Saturday, 6 July 2013


O  F  F  E  R  I  N  G  S

‘In a world dominated by commercialism and technology, where pressure is on instant results, I enjoy the meditative nature of allowing the form to evolve with handwork, imagination and human labour, using the most primitive and natural material available: the earth itself.’
Lorraine Robson

Scottish ceramicist Lorraine Robson makes beautiful, thought-provoking works that pay homage to ancient and primitive skills, while embracing contemporary influences. Not designed as functional, her hand-built pieces, often dictated by the classic vessel form, are made from a kaleidoscope of influences from throughout time. In this stunning exhibition of recent works, Lorraine shows elegant individual pieces as well as intriguing collaborations with contemporary craft makers Lise Bech, Black, Molly Ginnelly and Liz Myhill. The vessel is the most simple and most secretive of sculptural forms: it both creates and encloses the vacuum at its centre. Robson’s work capitalizes upon the secret quality of the vessel, with many of her works concealing hidden and precious ‘offerings’. 

The vessels are pristine in line and finish; they have an aesthetic purity that belies their hand-crafted origins. Robson’s extraordinary process takes the vessels through multiple firings, glazes and polishes, each building to the final, glowing surface. Her reductive palette of slate, ivory, terracotta and blood red is both earthy and intensely human. It is reminiscent of rock and earth, blood and bone.
This is interesting in the context of the conceptual underpinning of ‘Offerings’, which draws upon prehistoric artifacts and ritual. Many of the objects on exhibition harbour secret gifts within. Slice I and Slice II hold ornate concealed blades within their pure, feminine forms. In the window, the gleaming red urn holds within it a beautiful oxidized silver necklace made by Molly Ginnelly. Kelp, on a low plinth in the centre of the gallery, sees beautiful ceramic forms linked by Liz Myhill’s printed silk scarf. These ‘offerings’ have a poetic quality, linking them both to the natural world and to the ritual and sacrifice of the ancient world. 

Constantin Brancusi. The Newborn. 1920. Bronze.
 Much of Robson’s research took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, such as the countless drawings of birds and beaks which fed into ‘Pecking Order’, the installation on the gallery wall, and the ‘Be Still Life’ group of several vase forms, each based on the compact bodies of birds with their wings drawn close. This abstraction from nature is reminiscent of the interwar heyday of Modern sculpture, when  artists such as Brancusi, Hepworth and Moore drew heavily on biology, organicism and evolutionary form to create a sculptural practice of enduring and monumental simplicity. Robson’s ceramics are as much sculpture as they are craft; they have a clear link to this mode of practice.  
Robson's exhibition will be on display until late August. The gallery is open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday. please find us on facebook to find out more about current projects, exhibitions and opportunities: 

If you would like to see some of the secrets of the work revealed, please ask at the gallery desk and we will be happy to show you. 

Price list available on request     

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


  •         10 commissions available for a fee of £300 inclusive of materials
  •        Apply as soon as possible and by 10th July (5pm) at the latest 
  •        Proposals will be assessed and selected as they arrive    
  •            Objects to be a maximum of 30cm x 30cm        
  •          We are happy to consider existing small works for purchase. 

PPG have ten small commissions available for small sculptural works designed to be handled. These objects will form part of a large engagement project called Wonder Room, which uses the magic of early incarnations of the museum (wunderkammer, or cabinets of curiosity) as the basis for arts workshops and events. The project is designed to inspire something of the wonder of the unknown, the strange magic of objects and to encourage speculation and story-telling for visitors of all ages. Each of these sculptures will be added progressively over the coming months to a purpose-built cabinet in the gallery space, which visitors can explore when they visit.   

We are looking for works of sculpture in any media (or mixed media) which may look functional, decorative or exotic, hand-made or mechanical, fantastical, geological, mysterious or sinister. 

This commission is part of the Monument Project and it is funded by Awards for All. 


Email a short proposal, including sketches/design and photographs (if available), to Kate Sloan at  

Please include a short paragraph about your practice and include a link to any online resources including websites or images of work. 

Please note that proposals will be chosen on merit and the suitability for the project and artists of all backgrounds and stages of their careers are welcome to apply.    

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Three Eras of Power Production; Energy and Landscape in East Lothian



Until 25 May 2013

The current exhibition at Peter Potter Gallery strikes a curious chord with the recent death of Margaret Thatcher. With Thatcher finally laid to rest, these icons of the Industrial Power game seem even more potent, particularly in East Lothian where the landscape and economy have been shaped by the power industries. At the heart of the exhibition a simple metaphor is used to explore the dynamics of power. The familiar childhood game of Rock, Scissors, Paper is an illustration of the intrinsic power and energy of materials. One object can conquer another through its core properties and thus the game stands for elemental power dynamics. David Faithfull has used this dynamic as the basis for this exhibition, which creates a narrative around the history and future of 'power production' in East Lothian. The local landscape is shaped by the ways in which we harvest and harness natural resources. Artist David Faithfull writes:

 The vast architectural xenolith of Cockenzie, with its two dark-tipped towers, the sentinels of the Forth, counterbalance the bunkered chasms of decaying radioactive core along the coast at Torness. And the contentious wind turbines of Aikengall? To some, these turn with the serenity of Zephyrus, to others they are the grindings of a fiendish visual dystopia
From farming and mining to ancient settlements and estates; the rural landscape has been shaped by the history of human occupation. It is these rural landscapes that have also supported the vital production of energy that fuels our homes. Locally this has included coal mining at Cockenzie, nuclear power at Torness and wind farms like Aikengall.  Power production has also been a primary source of employment in rural communities around the Lothians. From mining to nuclear and now the wind farms, these landscapes have been shaped, scarred, enhanced and transformed by the power industries. The economy of power takes on a different meaning in the context of the relatively low paid work which has sustained local communities and at times cost people dearly, particularly resonant now with the recent closing of Cockenzie Power Station and the death of the miners' nemesis, Margaret Thatcher.


In front of a surreal and expansive photograph taken near Aikengall Wind Farm, three sculptures rest on plinths. The first is a laser carving in cannel coal, which was one of the historic bi-products of the mining industry. This hard bituminous material was traditionally carved by miners into furniture and decorative items in British mining regions, particularly in Fife and the Lothians. The form of a pair of scissors has been laser-cut into the smoothed surface. The second sculpture is a paper cast in the form of stone fragment and the final sculpture is a sheet of ruled paper created from etched and pierced steel. This group of sculptures play on the material values of the objects and their individual currency within the Rock, Paper, Scissors game. There is a subtle interplay in Faithfulls work between the aesthetic and poetic qualities of the power-driven landscape and the real social and economic issues, which create it. One could read this project in the broader context of Scotlands industrial heritage and the Enlightenment values which underscore it, exploring our contributions to engineering and industry and the cultural and material legacy it has created.

 In an alcove in the gallery space, Faithfull has painted a view of a coal mine, with wooden struts or pit props supporting the claustrophobic ceiling. Faithfulls intuitive style of painting has the formal qualities of Aboriginal art, a sinuous and rhythmic approach. The space offers an exciting den for younger visitors to explore and also stands as a graphic record of the enclosed and dangerous environment in which generations of East Lothian men and boys earned their living.


 Nearby there is adapted arcade fruit machine; Instead of cherries, watermelons and plums; the dials have been altered to comprise of the icons from the traditional playground game, depicting the piece of rock, the sheet of paper and the pair of scissors. The player in this instance does not gamble with his own money, but uses supplied out of circulation coins (old large 5ps). As well avoiding any gaming licensing this negates any payouts. With this interaction the viewer is asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses, the pros and cons between all the existing and proposed power sources of the past, present and future; indeed who can ever really win the Energy Game?                       

 The fruit machine in itself creates an interesting parallel between the environment of the public house, where leisure time and wages were often spent, and the energy industries that paid many of the workforce. Like the payouts from the one-armed bandit, the huge profits reaped by the large corporations are not transferred to the workers or the communities. As industries change, jobs vanish, the legacy of these are seen all over Scotland, in the fact that many ex-coalfields communities are now on the Scottish Index of Areas of Multiple Deprivation. This fruit machine, like any gambling machine, is based entirely on chance and chance like the goddess of fortune, is double-faced.

With each play combination on the fruit machine, the viewer/participant is invited to record their particular combination with 3 corresponding rubber stamps on a supplied postcard to take as a souvenir. This is accompanied by a corresponding interactive wallpaper piece on the wall behind, where the participant again stamps their individual combination. Over the duration of the exhibition, the wall will get blacker, denser and darker with all the ink impressions made. Indeed the ink used from the stamp will comprise of carbon-based ink, reflecting the greater global environmental carbon footprints that we all make. There is a smaller version of this game for younger visitors. 


This project is part of the Peter Potter Gallerys Monument Project, a years programme dedicated to the contemporary artists engagement with history, and it concludes three archaeology projects, four exhibitions and an extensive education programme. We receive 35,000 visitors per annum and we also have an unusually extensive education programme for an organisation our size, working directly with more than 2000 individuals per annum. We believe that engagement should be as important to contemporary arts organisations as the production of exhibitions. 

 To read more about the gallerys work find us on facebook: 


Saturday, 16 March 2013




 FEE: £1500 + materials budget

Application Deadline: Midnight, Friday 19 April

 Install dates: 5 – 9 Aug 2013 

Exhibition dates: 10 Aug – 31st Oct 2013

We call for a Wonder Room, in which the oddities and ecstatic wonders of the unknown world collide with the darkest, bloodiest grotesqueries and with monsters. We call for the intricate interplay of fiction, narrative and the adventurer’s tales with collected objects. We call for drama, resonance and the romance of possibility. The faded label, the sealed box, the glass cabinet, the pinned beetle. We call for your ideas. You are an artist, or an artist who curates; perhaps you have collaborators. You have the ability to make, perform, recall, subvert, unsettle, emote, explode, reimagine, evoke, horrify, terrify or inspire. We want you to make us an exhibition with the potential to inspire that most elusive and desirable response from visitors: WONDER.   

This exhibition will be the final one of four making up The Monument Project at PPG, a year dedicated to exploring the ways in which the contemporary artist can engage with history. A parallel theatre project is taking place and the successful artist(s) will be working in collaboration with award-winning young Glasgow theatre company Fish and Game, who will be producing a piece of i-pad theatre to connect with the exhibition. For this exciting project we are looking for proposals which surprise us and inspire us. We are open to unusual exhibition formats and new possibilities. The gallery space is 20 feet by 20 feet  approx, with a ceiling height of approximately 17.   


*      No questions please, just proposals*      

        To apply, send us the following by midnight on Friday 19 April 2013:

  • A curriculum vitae for each artist        
  •  5-10 images of previous work or a link to your website
  • A proposal. Your proposal must include a concise statement of ideas on a single A4 page but     other than that, feel free to surprise us. 
Email responses to:

Or submit by post to:
Kate Sloan
The Peter Potter Gallery
10 The Sands,
East Lothian
EH41 3EY




 FEE: £1500 + materials budget

 Application Deadline: Midnight, Sunday 28 April

 Install dates: 27 – 31 May 2013 

 Exhibition dates: 1 June – 3rd Aug 2013

During 1661 and 1662 Scotland experienced one of the largest witch hunts in its history - in the space of sixteen months no fewer than 660 people were publicly accused of various acts of sorcery and diabolism. The hunt began to the east of Edinburgh, where 206 individuals were named as witches between April and December 1661. The town of Haddington in particular – holds the dubious record of having executed the most witches in Europe. As part of The Monument Project, the Peter Potter Gallery is calling for an artist – or several artists – to propose work which explores this savage period of paranoia and persecution. 

The history of the witch hunt is full of physical references. The narratives around accused witches are full of plaited knots of hair, skin, urine, blood. The strange phenomenon of the professional ‘witch-pricker’ appeared across Europe, in which the accused witch was stripped and moles and scars pricked with needles. If the accused did not bleed, they were found to be guilty. In addition to the sheer physicality of the mythology around witchcraft, there is much evidence of both mental illness and serious crime amongst witches. Often crimes such as infanticide which disrupted the notion of the maternal instinct featured in cases of witchcraft.

Inventive proposals which engage with any aspect of this history are welcomed:


*No questions please, just proposals* 

To apply, send us the following by Midnight on Sunday 28 April 2013:

  •  A curriculum vitae for each artist
  • 5-10 images of previous work or a link to your website
  •  A proposal. Your proposal must include a concise statement of ideas on a single A4 page but other than that, feel free to surprise us. 
Email responses to:

Or submit by post to:

Kate Sloan
The Peter Potter Gallery
10 The Sands,
East Lothian
EH41 3EY