The History of Earth & Fire Ceramic Fair…

The first Earth & Fire took place at Rufford Abbey in North Nottinghamshire on the last weekend of June in 1994 with just a handful of potters who had attended ceramic fairs in Europe and wanted to be part of a home-grown event. Over the years the event changed, expanded and in 2017 moved site on the Welbeck Estate, but the aim always remained the same – to present and celebrate the very best studio pottery.

Every year we welcomed over 120 potters from across the UK and mainland Europe to Nottinghamshire to meet customers and sell their work. Earth & Fire was an open air market event (unusual for the UK|!) with exhibitors selling from traditional market stalls, which appear in a market squares across the country and they gave Earth & Fire its’ special atmosphere – akin to the European model of potters’ markets. In addition to individual potters stalls there were also a number of trade stands selling tools and equipment and starter stalls showing the work of the next generation of potters. To complement the market there was also a programme of demonstrations throughout the three days. With the support of hundreds of potters and thousands of visitors Earth & Fire sat at the heart of the ceramic calendar.

The last Earth & Fire Ceramic Fair took place in 2019 and so much has happened since then it almost feels like a different life. In 2019 no one had heard of COVID-19 and the idea of the whole world being told to stay at home would have been the stuff of sci-fi novels and a far cry from everyday life. Much has changed and some things will never ‘return to normal’. In addition to COVID-19, the UK suffered (and continues to suffer) the fallout from Brexit ,our international potter friends, such an important part of Earth & Fire, found the red tape and additional costs of showing in the UK a barrier too far. The prospect of trying to return to what we were doing in 2019 didn’t feel right and we took the sad decision to close. After 27 years it felt like an apposite time to stop.