A SANHS fund raising challenge to enable a manager and editor to work on the website.

From the 1st of August to the 7th November, and using the collections owned by SANHS as her inspiration, Fiona Holmes will create a pot a day. 

Fiona has never thrown except in preparation for this challenge. She mainly focusses on managing the gallery and hand building with clay. As the daughter of Treston Holmes (a potter with over 50 years of experience) she has access to all of the equipment and a brilliant trainer.  She is learning about the process as she goes along. 

Follow her progress, be inspired by the amazing collections owned by SANHS, learn about the history of ceramics in Somerset and laugh at my journey!

Facebook: @KenleyArts

Website: https://kenley-arts.co.uk

Website: https://SANHS.org

A little bit from Fiona

The 100 Pots challenged started in a meeting with a bright idea from yours truly. It was a website meeting and we were talking about our website – funny that!

So the issue was – we didn’t have enough people with the IT skills to update the website as volunteers, in the original brief we had planned for a paid for a website editor/manager but SANHS was short of cash so we had to think of a solution. I came up with a sponsored pottery challenge. I thought it would also have the added advantage, if I did it correctly, of highlighting what SANHS owns and what SANHS does and stands for. For example – did you know that many of the artefacts looked after by the South West Heritage Trust are owned by SANHS and that we fund their upkeep? Did you know that the Castle Museum is owned by SANHS? Did you know that, together with SWHT, we own one of the largest collections of pottery in the UK outside the V&A? Did you know that much of the collection is stored in Taunton and that you can get it out if you request it? 

And there is the problem.

Unless you know what is there how can you ask for it? So we want to have our collections available to view, we want a website that champions what we do and helps us to fund our activities but to do this we need someone to manage and edit the website. We want a website that lets you know about the talks and visits we put on and that can help you access them. We want you to be able to see what books we publish and also share what our grants are creating and give you opportunities to apply for them.

So my challenge to myself is to try and raise a bit of money for SANHS by doing what I love – pottery.

So how could I make it a challenge that people would sponsor? Well I have always refused to throw. My father is a brilliant potter and he throws on the wheel. I sculpted figures using a highly grogged clay or paper clay. So the challenge to myself was to learn to throw and then to use the SANHS collections to inspire me. 

If I had known what I know now about the process would I have done it? Yes but it is hard. The first 50 days really were spent learning how to throw and looking for pots that reflected design or decoration. I was not skilled enough to make a pot that I had an idea about at the start of the process. Day 50 I started to be able to think more about what I was able to do and Day 57 I am really looking at designs and finding the process of combining the archaeological with the making interesting.

So in funding me you fund an hour at a time supporting the development of the website so that we can have a website that promotes our activity. Volunteers will post onto it but we need help to edit and manage the boring bits that nobody wants to volunteer for. 

Thank you for sponsoring me and I hope, when you visit the SANHS Website, you will feel inspired, join and fall in love with the collections as I have done.

Click on the picture to go straight to our Facebook fundraiser

FH throwing a pot Day 1

Please donate and please share and tell others to donate. It is only through us earning money that we will be able to buy more time so that Louisa can manage the website. The society needs your help!

News update: When I post news here, it is transferred to the blog so that the information is not lost.

Day 72 have now made  78 pots.

By day 50 we had raised over £300 pounds. 

David Dawson and I will be talking about ceramics and my journey on the 16th November at the Cotleigh Brewery. Tickets will be onsite from the office from next week. I will put all the links on here for you to follow.

Panorama of the 100 Pots exhibition during Somerset Art Weeks

This photograph showed all of the pots in situation during Somerset Art Weeks. 


Fiona Holmes at work




Gallery of the 100 pots


Pottery I have photographed whilst looking at the collection of ceramic artefacts held in the joint SANHS and South West Heritage Trust collection. I believe that most of these pots are part of the SANHS collections.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. admin

    Fantastic work. I look forward to seeing them glazed. Please keep us updated.

  2. Fiona Holmes

    I will! Just getting the posts up to date. I will be visit the collections tomorrow so should get some amazing pictures of pots to share. I am really looking forward to the collections starting to influence my designs.

  3. Chris

    These pots are incredible, especially as you have only ever done sculpting previously, keep up the good work. The Society is very lucky to have you helping them fundraise for the continuing improvement and development of their website. Look forward to the talk about ceramics you plan to do with a fellow member who specialises in identifying pottery. Hopefully I will be a lucky winner in the raffle of pots.

  4. Somerset Rural Life Museum

    Fascinating project – it was lovely to meet you this morning at Somerset Rural Life Museum.
    Do you have an Instagram page that we could follow?

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