generous with her time, advice and support, going way beyond the bounds of the agreed mentoring structure. I now have a constant Kyra angel on my shoulder, and a real Kyra at the end of the phone, which has really made me pull my socks up and I think (I hope she would agree) that the impact on the improvement on the quality of my finished pieces has been marked.

My aims for next year are to continue to refine my work. I have always been a person to try to do and be a million things but I have realised that too many shapes and patterns and colours just adds confusion to my work. I feel like it needs a bit of clarity and space. So I'm going to try settle on a limited collection and explore some new approaches to decorating and see where it takes me.

For the first time in ages I had a proper day off yesterday. So I hot-footed it down to the galleries. I started with The Cezanne portraits. Like most people I am mostly familiar with his landscapes and it was interesting to see the same approach for a hillside being applied to a skirt. It was also really inspiring to see the bold, immediate marks he made. Something that is bubbling in my mind is a bolder approach to mark making. I've lately been admiring the freshness and liveliness of the work of Katerina Klug, Sylvia K and of course the fabulous Kyra Cane, amongst others, and will try to channel some of the confidence of their mark making in my development work.

I also went to the Women's Hour Craft Prize at the V&A. What a wonderful group of crafts people they chose. I was particularly keen to see Andrea Walsh's work. Her pieces are so calm and contemplative. Her exploration of light and dark and texture is just wonderful and very much chimed for me with the fantastic Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius at the Design Museum which was so good I went twice. Interestingly, for a person who is a little obsessed with light and generally can't get enough of it, I was in both cases mostly compelled by the dark pieces. The places where the darkness seemed to reflect on itself and intensify where dark, matt surfaces met and faced away from the light were hypnotic.

There is much more to say but I will leave it here for now and hopefully not leave two and half years before the next update.