mixing poetry and pots

Recently I’ve been writing on my pots. Sometimes phrases from plays or poetry really seem to encapsulate what I’m trying to make and I started writing some of these on the bottom of the pot. base of porcelain jug

I think it all started with David Tennant’s Hamlet at Stratford, after which I read the play, then Stephen Greenblatt’s Hamlet in Purgatory   (as an aside, there’s a whole chapter of it at Princeton University Press, isn’t the internet wonderful).  Lots of Shakespeare’s characters are transformed after a ‘seachange’ – Hamlet himself, nearly everyone in the Tempest, Viola washed up on the beach at Illyria. More of Hamlet soon, but first, The Tempest.

I was already making pots with a worn, blue grey volcanic glaze outside their shiny interior. Pots that had been through a seachange, maybe dug up from a wreck.  These really seemed to be about the same kinds of ideas.  porcelain pots with worn grey volcanic glaze

Many of these have a few fragments of the core seachange text written underneath. Here’s the verse in the Tempest: base of porcelain jug with writing

“Full Fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
These are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:   ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them, – ding-dong bell.”

Here’s a written version – I sprayed it with water to get the faded, water-marked look:hand-written text of Full Fathom Five

You can get the texts of Shakespeare’s plays online – for exampleHamlet at the Gutenberg project.

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