A Potter, a Painter and a Poet

Thursday 18 February 2016

In another guest blog post from two of this year’s festival participants speaking as one, Paul Tebble and Anne Gilchrist, two of StAnza 2016’s visual artists, we hear about the collaboration which resulted in the exhibition which will be in the Preservation Trust Museum in March:

“We are delighted to be bringing to StAnza this year our exhibition which had its first edition at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. We are visual artists, Paul is a ceramicist and Anne is a painter and the contribution of the poet brings to us the expression of the poetic sensibility which is the core of any artists’ work.

“The collaboration of A Potter, a Painter and a Poet developed from longstanding friendships between ourselves and the poet Elizabeth Burns and the gradual realisation that the three of us involved in the project shared a creative kinship.

“We were deeply saddened at the death of Elizabeth, our dear friend and collaborator, who died on Thursday 20th August, 2015, during the Edinburgh edition of the exhibition. This has changed our lives. The gentle, unflinching openness and strength Elizabeth brings to us in her poetry leaves a deep and abiding legacy, of which we are profoundly honoured to be part.  Her warmth and friendship, which those who knew her cherished so much, is reflected in the intimacy of the deep insights she had into our work.

“We have brought together the joint strength and depth of our shared interests – from the hub of pottery, to the long-term relationship with the Tombreck woodland, its Perthshire surroundings, and the honest humanity of Elizabeth’s poetry.

“We are delighted that the unique exhibition spaces at the Preservation Trust Museum offer a great opportunity for you to take good time and gain a sense of our inspirations; the places, the pottery and our artistic friendship.

“The exhibition runs from 3rd to 6th March at the Preservation Trust Museum, from 11am - 5pm over each of the four days and we hope you’ll come to see it. We will also be taking part in a Meet the Artist event there on Saturday 5th March from 3.45pm to 4.45pm so do come along then if you’d like to speak to us about the collaboration or find out more. And you can also read below our artists’ statements for the exhibition.  

“And as well as the exhibition and Meet the Artist event, the beautiful film by Sitar Rose, PotterPainterPoet about the collaboration has its first showing at the Byre Theatre during the festival and perfectly illustrates the real nature of our intimate collaboration. We encourage you all to come and see it on Sunday 6th March at 2.15pm!” 



Artist Statement by Paul Tebble

“The humanity and the easily accessible, natural quality of the pottery making process, alongside the geological longevity of any finished piece, still fires me up. I feel a gleeful awe in the face of the myriad potters of the past 20,000 years, their extraordinary range of work and, over-arching it all, the truly global nature of this ongoing history. Childhood time spent on the seashores and mountains of Scotland has proved to be continually relevant to my work.”

Artist Statement by Anne Gilchrist

“Whether I am painting a bird, a flower, a prehistoric stone or a piece of earthenware pottery, I want people to feel the beauty, complexity and mystery of nature and to recognise within the work a reflection of their aboriginal selves. When I started to paint portraits of pots, I rediscovered deep connections within myself. I was brought up with beautiful pots and find their qualities – spheres, spirals, bowls, vessels – resonate through nature, on our own planet and beyond, into the cosmos. I’m finding that pottery gives me further insights into nature the more I see nature within it.”

Artist’s Statement written by Elizabeth Burns (1957- 2015) for the original Edinburgh exhibition of A Potter, a Painter and a Poet

“I’ve always been interested in pots, and the imagery that relate to them has been an ongoing theme in my poetry. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to focus on this by writing about Paul’s pots in particular, as well as the process of making them, and what this might symbolize. I like the old Scots word for a poet, ‘makar’, as I feel this give a sense of the links between making a poem, a pot or a painting. I’m fascinated by the long history of pottery, and how it provides a link back to our earliest history, and am interested in juxtaposing this with a response to contemporary pottery.”