KFL and NCPA: Are they perhaps related? We should be told!

(Apologies to anyone looking for news of my pottery; I’ll write that later). The Kids for Life scam goes on relentlessly, and now a couple of correspondents have drawn attention to the possible link between this and an almost identical scam run by the bogus National Crime Prevention Agency. Craig (see comments) came across a reference to KFL in the NCPA “magazine”, while another has found a Southport connection between both organisations. All this sleuthing should meet with the approval of NCPA (“Putting Crime out of Business”) in whose logo the letter C is a magnifying glass with a big fingerprint in the middle. Is this theft from Cluedo? Has anyone told John Waddington? Has anyone informed the National Crime Prevention Agency? It’s worth having a look at the scam forums relating to NCPA. While at it visit www.bookkeepers.org.uk/Forum/?type=&cid=0&tid=88210&lp…1… Your visit to the sites should ensure they stay on page 1 of the search engine. One correspondent who had wisely stopped answering the numerous calls for payment to KFL/Inpress Media from different numbers decided to trace them. The most recent was from a law firm with a “school of Inpress Media” type logo incorporating the Scales of Justice. I’ll not name the firm (two initials), but if they do contact you search the name of their lead (only?) solicitor and you’ll find him associated with a very dodgy customer indeed back in 2014/15. So don’t give way. Incidentally, in an early reply on my site I referred to a “bona-fide” Australian Kids for Life. That site, which had a very similar “heart” logo to our friends in the North West, and where photographs seemed to suggest celebrity backing, has disappeared. Maybe it wasn’t the real deal either. Is it the same as the “closed down” site in China referred to by Shaun in the comments below? Here are recommendations from the 50+ comments below for who to complain to: Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 The Charities Commission (involves a form) Trading Standards The Police (especially if debt collectors are involved) cluedo   NCPA logo  

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New Kiln (and a bit more on “Kids for Life”)

It’s about time I put something on this page. As any potter knows, there is not always a great deal to report, so here are some pictures of the catenary kiln. It is a very satisfying form to make. Just hang a length of chain from two nails in a piece of Stirling board, placed apart the intended internal base measurement of your kiln (usually a multiple of 9 inches, the standard size of a brick). Adjust the chain until the arch formed is to the desired internal height, typically about the same as the base width. Use a can of spray paint (or a hand spray) to record the curve. Cut it out with a jigsaw. Make a copy. Join the two arches with battens and wrap the whole lot in dampened hardboard sheets. That’s your arch former (“centring”). The next bit is more tricky: most of the bricks are standard “straights”, and a bit of mortar is all that’s needed to add the slight curve of the “sides”, but you will need wedge shaped bricks at the base of the curve and especially at the top. Soft bricks can be cut by hand (you’ll get through a lot of blades), but you can buy them in standard sizes. I made paper cut out versions to test the idea full-scale first, then ordered from a supplier (for pizza/barbecue ovens). I still had to do some cutting for the very top.

 

The result is the neatest of the three catenary kilns I’ve built (so far; they tend to warp a bit after a dozen firings). I have braced it with steel, for although the catenary curve should be in perfect equilibrium, the flat end walls, not being keyed into the structure, tend to bulge out during firing.

Kiln 1 Kiln 2

 

That’s enough of that (though, by the way, the architect, Gaudi, designed a whole church upside down by hanging chains). Results so far (five firings) have been encouraging.

 

The next bit will be (even more?) boring unless you have already been approached by Kids for Life to take out advertising in a magazine intended to “raise awareness of cancer in children”. Two previous news posts dealt with this and have attracted around three dozen “comments” from businesses who have felt themselves duped of a sum in the region of £150-£400 for an advertisement that received no circulation. Last week I received a letter from the chairman of Kids for Life requesting that I remove these comments as they are generating negative publicity for his cause. Kids for Life, he points out, has made donations to appropriate charities. However this is not exactly what the complainants were paying for, however generously disposed they feel towards sick children and their families. I have suggested that only when he has demonstrated to all the correspondents on my page that their advertisement was distributed across their region, as promised, and that his donations to charities are proportionate to the income he has generated from businesses such as theirs, will it be appropriate to close the correspondence.

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Fun and Games in Notts (With a note on “Kids for Life”)

I attended Earth and Fire at Rufford Abbey at the weekend. This was my first large festival as a solo stall holder for thirty-three years.

There have been changes in the intervening period. Earthenware and porcelain potters who use colour have been provided with a much broader palette of reliable colours than back then and have the expertise to use them to joyous effect. There is also a “monochrome school” whose cleanly crafted work in whites, greys and blacks fits into a contemporary minimalist context. Sculptural ceramics of all types is in robust good health. At the stoneware end of things, wood-firing and salt glaze which were still at the cutting edge when I became semi-dormant in 1983 are tame stuff compared with the long firings in “anagama” beasts of kilns by younger potters. The “useful pots at affordable prices” school is largely, with notable exceptions, in the hands of continental potters, particularly Dutch and German. Their stalls, stacked high with honest pots for cooking, eating and drinking, continue a market tradition going back to the middle ages and before. There was much to enjoy and much to think about.

It was fun meeting other potters. Ceramics/pottery is wonderfully free of the “irony” (and cynicism?) that has been a key element in fine art for several decades. I was even stupid enough to volunteer for the “Potters’ Games”, winning a losers’ medal in the relay and a winners’ in the “Pairs Throwing Challenge” in which Scottish-based potter, John Christie, and I (Welsh-based) made a bowl (one hand each) which we felt to be a “most vigorous contemporary expression of the English countryside” (Bernard Leach). Long live the Union!

Pairs Challenge    My stall Rufford, day 1

Centring the bowl with John Christie                      My Stall

The Kids for Life scam does not seem to be over yet. Long after the Charity Commission told me it was investigating complaints about the “charity” and its printer/fund gatherer Inpress Media, I have heard from other potters and an architect who have been targets of the scam. My advice is refuse to do anything over the telephone; ask for a proper letter. I bet you’ll hear nothing more. If, as happened to one potter, they print your “advertisement” without your agreement and then demand payment, stand firm. They, Andrew Peter Ager and David Parker, are bullies, but will back down, either blaming the other for a “misunderstanding”. What they almost certainly won’t do, unless you are prepared to involve a solicitor, is refund money once it’s been paid.

Always report any approach from these guys to the Charity Commission. There is, by the way, a bona fide Kids for Life in Australia, but they are unlikely to contact British artists!

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