belatrova bash

image of guests at party

Though we do not have the photographic evidence, jiving and dancing took place at belatrova’s h.Art party on Saturday 6th. This is a first for the workshop; seeing his working

sax player

laid back cat

colleagues eating, drinking and overnight sleeping are what he is more used to, but Thelonius the Pugmill had never witnessed a spontaneous ballet of belatrovians using the storage and drying area as a dance floor.

three guests at party

The jazz was infectious and beautifully played by the Rushton Rhythm Quartet who gave us 20th Century standards with a modern twist, and not a little feeling. Their playing was tight and sublime, with some spectacular sax crescendos.

guests at party

The food was magnificent, and belatrova would like to thank Wendy and Lu for all their work in preparing it, Viv and Eily for their help too, and Margo for helping set up and for running the bar. Lu, again, for her cocktail waitressing.

four guests


The workshop at No 9 is now open everyday till Sunday 14th, from 10 to 5, as part of Herefordshire Art Week. Just follow the red h.Art signs and you will get to us (Venue 29). There are over a hundred other venues to visit throughout the week, and brochures are available to download here.

guest looking at birdbath

birdbath ponder

Feel free to drop in. We have tidied up and it is now spotless – you would never believe one hundred and five belatrovians had a party here. You could also enter the competition and win a ceramic bowl, or just come for a chat and a look-around. See you.

ceramic platter by belatrova

large jazzy platter





three guests






ceramic display at belatrova

flying off the wall



infant at potters wheel

belatrovian baby potter












ceramic display by belatrova

brushstroke blues display













Whistle while you work

Being a naturally harmonious workplace, belatrova’s workshop is a temple of productivity and foot-tapping enjoyment. Yes, music wafts through our workspace every day, and is shared by all – no headphones or earplugs to be seen. We know that those who listen to music complete their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who don’t, because, as we all know, music improves our mood.

image of dopamine


We went online to see what explanations there may be and found out that in biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine systems, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine in the brain: music, chocolate, sunshine, massages, coffee.

When glazing is the priority and we want our dopamines stroked in the best manner, the BrushstrokeBlues range benefits from the cool tonal subtlety of Miles Davis trumpet. The best-selling Jazz album of all time is Kind of Blue“, and it is played at No9 Bankside at least once a week; it slows down the pulse rate and the brushstrokes flow.

brushstroke blues range

brushstroke blues

ceramics in manhattan range

manhattan range

The Manhattan range belongs to the pugmill’s namesake Thelonius Monk, whose improvisations are full of dissonances and melodic surprises, and strange but wonderful gaps or hesitations. Try listening to “Round Midnight” or “Ruby, my dear” if you haven’t already.

And the Allegro range goes so well with the sensual playing Stan Getz’s saxophone and Astrud Gilberto‘s bossa nova voice (you know, “Girl from Ipanema“, “Fly me to the Moon“, “Corcovado“).

allegro range of ceramics


Which leaves us with the Valencia series. Warm, full of light…it’s samba and rumba – Peregoyo y su Combo Vacana floats our boat, but any Latin American dance music seems right.

valencia range


So far there is general consensus with the music played, and others that get a look-in are Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Steely Dan, David Bowie, John Surman, Oscar Peterson, with only some ructions reserved for the occasional playing of Tom Waites (“Rain Dogs”).

miles davis portrait

miles davis

jazz pianist thelonius monk

thelonius monk

bossa nova singer astrud gilberto

astrud gilberto

colombian singer peregoyo


We even have fabulous supporters and clients of belatrova who give us recordings they have made; one fine person even left us five CDs of Miles Davis late recordings. If he is reading this we would like to say “thanks” and tell him that “Aura” is growing on us.

By the way, even if you are a small business, if music is ever played on your premises for customers or staff, through radio, TV, CD, MP3 this is considered a “public performance”. A music licence grants you permission to do this, and the fees generated ensure that songwriters, composers and music publishers are paid when their music is used.

silhouette of dancers

belatrova unwinding (Friday evenings)

Goodbye for now.