The Elwick Mill Dragon

My dad’s projects tended to be fairly bombastic, larger-than-life plans. He didn’t just plan to live to be 100- he , planned to live to be 115. big-pot

In 2010 he decided he wanted to get Shapinsay on the map and get in to ‘The Guinness Book Of World Records’ by making the world’s tallest pot. His giant pot would be 30 foot and made from Shapinsay clay. He’d have to take off part of the mill roof in order to fire the pot. He was very excited by his idea and started planning the project. He made 4 foot pots (you can see one in the pottery) and thought hard about it for over a year then considered the practicalities of the matter and realized that, actually, due to time, money, firing fuel and fire hazards his giant pot dream was not feasible. Then he came up with the idea of ‘The Elwick Mill Dragon’…

There are dragons everywhere at Elwick Mill: little glazed moss green dragons in front of the books on the bookcase in the caravan, tiny dragons in the workshop, little dragons lurking beneath the fuchsia bushes and down in the silo there is a plump, headless 3 foot dragon.

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These dragons were all testers for the 30 foot dragon-kiln that my dad wanted to build. My dad and his friend, fellow potter, Gordon Kitchen, spent many hours discussing the dragon. If my dad hadn’t died, that 30 foot dragon might have been cooking  pots in its belly and breathing fire tonight at dusk before the haar and the darkness crept in. It would have been a surreal and spectacular sight.




We’ve decided that whatever happens, even if we have to sell the mill, we’d like to create some form of my dad’s dream of the Elwick Mill dragon in the spring time. Gordon has been making dragons’ heads. They are beautiful, intricate things.


Here’s a short film in which Gordon talks about the Elwick Mill dragon.

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