Old sayings, quotes and poems

Please can you let me know any family sayings, quotes or poems you may have and their meaning and significance to you. Here are some of mine:

‘old me ‘and and call me Charlie’ I need to work on the cockney accent

‘It aint all lavender’ I discovered this was a title to a song by Joseph Tabrar written in 1894, I can’t find all the lyrics though so if anyone knows them please let me know.

‘Oh my giddy aunt’

‘I’ll be two shakes of a lambs tail’

‘All get east aldgate out’

‘Remember you’re British’

‘I’ll ‘ave your guts for garters’

‘I’ll slap you with a wet lettuce’

‘Stone the flammin crows’

Most of these sayings come from in and around London and a few are from the music halls. There are more and I will keep adding them. I am fascinated by these sayings and have used them almost without realising. I think for me it is a connection with the past and my heritage but also a softer (in some cases) way of commenting on everyday occurences. The language used is often more poetic, a play on words and more subtle, less likely to cause embarrassment or just very funny. A pleasant contrast to the way conversations are conducted today.

Lawrence A. Bush

Two interesting quotes from www.uwic.ac.uk/icrc/issue012/articles/02.htm taken on the 24.10.10:

‘Time, place and perception are everything. I once heard a fabulous lecture by Louise Cort about how an object could radically shift meaning depending on context. In physics it has been known for a long time that the observer distorts the observed.’

When Lawrence was asked is skill and craftmanship of any value? This was his reply:

‘Yes and no. They have little value in and of themselves. Their real value is as a vehicle for expression. I have a simple definition of craftmanship – which you end up with what you intended when you started. But to be a very good, versatile craftsman is hard. Think of how much language you have to know to write a good poem, let alone one that people might want to hear more than once. Being a proficient typist doesn’t really help.’

One of the quotes from Rose Slivka’s book on Peter Voulkos says that were the pottery ends the art begins. For me I feel you need to have a very strong foundation of technical knowledge ‘craftmanship’ to be able to fulfil your creative ideas, otherwise it can just end in frustration and ceramics can be frustrating enough for the most proficient of makers.

This piece by Fiona Banner is an interesting take on a similar theme. The use of words becoming so abstracted that they are merely letters and yet these letters have the potential to form a complex language. It’s almost the reverse of what Lawrence Bush was saying about the typist without the language. The letters are almost a sort of poetry in themselves.

The Bastard Word, 2006-07
with the neon alphabet, ‘every word unmade’ i was thinking about a kind
of unmaking of language. as if you could make every word, or story imaginable,
from these 26 letters. all the potential is there, but none of the words.
the fragile wobberly letters, a byproduce of incrementally, inexpertly bending
the glass-then the electrical circuit pumping the gas through, make it like
one big, constant stutter…words about to be made or unmade. because i have
no practical experience of working with glass, the neon is kindof crappily made.
the final piece reflects the struggle to control the medium, the language,
if you like, that in turn reflects the struggle to define the meaning.
letters without words…


Peter Voulkos

What an interesting, intriguing, inspiring man. I love his approach to his work, to learn all there is to know then throw away the rule book and really be in ‘the moment’ whilst he was making. He had an unquenchable curiosity for all things art related and was inspired by a wide variety of visual stimuli: from dance, to fine art, architecture, music and ceramics both contemporary and historical. I hope that this feeling of intrigue and spontaneity will come across in my own work, not easy when you have to spend so much time thinking about it.

I have attached a recent Powerpoint presentation about Peter Voulkos and will add my notes and bibliography at a later date. Peter Voulkos powerpoint

Rupert Spira

I have just been introduced to the work of Rupert Spira. In my last piece of work I had started to make the writing more abstract as if the poem or saying were covered up by years of paint or rubbed away from use. I like the idea of the writing on my work becoming more like a pattern, creating intrigue, with the viewer left guessing what was once written there. Rupert Spira’s work has that feel, with intricate writing covering the surface of the bowl like a delicate repeated pattern.


It was my first day back on the wheel today. It felt much better to be doing rather than thinking about doing. I discovered whilst I was demonstrating at work that if you put casting slip over underglaze (on greenware) it splits and cracks like the effect of peeling paint. This ‘aged’ look is something that I have been trying to achieve recently, I love it when you stumble across something. The wonderful happy accident.

I have been trying this technique on the pieces I made today so it’s a case of wait and see. I have also been pushing the fragments of pottery in much earlier so they really sink into the clay body, I expect I will get bigger cracks this way (I hope). I would also like to experiment with placing whole plates into my cylinders and perhaps throw a large platter with a plate pushed into it…Pictures to follow.