Ashwood Garden 3/7
Designer: Nicola Slaney
Limited Edition: 100
No Moorcroft retailer anywhere in the world today has done more for Moorcroft and its fine art pottery than Ashwood Nurseries and the now legendary nurseryman and gardener, John Massey MBE. After the very briefest discussions, everyone at Moorcroft decided that John and his Ashwood team would be mentioned both in the 2011 Circles of Life Collection and its successor, The Second Chance Collection. The reason is simple. Ashwood has given back to the art of Moorcroft as much, if not more, than they have received. Certainly their homemade, home-baked and diabetic-friendly cafeteria, makes it a friendly destination. On tope of that there is Ashwood Nursery itself, with its magnificent hellebores, cyclamen, and hepaticas. It would also be unwise to forget John Massey’s large, private garden to be seen and enjoyed. This is not an advertisement for the Nursery’s unique giftshop, glass-houses or collection of Moorcroft. It is simply a statement of fact. Moorcroft designers love it and their trips to Ashwood Nurseries with cameras are, shall we say, not infrequent.
If Emma Bossons is queen of the hepaticas, Nicola Slaney has probably earned the title of queen of the hellebores. She knows instinctively how to make any hellebore on a vase portray itself in a state of continual movement. In this way, the designer makes the varied colours and lines sway and mingle together in total harmony. Ashwood Garden lifts the beautiful hellebore centre stage, superbly displayed and there to be enjoyed. I have no hesitation in saying that Nicola Slaney’s hellebores in Ashwood Garden are as fine as anything ever produced by Moorcroft, and this leads me to my main point. As an art pottery, we do not depend on our retailers worldwide, but rather we rely on them. Most respond to that reliance, and in so doing, we embrace that global circle of prestige retailers from Second Chance Collectables in Orange, or Drakesbrook Antiques in Waroona, Australia to David Shuttle in Beaconsfield. All of these great retailers have one thing in common. They aim to provide interest and pleasure for their customers as well as take sales from them just as John Massey does at Ashwood Nurseries.