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Blackdowns Potter goes Donkey Mad!

( Last Updated: 22-06-2010 )

Blackdown Hills potter, Nicola Werner, has branched out into the unlikely world of painting a full size donkey model for a Donkey Parade to publicise the reopening of Weston-Super-Mare's historic Grand Pier after fire destroyed it in 2008.

"This has been an unusual departure from my usual professional pottery and a fabulous opportunity to paint such a huge 3D sculpture for a good cause," commented Nicola Werner, who has become fond of her resin and fibreglass donkey, Bernard, brought to life with acrylic paints and four coats of varnish: "I will miss him when he goes!"

Forty donkeys have been decorated by local artists to brighten up the town for the summer and some will be auctioned off on the Grand Pier in November to raise money for the BBC's Children in Need and the Lifeboats.

Nicola's work on the project proved different from her usual clay and glaze, but not entirely unfamiliar: "As a potter, I already work in 3D and, living in the beautiful wilds of the Blackdowns, am strongly inspired by the natural world. My work often features playful and colourful images of animals," explained Nicola, whose ceramics are well known for their distinctive natural designs and functional beauty.

A Member of the Craft Potters' Association, Nicola Werner studied Fine Art at the Central School before learning her craft at Aldermaston. She is featured this month in the prestigious national magazine, Ceramic Review. "This is a great accolade for a potter" says Nicola, "and perhaps is partly due to my earning my living for the last 24 years making Nicola Werner pots."

Nicola Werner's work covers the full range of practical ceramics, but she is particularly known for her whimsical country-inspired decorative tiles for kitchens and bathrooms, lively lettering on commemorative commissions such as plates, cider jugs and nameplates, and for her one-off dining sets - now in huge demand for wedding lists.

Nicola's work can be seen all year round by appointment at her studio in Bolham, near Hemyock; at The Boston Tea Party cafe, Honiton; at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey, The Lantic Gallery and the Simon Drew Gallery, Dartmouth. This summer Nicola Werner pots can be seen at the following events:
Cothay Manor Food & Gardens Fair, Sat 19th June in aid of the St Margaret's Somerset Hospice
Honiton Show

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