Pigs Might Fly

Being told that someone is famous for their pigs – especially when you live in the country – does conjure up imagery of well tended farmyards and bright coloured rosettes at county show prize giving. But when I met Paul Cardew for the first time several years ago I quickly discovered the pigs in his life are more likely to be on a shelf than a pig sty as they’re the ceramic kind that you save your pennies in.

In the 1980s Paul was asked to design a range of piggy banks for Nat West, which very quickly fired up a generation of young savers eager to get their hands on the family of pigs.  Needless to say their popularity continues today and all the pigs are highly collectable.  In his Cornish studio Paul continues to make them for the legions of fans across the world, including these new limited edition ‘Six Nations’ Rugby pigs – I love this Scottish Rugby pig!

Rugby pigs

As well as pigs, and his ‘eccentric’ teapots – his other ‘claim to fame’ – Paul continues to make one and off and small batch ceramic pieces many of which have been highlights of exhibitions at The Byre.

Paul vase with blue sunshine

Paul Cardew ceramic vase with blue sunshine in Everything in the Garden is Lovely, The Byre spring 2014

Venus vase by Paul Cardew in 'Telling Tales' at The Byre, summer 2014

Venus vase by Paul Cardew in Telling Tales at The Byre, summer 2014

Tall vases by Paul Cardew with pear by Remon Jephcott

Tall vases by Paul Cardew with pear by Remon Jephcott, Pastures New, The Byre, spring 2016

Paul and his wife Karen live a couple of miles away from us in a stunning 18th century farmhouse – Rame Barton – which is also a fabulous boutique b&b, www.ramebarton.com.  Set in gorgeous grounds with enviable views of the coast and surrounding countryside, it is the perfect spot to find inspiration as an artist – and Paul even runs pottery courses so anyone can discover their inner creativity!

Rame Barton

Rame Barton

We had a lovely afternoon – into the evening with them – last weekend which as well as enjoying gorgeous food (and wine!) was also a chance for a peek around Paul’s studio to see what he’s been up to.

Paul with cousin-in-law Maggie Cardew and Barry Dye

Paul with cousin-in-law Maggie Cardew and Barry Dye

Paul with granddaughter, Eva

Paul with granddaughter, Eva

Sun starting to go down, chickens in the background

Sun starting to go down, chicken run in the background – chickens have run!

Potter's wheel

In the studio, potter’s wheel

Rugby pigs awaiting their team colours

Rugby pigs awaiting their team colours

Rugby pigs ready for second firing

Rugby pigs ready for second firing

Ceramic pig by Paul Cardew

A more feminine pig!

If I can drag Paul away from his pigs, I hope to have some lovely new pieces from him in the gallery for the summer show – Out of the Picture, 16th July until 11th Sept.