Welcome to our new website



We are the same pottery….hands-on….informal….workaholic….but with a re-vamped website, whose highlight is a batch of short films made by our delightful young friends, Carly & Martin. There is a film in textiles, one in courses, an introductory film about us and six more in pottery.

JOHN RIVERS is the potter, who has built his own gas kiln and digs his own clay locally.

PAT SMITH is the gentle presiding presence and occasional chef, who now pursues her passion of crafting with textiles.

We invite you to browse the films, leaf through all our pages, and visit us in person where  you can chat, watch, learn, maybe have-a-go, make up a formal party for an official ‘visit’, buy something unique, commission something.  Or come on a course….

See below for all our ongoing news.



New Work – June 2016

Recently I entered an ‘Open-All-Artforms’ competition for a work on “Shadows”.

It provoked a deep response and four pieces I submitted are now in “Artistic Gallery” in the website – 4 17″ dia. discs on: ‘The Wonder of our Earth‘, it’s partial version as ‘Earthrise‘ (the spacemen’s term), ‘Total Eclipse‘ and ‘White Noise‘.    Do look.

I invited four friends to write a poem on shadows to be entered with my pieces should I get through the judging.  Three have never published anything…but all the poems – taking different angles entirely were astonishing.  Contact me if you are interested in poetry.  Competition results next month !


The Great Pottery Throw Down

The “Great Throw Down” series on T.V. has awakened interest in pot-making (tho’ it was hardly a full, or accurate picture of the ancient craft !).  I’ve put 3 dates down when I can fit courses in, and may manage others later.  They’ll be first-come (i.e. deposit paid), first served.  (see ‘Courses’ page for details.)  Please contact us by phone or email rather than replying on the Courses page.  Ring 01773 603181 or email riddingspottery@hotmail.com.


Last year’s STOP PRESS was John’s “ONE MAN SHOW” on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – called POEMS and POTS”.  He booked a terrific central venue and offered 6 2-hour sessions for all-comers to probe and discover a menu of poems – some about pots and potmaking; and to browse his own recent pots in an exhibition there and hear the stories behind the finished pieces.

Great idea…great energy went into planning, selecting, preparing poem-texts by the dozen, making pots; not enough energy into publicity! Not enough participants to get it to crackle into life.

But a memory…and I ‘had-a-go’.


Sometimes it all gets too much:  a mischievous nearby exhibitor snapped “Mr Sleepy, minding his Edinburgh stall” !










POTFEST at Scone Palace, Perth June 6th – 8th, 10 a.m – 4.30 p.m. daily.  70+ potters, 5 maquees, in the majestic palace grounds.  John will – as always – be there with a new, exciting range of work, featuring the elusive “reduced” copper red glaze more prominently than ever before.

See www.potfest.co.uk , and postcode PH2 6BD.

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL (2D/3D Craft and Design Fair).  John will be at his usual ‘pitch’ in this “WEST END” Fair, Monday 11th August – Sunday 24th August (11 – 6p.m. daily, incl. Sundays).  A terrific range of crafts, styles, materials…After 30 years he is – sort of – “the Father of the House”.

JUNE 14th 2014. An all day Poetry event in Derby.  4 x 2 hour sessions spanning        9.45 -3 p.m.

AM : 2 brilliant students from John’s “Poems for Pleasure” group – Lorna Dexter – “Reading Poems Aloud” and Noam Livne – (translations of) Hebrew/Jewish poems and songs.

PM: Helen Mort (Derbyshire Poet Laureate) a workshop for people writing their own poems.  John on Seamus Heaney : some of his poems, and their resonances for John and his pots.

Booking/further details: Derby office@wea.org.uk – tel 01332 291805



A senior GP had a brainwave this spring, and commissioned a customised mug for every member of the practice including trainees, and some for visitors, 47 in all.  It was “The Acorn Practice”….and a pleasure to make for such a generous man, but daunting to hope to satisfy everyone.  Here they are – biscuited and then glazed.











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An Appreciator !

“What a wonderful film this latest one is.

Sitting here, some 3,000 miles away, I am now transported back to Riddings, and to this unique pottery. The temperature of the kiln room, the smell of the drying clay, all sensed anew! Great to see and hear again.

Anyone who as ever wanted to learn about pottery and have a go at making something should visit John and Pat. They have created a perfect environment to nurture your innate creativity. This is an ancient knowledge, passed on by a master craftsman and teacher, and a rare opportunity to spend time well.”

Kevin Alanson

It’s a mystery?

October 25th 2012

I have just stumbled on this strange montage of photos from 2006. I’ve no idea who took it, or more importantly who contrived the montage.  There appears to be a floral clock (Edinburgh ??) in the central strip.

Anyway, it shows a range of pots in our Gallery – THEN.


It’s a mystery ?