My Haven

ROGER LAW The Spit­ting Im­age creator turned pot­ter, 79, in the stu­dio of his con­verted Nor­folk barn

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1 MY TAL­ENTED FRIEND

This draw­ing re­minds me of my old friend, the il­lus­tra­tor Ju­lian Allen. He was cov­er­ing the 1967 Six-day War in the Mid­dle East for a magazine when he was badly in­jured in a crash.

While re­cu­per­at­ing, he did this draw­ing of a wounded Is­raeli sol­dier which he gave me as a present. Ju­lian died of nonHodgkin’s lym­phoma aged just 55. Ev­ery now and then I pick up the phone to call him, and then re­alise he’s not there.

2 S0 SIN­FUL…

I was in­tro­duced to ceram­ics by an artist called Jan­ice Tchalenko and I’m very fond of this vase of hers. Be­fore her, a lot of pot­tery was ghastly brown and she livened it up, in­tro­duc­ing rich colours with lots of blues and reds. In 1993 we did a pot­tery show to­gether called Seven Deadly Sins. It fea­tured, for ex­am­ple, fat an­i­mals stuff­ing them­selves. We didn’t have to do a lot of re­search be­cause I in par­tic­u­lar was fa­mil­iar with most of the sins!

3 MA­TE­RIAL MEM­O­RIES

My wife Deirdre is a quilt-maker and founder of the Quil­ters’ Guild. It’s nat­u­ral to go from quilts to tex­tiles, and she did lots of tex­tile land­scapes like this one of the Tanami Desert when we lived in Aus­tralia from 1997 to 2012. A lot of my pot­tery fea­tures that coun­try’s fauna and flora too, be it lizards or odd-look­ing birds. We came back be­cause we have eight beloved grand­chil­dren but I re­ally miss swim­ming ev­ery day, which I can’t do year-round here in Nor­folk.

4 DI-NAMIC DUO

Most of the pup­pets my part­ner Peter Fluck and I cre­ated for the orig­i­nal Spit­ting Im­age are in stor­age or have been sold off. But I’ve kept this Princess Di hand pup­pet, which was made for the pi­lot, for sen­ti­men­tal rea­sons. Nei­ther Peter nor I ever dreamt that Spit­ting Im­age would be­come such a phe­nom­e­non. It’s fun to have it back on again, and it cer­tainly takes your mind off be­ing locked down.

5 BRUSH WITH DES­TINY

On one of my first vis­its to China, where I used to have a stu­dio, I met a young artist, Li Jin, who did this brush draw­ing. His work re­flects mod­ern China, like this im­age of work­ing girls. It’s mildly satir­i­cal (at least for China), which is part of what at­tracts me to him. He’s be­come re­ally fa­mous and I couldn’t pos­si­bly af­ford him now.

6 FANCY A CUPPA MRS T?

Be­fore Spit­ting Im­age, Peter and I tried to make our for­tune with joke prod­ucts, like this ‘Mrs T pot’, royal eggcups and a Ron­ald Rea­gan cof­fee pot, but no­body wanted them. They have a rar­ity value now, though, and even pop up on An­tiques Road­show. The teapot can fetch £300, while the Michael Foot cof­fee mug can go for £800 – if you see one, grab it!

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