Jonathan and Cherry’s Open House…

It was pouring with rain when we left Beckenham for Canterbury on Monday!

As we drew closer to the sea side the sun was coaxed into showing its face and we ended up having a brilliant day eating lunch, talking and drinking coffee, with our cousins, Jonathan and Cherry.  Artists, teachers, parents, friends and most of all family.

There are lots of wonderful things about Jonathan and Cherry’s house, the art, the pieces they’ve picked up from their travels, the fabrics, the smell of their open fire and the general welcoming warmth as we step across the thresh-hold and into their world.

And…my children will always remind me…the offer of a cup of tea.

It’s their garden, though, that charms me.  The addition of a conservatory years ago brought its English tangle closer indoors to be enjoyed in all weathers.

They have a gardener who was working away with secaturs as we traipsed passed her en-route to inspect the kiln.  Cherry explained that she comes once in a while and has been instructed to keep it pruned and looking tidy,

“Only not too tidy!”

They don’t want to lose the charm of their carefree garden to the precision of a weekly manicure.

It is full of surprises.  I grabbed a cox’s orange pippin from one of the trees and noticed a grapevine tucked in a rustic corner at the far end as we made our way to the workshop where Cherry houses her kiln.


It gets up to more than 1000 degrees farenheit and you can see the flame issuing from the peep hole in the front that Jonathan removed to take a peek inside!


Jonathan and Cherry are soon to be hosting an open house as part of the Canterbury Festival Artist Open Houses.  For three consecutive weekends they will display their work at:  15, South Canterbury Road.

Cherry’s pots,


Jonathan’s paintings & prints and their daughter’s delightful knitted creations.

Cherry’s pots are practical, oven proof I’m told, as well as being beautiful and unique.


My visit had an ulterior motive, I wanted to take some of her work home to Texas with me.  Because we are limited by weight when flying I chose carefully and finally settled on some beakers whose shape and colours appealed to me.


They were light and economic in size.

“What do you use them for Cherry?” Cherry’s kitchen cupboards are well stocked with her creations.

“Mulled Wine,”  she said!

See what I mean by the welcoming warmth emanating from their hearth as we step across the thresh-hold into their world?

I was sold!

“And they don’t have handles to break off!”  she added!

This is true, I have two of her milk jugs that have lost their handles over the years!

We sat and caught up as best we could with months’ worth of news and only hours to tell.

Cherry etched her hallmark designs into her pots.  Up to now I have given no thought as to how her ‘archetypal zig zags and scrolled and curved patterns’ ended up on their surfaces.


Now I am much wiser and have a whole new appreciation for the older pots I have at home bearing her distinctive patterns.

There are 30 or so houses included in the Open House Event which runs each weekend from October 19th-November 3rd.  When I asked how she prepared after making, displaying and pricing her work she told me,

“We light a fire, bake a cake and open the door!”

That just about sums them up!

“Some people,” she admits, “only come to look inside the house.”

And who would blame them?

Visit for yourselves and experience the smell of their open fire and the general welcoming warmth stepping across the thresh-hold into Jonathan and Cherry’s world.



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