I’ve known about the ceramicist studio of Peter Hayes on Pultney Bridge in Bath for some time but weirdly have not visited until now.
Peter and his son, Justin had an open day on the 24th September so I made a special trip in to see them. How I wish I’d done it before. Rarely have I met not only such a friendly couple of people, but also people who are passionate about what they do. I have to admit I was smitten by the place.
Set over three floors abutting the river, the top floor houses the showroom. Here are the quite fabulous annulus with resin insets, obelisks, monolithic ‘stones’, and more. The place is a treasure trove of quite stunning work which could have been either made yesterday or thousands of years ago. Timeless and enigmatic, the simple beauty of design speaks of a continued humanity which spans our existence. The second floor houses the workshop with the bottom floor holding works ready for sanding and the outside decking area to the river.
Peter and Justin create raku-fired pieces which are sometimes made in sections and / or are broken before re-assembling with coloured resins. I mentioned the Japanese art of fixing broken ceramics and he said that he started off with this in mind. Kintsugi was once seen as inferior to the original unbroken vessel despite the man hours and materials which goes into their rebirth.
Peter has experimented with leaving his unfinished work to weather, both aerobically and in water, often throwing bits into the River Avon which runs through Bath. The pottery fragments were enough to excite one history lover who thought they’d found some Roman artefacts.
Justin (above) told me some pieces had been left in the Caribbean sea around 20 years ago but Peter had left and not used them. Years later, he told divers where he’d dropped them and sure enough, the divers found the pottery pieces half-covered in coral and now part of the reef. What a sight that must have been.
So did I buy a piece? I would have LOVED to buy one (or more) or the larger pieces but unfortunately my pockets aren’t deep, but I did buy a smaller work which I will treasure.