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Meet Bertha, a girl to reckon with


I'D like to introduce you to Big Bertha. She's a sturdy girl of ample girth who recently emerged from the kiln at Penzance School of Art.

Whatever her merits, she marks a new milestone in my on-and-off ceramics career. She is the biggest pot I've ever made.

I began my last course in Penzance determined to make at least one big pot - a pot not to be tucked away in a kitchen drawer, or made to sulk in silence behind bolder creations, but a pot to 'make a statement', promote its case, yell 'screw you!' at a sceptical world.

Well, she certainly does that. She's a tall, dominant creature with a random, yoghurt-like glaze which actually demands scrutiny. Bertha seems to be saying: 'So you don't like my glaze? Who gives a toss?'

Even I'm not sure what to make of her. Pottery is like that. You're never certain what the firing is going to do to your work, whether it will enhance it into something spectacular, or reduce it to something mundane. At 1300 degrees, all bets are off.

In Bertha's case, I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I take a sideways glance at her and think: 'Not bad.' When the sunlight sits neatly on her haunches, she can actually be quite alluring, like a plain girl blushing.

Either way, my big-boned coiled creation is here to stay. I expect her to be around in some form or other for a thousand years. Experts of the distant future will probably describe her as 'a prime early 21st century product of the Penzance School.'

On the other hand, probably not.


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