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Maidenhair Ceramics. Spain.


Hi Im Nick Hopes 59 year old UK male that has been living in Frigiliana, near Malaga Spain for the last five and a half years. Im so excited and honoured that the Triskele potters are coming to my small village here in Andalucia, Frigiliana is also known as the village of three Cultures and what could be more fitting than Thor from Sweden, Tom from Czech Republic and Andy from the United Kingdom to all converge here this February to be inspired by this beautiful region of Spain.

I have been a Bonsai practitioner for as long as I remember, for sure over thirty years and did my first workshop with Marco Invernizzi when he first returned from Japan. Time flies as im sure I wasn’t even thirty years old at the time. Something up until three years ago I couldn’t quite quantify in my mind was that I could never see the value and beauty in a really well made or antique Bonsai pot. I had been to Japan in 2005 visited the Kokofu exhibition, oh and I now wish I had taken so much more notice than I did,  distant memories of having tea with Master Saburo Kato and Master Koboyashi humble me as I write this.  Then came a fateful day while whilst watching a video produced by Mirai of Tom Benda's pots. That was the day I fell in love with Bonsai pottery, I contacted Tom and asked him to make me a pot after a few questions that he asked me he agreed, then Covid came and Tom and I became what my wife called us at the time (pen friends) we very rarely spoke about my pot again and we just chatted and built a friendship. Then one day I decided to go to Malaga to get some clay and give this pottery  game a go. Santiago Pidal is the shop and I still love going there whenever I can, a really old fashioned yard with the dog coming to say hello huge amounts of clay, two gas kilns and you can walk around behind the scenes and absorb this wonderful community space that will  fire pots for those without kilns etc oh and Santiago makes his own Organic Red wine delicious. So rushing home to get stuck into making my first ever Bonsai pot, now I am a plasterer by trade and I am sure these skills have helped me so much, but what it didn’t do was teach me to go slow, I did make an ok pot but I was covered in red clay from top to tail. Ill revisit that later. In the mean time a good friend of mine who has a house down the road as a thank you to me for looking after his house during Covid found a second hand non working electric kiln with brand new elements located in the uk for a bargain. So he bought and shipped it to me and to cut a long story short I rebuilt it with new parts etc and ended up with a lovely little kiln that I still have and use regularly along side my bigger Gas kiln.  My friendship grew over time with Tom and he would give me little snippets of advice and I honestly feel he let me grow into pottery rather than teach me,  I really value that.  Anyway the day arrived that my now pots rather than pot that Tom made for me  arrived and I was so happy to have them.  It was a long wait but without it, I would'nt be writing this today. I invited Tom to come for a Holiday and it was so lovely that he and his two children came for a weeks break two years ago. I haven’t really spoke too much about Toms Influence on my pottery but the biggest thing I took away from the few hours we spent working with clay was the cleanliness, I was flawed. To this day I believe Tom could make a pot in a suit.  The rest is history I grew into pottery watched Andy’s videos on YouTube, had few chats with him too and finally got to meet the Triskele three at the Trophy in Genk 2023, the friendship and support from Thor,Tom and Andy will alway be something I cherish. So to get the message that they would like to come for a Triskele edition to my home here in Spain was something I instantly said yes too. I am so looking forward to seeing what they create and what ill be inspired to create while they are here. 

Pottery for me is an extension of me, my thoughts my mood and my life. I sit and day dream pots as my mind wanders through ideas, colours and textures until a moment lights in my mind and I just have to build it. It satisfies the mad scientist in me, clay, fire, mathematics, glazes and recipes, the excitement of new gifts every time I open the kiln. What more could I want? Mmmmm maybe an oxygen sensor for the gas kiln, wow they cost a lot of money maybe ill stick with my senses and take what the kiln gods give me. Triskele  coming is one of the best gifts so far. 

So February 16th the new Triskele gathering starts with me as the first ever guest potter. No pressure then!!!! 

We all can’t wait to share this edition with you all and sincerely hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I know we all will.

Nick Hopes 
Maidenhair Ceramics. 

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