There’s Something New opening in Oxford this weekend. I’d (almost) brave the return journey just to be there. My friend Katie Coston and her husband Micah are opening Illyria Pottery in Jericho. Oxford, as I’ve said before, is an intriguing mix of the new and the old–this little find is the greatest among the new. Oxford needed pottery: it won’t any longer.
Illyria, a mix of display and studio, is just right for Oxford. Katie’s shop design is in harmony with Oxford’s history and character, maintaining rustic elements like the wide wooden planks in the floor and the display fittings crafted from reclaimed wood and even tree branches. When last I saw it the shop wasn’t yet complete but already the impact of the space as I walked in the newly-painted door was incredible. It is beautiful, balanced, and inspiring. Below the shop is Katie’s studio and kiln, a space that will hold the hand-building classes and pottery wheel tutorials offered by Illyria.
What I love about Katie’s art is that her pieces have solid structural integrity and classic forms but are fanciful at the same time. It is art that is functional, domestic, accessible–and beautiful.
I love Katie’s plan to offer mom-and-child courses along with her other Michaelmas term classes. She and Micah served us a lovely soup supper amongst the pots (indeed, out of them!) at a nearly-finished-Illyria just before we left Oxford and she invited the girls to have at it in the studio. They loved it. She also made a pot for them to see on the wheel and let me have a try, too. (I instantly made a new alternate life, featuring me as a potter . . . )
Katie is a natural teacher with an infectious enthusiasm for her art. She seems to have an instinct about what is right for each person and lets neither her skill nor her education in pottery intimidate newcomers. We just wish she had come to Oxford sooner!
Live in Oxford and ready for an amazing family outing? Go to Illyria Pottery’s Grand Opening!
Illyria is at 104 WALTON STREET in Oxford, right in the heart of Jericho. The Grand Opening is Friday, September 13 from 6-10 p.m. and Saturday, September 14 from 11-4 p.m.