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Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.

Ceramic Review Issue 327

May/June 2024

Ant Edmonds shares the processes and techniques he and his wife Di use to create their Pueblo Indian-inspired pots

A couple of sessions with clay at primary school set me on a very meandering path during which I attended pottery evening classes as a teenager, gained a modest biology degree and endured four years of teaching. Finally in the early 1970s, I arrived with my late wife Jenny and her four children at our new home in the flat fenland of South Lincolnshire. The previous year I had left my teaching post in Devon to take the opportunity given by my evening class teacher to look after his workshop during the weekdays. I had access for nine months to a wheel and as much clay as I wanted. It was on the basis of the meagre skills I had acquired during that blissful period that we found ourselves arriving at what was to become Tydd Pottery.

My brother John soon joined us and within 10 years we were supplying hand thrown terracotta pots to garden centres throughout East Anglia and the Midlands. The pottery flourished but tragedy struck when Jenny was diagnosed with cancer and died a year later.


John and I decided to carry on, but increasingly cheaper imports undermined our market. Jenny and I had already been experimenting with blue and white domestic ware and when it became obvious that our present business was no longer viable, John returned to maths teaching, and I started producing maiolica pottery.

During this period Di and I got together. She was working in the care sector but assisted me whenever possible and I became increasingly reliant on her help. I continued to throw the pots, while Di took over the decoration and we developed this together for the next two decades or so. Di showed great aptitude for the role she played but the opportunity for her to reveal the extent of her talents was soon to come.


We were becoming increasingly frustrated with our present work and felt restricted and needed a change. Having long been besotted with early Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean Pottery of the Aegean, it was the unglazed monochrome vessels of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, particularly the work of Lucy Lewis of the Acoma Pottery, that eventually lit the fuse.

The detonation occurred in late 2019, when we decided that on 1st January 2020 the wheel would be put aside, and we would follow our ideas of hand building black on white, geometric decorated, unglazed vessels.

Lockdown came and we virtually lived in the workshop. When not handling clay, we were researching the skills we needed. Our tuition came from books: Gabriele Koch: Hand Building and Smoke Firing by Tony Birks, Lucy M Lewis: American Indian Potter and The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez, both by Susan Peterson, Coiled Pottery: Traditional and Contemporary Ways by Betty Blandino, and of course YouTube – Tony Soars, Joel Queen and African tribal potters all became our instructors.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there – pattern and form and their interplay are at the heart of what we strive for, that is what we discuss together. Then we retreat to our posts in the workshop. I coil the coils and Di paints the patterns and I get to paint one or two of them occasionally too.

For more details visit tyddpottery.co.uk