Thistle & Broom doesn’t heap superlatives lightly nor assign titles such as ‘goddess’ without thoughtful consideration. But the hard-headed determination of Alison Borthwick to create beauty in the face of adversity fostered by economic downturns and the insular retail establishment is mythical – at least as far as we’re concerned. We might never have discovered her extraordinary work were it not for search word optimisation efforts for Thistle & Broom around the phrase ‘Scottish pottery’. First, it’s SO FAR from simply ‘pottery’ that Alison creates as to be ridiculous as to associate this word with her work. It’s high temperature fired porcelain, the translucent stuff once called 'white gold' that inspired emperors from ancient China to Frederick the Great to financial ruin and which graces the tables of heads of state and can be found in the permanent collections of the greatest museums in the world.
Her commissions through high profile artists such as Turner Prize nominee Christine Borland (whose work is exhibited in the Tate Gallery Liverpool) has allowed Alison’s work to appear in such hallowed halls at the Hunerian Gallery Glasgow, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery New York and Limoges Craft Gallery. The most complicated installation to date was commissioned by Glasgow University and The Glasgow City Council to mark the 550th anniversary of the founding of the university and based upon elements taken from medieval medical knowledge and dissection table shaped pillows! She enjoys a retrospective of her work – whilst still being VERY MUCH alive. Her work has been sold by Takashimaya and now, at Thistle & Broom.
Yes, there are other places to purchase her beloved Poppies but exclusively for Thistle & Broom will be Alison’s Scottish Bluebells. A collaborative effort between two incredibly passionate women, Alison and yours truly, to bring the fleeting beauty found in the two week blooming period of Scotland’s beloved woodland faerie flowers to a porcelain tabletop collection. By her own words she’s ‘learned most of my skills on the job’ but the stretch this has provided her with has offered a level of creative satisfaction that most people will never enjoy. Isn’t that what all goddesses do?