pink pasque roses

Springing Open in April

pink pasque roses

Pasque roses in Spring

Everything is blooming in this part of the world, the sap is rising, winter’s greys are turning into varied shades of green, and cherry and apple blossom are everywhere. April is a month when things turn for the better, it even gets its name from the Latin word “to open”, describing flowers opening at springtime, though Aphrodite the goddess may also be another root for the word. Did you know that April used to be the second month of the year until January and February were invented by the Romans? No, nor did we.

statue of Aphrodite


Nor did we know that “April” was the 250th most common name for a baby girl in the UK, or that in the UK it is National Pet Month, or that in the US it is National Pecan Month. And our meticulous research has unearthed the following:

pecan nuts


Zebra crossings were introduced in Britain on 4 April 1949, when James Callaghan, then parliamentary secretary to the ministry of transport in the British government, came up with ‘zebra’ as a name for the crossing which it was thought would be easily understood and remembered, particularly by vulnerable groups such as children.

imaghe of Yuri Gagarin


Russian cosmonaut day is April 12, commemorating the astronaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man in space on April 12, 1961 aboard Vostok 1. He spent 108 minutes in space.

eggs benedictine

eggs benedict

And when, we hear you ask, is National Eggs Benedict Day? Why, it is on April 16th, a day to enjoy eggs with hollandaise sauce, crispy bacon and English muffins. Apparently, a lot of people have never had Eggs Benedict, but we reckon belatrovians are sophisticated and most likely to have enjoyed Eggs Benedict a number of times, and perhaps, on a regular basis. See how many of your friends can tell you how its made, or what’s in it. Or, ask them what hollandaise sauce is.
Celebrate by eating Eggs Benedict – click here to see how to make them (first get a hen).

ceramic planter with elongated corners

belatrova corner planter

All of this is just a preamble to let you know that we are holding our annual Spring Open Weekend on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April (10 – 5pm) at the Bankside Studios. You are most welcome to drop in and browse, and even though Eggs Benedict will not be on the menu, we will offer you tea, coffee and cake.

ceramic dish with goat head by Picasso

c’est ne pas un chevre

You would be hard pressed to find a spot anywhere that both makes and sells the variety of goods you can find at the Bankside Studios in Ledbury. You can step into the studio to see Fleen Doran, fresh from her successful show at the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate, making her salt glaze pots at the wheel, while Wendy Houghton works away at her delicate ceramic sculptures. This is the same workshop where belatrova produce ceramic planters, fruit bowls, mirrors and birdbaths next to the joinery section where Stuart Houghton busily shapes and cuts wood to perfection – at the moment he is whittling a small goat out of myrtle. Upstairs Dan Barker has his photography studio, shared with the textile designer Sunny Todd, and across the road can be found artist blacksmith Dave Preston hammering iron on his anvil – in fine contrast to Bob Evans who can be found in his studio opposite printing images of striking quality on very new and sophisticated printers.

handmade ceramic flower pot with handles

striped splash pot by belatrova

The studios are situated just behind Alfa-Tech on Little Marcle Rd, which is accessed via either Lower Rd or New St. Please follow the signs. There is limited parking on-site (and wheelchair access) and there is additional on-street parking.

large mirror with wide painted frame

large wall mirror with blue frame

The address is: Bankside Industrial Estate, Little Marcle Rd, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2DR. And do please visit the Ledbury Cooperative’s website:

poster of Spring Open weekend

For those of you who live in or close enough to London we would encourage you to visit the Cecilia Colman Gallery in St John’s Wood. It is right on the High Street and easily reached by underground. Glass is a speciality but among the many excellent pieces on show, ceramics, paintings and jewelry also have pride of place. The gallery is showing some belatrova pieces, including three legged bowls, wave fruit bowls and a large wall mirror.

Cecilia Colman Gallery

Cecilia Colman Gallery