Continental Brexit, 2018

Continental Brexit, 2018
Private Collection
30h x 27w cm


Handbuilt pot, decorated in coloured slips both inside and out. Fired, smashed, and rebuilt with gaps so the internal imagery is visible. Clear glazed, with bright pink aluminium leaf edging the gaps to frame the internal imagery.

How it began

Every so often, one of my pots, often one that I thought of as being impossibly niche and particular to its time, is revitalised by a change of context. I now know that some of my pots are are going to do that repeatedly, but this one I didn't expect.

The change of circumstance is the return of Donald Tusk to front line Polish politics having left the EU. He is now the Prime Minister, for the third time, I believe.

I first came across Mr Tusk, not personally, you understand, but by name, by listening to radio news. He was always being mentioned in connection to the EU. I made the pot in response to the talk and the journalism that emerged after the Brexit vote, (UK, 2016,) during the interminable negotiations that followed, continuing well into 2020. Mr Tusk was always prominent. The most  striking thing about the way the Brexit process was discussed, though, was the endless use of confectionary as a metaphor.

The pot is pear shaped, broken at the bottom, and pieced back together. 'The bottom's falling out of the market,' 'it's all gone a bit pear-shaped.' Well someone had to do it. The rest of the metaphors are in the nonsense verse, based on the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, written on to the pot. If you were listening to the news or reading it, you might remember some of them. There was an awful lot of Crumble and Crunchtime, cherries on the cake appeared a few times and, of course, the inevitalbe fudge.


pear shaped pot with a hole in the side
pear shaped pottery vase with curved base

Continental Brexit, a rhyme in three verses

'Junker Hansel and Gretel May
Got lost in the Euro Woods one day
To a Gingerbread House they were taken, to play
With Local Woodsman, Barnier

Don Tuskio, who dwelt within
Called, 'Brexit's' Ready! Come on in!'
There was Crumble and Crunchtime, Humbugs and Pies
And a Cake with Cherries, Such a Surprise!

'That Fudge near the oven,'
Thought Gretel, May burn,
But she needn't have worried,
It was done to a turn.'

Continental Brexit features 'Junker Hansel' and 'Greta May,' (above,) and the estimable Don Tuskio, (below.) Don Tuskio is inside the pot, preparing a feast of confectionary.The Gingerbread House is to the left.

Cartoon figure of a man with tusks

It's impossible to know, at this stage, what effect the return of a Liberal democratic party in Poland will have and if they will return abortion rights to women. Now the UK has left the EU, it's hard to see how we would be affected but it is good news for Poland, I believe, and I welcome it.