Exhibition with Northern Potters


I decided it was about time that I took courage and applied to exhibit my work in a dedicated ceramics exhibition. Until now I have exhibited my work alongside a mix of craft disciplines – jewellery, textiles, glass, you name it – everything, a real mix. There were two objectives I had in mind, I wanted to see how my work looked alongside more experienced potters and secondly I wanted to gauge how my prices compared. I am sure I’m not alone in finding pricing one of the most difficult areas to tackle. From my observations newcomers fall into one of two categories – far too high having rigidly followed a given formula from college or far too low due to inexperience coupled with a slight feeling of lack of self-worth. I have come to the conclusion that I fall into the latter!

I was delighted and very much encouraged to be selected at my first try. There are very many highly experienced potters/ceramic artists in Northern Potters and of the names I recognise there are many whose work I greatly admire. I was asked to submit 12 pieces for the exhibition that runs for 5 weeks.

The New Schoolhouse Gallery is situated in a lovely space right next to the Quilt Museum in York. Outside there’s a  garden with paved walks, it must be fabulous in Summer! The building itself is single storey and as its name suggests, a former school. The main gallery has a high ceiling and tall windows along one side.

I arrived early for the opening and my first impression was of a room full of work, lots of plinths and with every surface used to advantage. I managed to get a couple of photographs before the room filled.

NPA Exhib 2L

Work by Alan Ball in the foreground and John Slade in the far corner behind.

NPA Exhib 3L

Work by Ian Howie. The piece on the left entitled ‘Fishpheasantturtle’ was my husband’s favourite and I must admit I thought it pretty stunning too!

As for my work –

NPA Exhib 1L

I was initially disappointed that only a few of the pieces I’d sent were on show but it was explained that as pieces sold they would be replaced! That showed a certain amount of confidence on the part of the organisers then! The room soon got quite busy and as none of the makers wore any name badges I hadn’t got a clue who was who. Such a shame as I would have loved to have chatted to other makers. As a rule we’re all fairly isolated and it’s only at these sort of events that we crawl out of our studios, dust ourselves off and get to meet and chat to others. A lost opportunity in my opinion!

Here are a couple pieces still in the backroom and hopefully they’ll see light of day if this first lot sells!

Treeform 2aL

Treeform Bowl

Dishes L

A selection of dishes.





6 thoughts on “Exhibition with Northern Potters

    1. Debbie Barber Post author

      Hi Juliet,
      Pricing is so difficult. There are so many factors that you have to take into account that when I originally set my prices were largely unknown. I now know my costs so next time I hope they’ll be more realistic. It was funny one of the first things that was said to me at the opening was that I was under-priced! Oh well it all takes time, I’m not going to worry about it.
      Thanks 🙂

  1. Jo Walker Ceramics

    Hi Debbie
    your work in the exhibition looks fantastic. I have to say I have had the same issues with pricing, I did one of my first large exhibitions this summer and things sold so well I had to top it up twice. That was great but it did make me think that maybe I had under priced some things and I was left really struggling to replace them. Maybe with experience it gets easier but I do think it’s something you need to sort out sooner rather than later.
    I’m sure you’ll do well though and the things in the back room won’t be there for long!

    1. Debbie Barber Post author

      Thanks Jo. I haven’t heard how things are going so I hope I get a nice surprise, unfortunately I haven’t got any pieces to replace them if they’ve sold so I’m keeping a low profile.


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