Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

John Clare’s green hours

July 13, 2018


Today – 13th July 2018 – is the 225th anniversary of the birth of the poet John Clare on 13th July 1793, a poet whose words have inspired so much of my work. And this afternoon, I unpacked from the kiln a bowl – just cooled from Wednesday’s glaze firing – with lines from his poem ‘Love lies beyond’, that seem to embody peace and loving memory. On a day when the heavens’ eternal blue has been disturbed (in London at least) by military helicopters carrying powerful people to and fro on their relentless business, and earth’s green hours are more threatened than ever before by humanity’s heavy tread, perhaps it’s a good moment to hear Clare’s gentle voice and his faith in the enduring power of love.

The bowl was commissioned to celebrate a special mother, whose favourite lines these were, and decorated at midsummer, like John Clare’s midsummer cushion, with cornflowers, lavender, thyme and forget-me-nots.


Love lies beyond

The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew –

I love the fond,

The faithful and the true.


Love lies in sleep –

‘Tis happiness of healthy dreams.

Eve’s dews may weep,

But love delightful seems.


‘Tis seen in flowers

And in the even’s pearly dew

On earth’s green hours

And in the heavens’ eternal blue.


‘Tis heard in spring

When light and sunbeams, warm and kind

On angel’s wing

Bring love and music to the wind.


And where is voice

So young, so beautiful and sweet

As nature’s choice

Where spring and lovers meet?


Love lies beyond

The tomb, the earth, the flowers and dew.

I love the fond,

The faithful, young and true.


John Clare, 1793 – 1864  


Now summer is in flower

June 17, 2010

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum

Is never silent round her sultry bloom.

(John Clare)

Seasonal pots have always been a pleasure to make. I like to paint what’s in the garden (or in our case on the roof) – so sometimes that’s daffodils or bluebells, sometimes courgettes. Now the rosemary flowers have just faded, but the strawberries are here, the sage is in full bloom, and the lavender hedge is just about to begin – we only have to wait just a little longer for that heady delight. This June plate was a birthday commission; I often use lines from John Clare’s Shepherds Calendar or his Midsummer Cushion for seasonal commissions – his ‘wildfield catalogue of flowers’ never fails to inspire.

Also of the moment are strawberry bowls, cherry bowls and flower jars and jugs – just right for keeping the drinks cool in the garden (or on the roof). With an English summer you have to make the most of every sunny afternoon.

And with a profusion of flowers everywhere (thanks to all that rain), the pots tend to get covered too (and the car).

Summer pots for sale from the studio (each a signed one-off): strawberry bowl size from £60; little lavender bowl size £30; Joy and treasure plate (text by Burns) £120; flower jars from £80.

To enquire about or buy any of these pots, please leave me a note in the comments box below or click here for contact details.

All photos copyright Liz Mathews

Jolly Spring doth enter

March 19, 2010

Earth now is green and heaven is blue Jolly Spring doth enter

Spencer’s encouraging observation is lettered in green and blue round the flared rim of Green Earth, an open shallow bowl of a good size for fruit or salad, as well as a cheering thing to look at and handle.  The flowers are flax, thyme, periwinkles, lavender and cornflowers, with some blue-eyed grass – a foretaste of the joys to come. I very much enjoy making seasonal pots, responding to the turning year. For some other Spring pots please see the Meadow page, and for some snowy works have a look at the Paperworks page. I’ll be featuring Summer, Autumn and Winter pots later in the year, including some special pots for Christmas. The Green Earth bowl is thrown on the wheel in white stoneware clay, lettered and decorated by hand with brushwork in underglaze colours, fired, glazed with a clear glaze and then fired again. It’s 27cm across the rim, and 9cm high. Signed one-off, for sale £120. To buy or enquire about this or any work, please leave me a note in the comments box below or click on contact details. All photos copyright Liz Mathews. Permission is needed for any use of these images.