Thanks to The Handmade Bakery Co.

Thanks to Matt, Aaron and the team at The Handmade Bakery Company in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, who helped me with my recent MA project, linking an exploration of Soil Hill (the site of Isaac Button’s pottery up until the late 1960s), with the pancheon, the form of baking bowl which became a key link object for the project. This was, in part because it is a form I have always been drawn to (as readers of several previous posts will know), but is also because many of the broken sherds of pottery that I found on the surface of the bridleway leading to the pottery at Soil Hill, were rim fragments from large 49-50 cm diameter pancheons.  This association led to investigations into the potential local clay sources have for making these beautiful bowls, a series of photographs to try and capture the  unique landscape of the hill and the area around it, and to my visits to the Handmade Bakery Co to discuss the contemporary choice of bowls for mixing, rising and proving dough.

I made two small c. 27 cm / 11 inch pancheons for the bakery as a way of saying thanks – photographed yesterday…… One was made of clay from the hill, the other from Valentine’s terracotta.

Baker’s bowls

As part of my place and pancheons project, I have been photographing bakers and their favourite bowls for mixing and rising dough in their baking process. The hands you will see are of my neighbours, bakers from the locations of my clay hunting, relatives and friends… As you will see from a sample of the photographs shown here, the bowls are made of a wide variety of materials – ceramic, plastic, pyrex, bakelite….materials that come from a global reach – far from the direct association with local materials and makers. I don’t want to cast any value judgements here, I’m not trying to preach a local is best mantra, only perhaps to highlight the discontinuity – and the opportunity to reconnect.