Thursday, 4 February 2016

A caravan and a kitchen

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post, I was surprised that anybody is still out there reading this blog, I'd neglected it so badly.

This is our temporary workshop, an old, rather dilapidated caravan in the garden of our house. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, there's no snow at the moment thankfully. We're using this as a place to work while we await baby's arrival, so that we don't have to drive to our usual workshop, fifteen miles away. That said, we have to go there tomorrow to glaze a batch of pots and pack the electric kiln .

I've been making piggy banks for The New Craftsman Gallery in Mayfair. I don't enjoy making them really, but they sell very well and just at the moment we need to think about feeding an extra little mouth, so if they sell, I'll keep making them. I can't wait to get on to making some proper pots again.

Hannah has managed to keep making a little bit, but the baby is due in six days and now she's beginning to feel very tired. She has a big order that is to be sent to Japan in May, so she's trying to get as much of it done as possible before baby comes.

I have been rather distracted from potting by trying to get the house sorted out. This is a picture of the kitchen just before we bought the house. I've been rebuilding it over the past few days.

There's still a fair bit to do, I've been burning the midnight oil trying to get it done.

I'm revamping all the old cabinets and making new doors. The worktop is slate. A lick of paint to all the wooden paneling has made a huge difference and most importantly of all, shows the pots off a treat!

So, in the forthcoming days, week or two weeks, we two will become three. It's surreal and exciting. I can't wait to meet our new little son or daughter. I wonder who it is, what it looks like? I'll keep you posted

Monday, 25 January 2016

In case you're still wondering, we did it!

Well it's nearly nine months since last I blogged, some of you may wonder what happened.

I didn't blog about our magical wedding day. Life just took over. It was amazing beyond words, full of magic and bursting with love and happiness.

So all these months later, here are some pictures.

Hannah and her Dad, leaving by the front door, on the way to the church

And here are Hannah's Mum and Dad and sister and bridesmaid, Sarah. I'm so happy to be a part of this lovely family. It feels like they have always been my family.

My beautiful bride. She looked gorgeous. It brings tears to my eyes to see these pictures again.
The vows. We were married by our friend Bob. He recently retired as Canon of Westminster Abbey. The little Kirk in this remote Scottish village must have provided something of a contrast to the scale and bustle of Westminster Abbey.

This is straight after the service. We look so happy. We still are so happy.
These are the jugs that we made for the church, filled with flowers and greenery by our friends.

Hannah's necklace, made by our jeweler friend Natalie Vardey. These are seventeenth century slipware sherds, set in silver. Natalie also made our rings and completely restyled and rebuilt the dress that Hannah had bought from a charity shop in Edinburgh.

We didn't want a lavish wedding, we couldn't afford one, but we didn't want one anyway. We wanted a day surrounded by all of our most special friends. It was just how we'd dreamed it might be, but better. Our friends just made it quite amazing. They traveled from all over, even all the way from the States, it made us feel quite overwhelmed that people would travel so far to share our special day.

After the service we were piped through the village in the rain, from the church to the village hall for the reception. Our Cub Group formed our guard of honour. The rain didn't matter at all, in fact it gave me the opportunity to shelter my beautiful wife safely from the elements with a brolly, which in my opinion, adds atmosphere to the picture!

Everybody brought food, so we had the most wonderful banquet. Our friends Amanda, Helen and Elinor had decorated the hall, it took our breath away when we arrived.

This jug was made by Hannah and decorated by me. We sold it on ebay afterwards to help pay for a few special days away on honeymoon.

 It was a bittersweet day for my Mum. My poor Dad was too poorly to come, so although she was happy to see us wed, she missed him, as we all did.

This picture was taken a few days later in my Dad's care home. We took a few days honeymoon nearby so that we could visit him in our wedding clothes. As you can imagine, it turned a few heads in the care home and brought a lot of smiles from the residents. I'm so glad we got this photograph.

Sorry, this post jumps about a bit in chronology. Here we are at the front of the church having just signed the register.

Behind us are the Castle Douglas Feral Choir, who filled the church with the most beautiful music, all unaccompanied. They sang Hannah down the aisle with a specially composed piece written by the choir leader Ali Burns and they sang us back out again. Cookie, the singer from my old band The Love Daddies, recited a special poem, which had been one of our songs and our friend Hazel did a reading.

My boys were our witnesses which was really special. Here they are with their girlfriends at the reception.

This is my Best Man Frank, who did a sterling job. I don't get the chance to see so much of him as we're in Scotland a lot at the moment and he lives in Cornwall, so I miss him.

There are so many great pictures I could put on here, but it seems Blogger won't allow any more on this post. It's wonderful looking at them again.

The following video is our friend Gwen's band, The Misdemeanors performing at our reception. They put a poem that I wrote for Hannah(you can find it on an earlier post), to music and performed it as a lovely surprise.

It seems like such a long time ago now. So much has changed.

Since then we have bought a fantastic house.

And most exciting of all, in two weeks time(or possibly before/after), we are expecting this little wiggler to enter our lives.

I am the luckiest man in the World

Friday, 1 May 2015

It's Wedding time

Well it's nearly upon us! It seemed like our wedding day wasn't for ages and before we knew it, it's suddenly a day away
We've been working so hard, trying to get everything finished so that we can take a few days off. On top of an already heavy workload, we decided we would make all the champagne flutes.

We've decorated them simply, using our potter's stamps side by side on the front and a heart on the back. These are the stamps. The flutes will be a little keepsake for folks to take home if they'd like to.

The day before yesterday our first guests arrived all the way from America. Hollis and Kimberly who we met when we travelled to Cape Cod a few years ago to do a workshop demo. It was lovely to see them. We are so touched that folks would travel so far to share our special day.

Yesterday we finally finished making, although today we still had to go to work to tidy up and to get the last of the champagne flutes glazed and in the kiln. They'll be out of the kiln, hot on Saturday morning! This picture shows Hannah decorating the last pot I made as an unmarried man, it's also the last pot Hannah decorated as an unmarried woman. We'll keep that one.

This is the jug from my last post, all finished, with a little sidekick that I've made for Hannah.

We stood in the garden tonight and watched the sunset.

it was spectacular.

Away on the distant Galloway hills there is still snow. This place is beautiful.

This is my Best Man Andrew, better known to many as Frank. He arrived this afternoon with his family. It's lovely to see them here, if not a little surreal.

Tomorrow my Mum and brother and neice arrive and my boys with their girlfriends and lots of other friends and family. Sadly my dear Dad is too poorly to make the journey, so my sister has stayed home to see that he has everything that he needs. He'll be very much missed, but will be in my thoughts.

We have a rehearsal at 4pm in the church tomorrow evening, then a meal in the local pub, before Hannah and I say goodnight and she heads home with her Mum and Dad. The next time I will see her will be as she walks down the aisle, to become my wife. She will be beautiful, she is beautiful, I love her so much, my life is amazing with this woman in it, I'm the luckiest man in the world.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Love jug

Before Hannah and I got together we had been best friends for years.

We'd been to the States together to do demonstrations, made numerous pots together in each others workshops, fired wood kilns together, looked out for each other, looked after each other, talked to each other about slips and glazes and brown pots and Issac Button and medieval jugs in the V&A in wonderful phonecalls that would last for hours.

A couple of years ago, I came to Scotland to visit her. She had made a big jug which was sitting there still wet on the shelf. When I looked at it I could see the culmination of influences from the tradition that we celebrate, but more than that, I could see a synthesis of the two of us.

It's difficult to explain and I don't know if this will make sense, but upon seeing that pot, it struck me that we had grown together so much in our work because we had grown together so much in our lives.

We are obsessed and focussed potters, we live for our art, it is all of us. This jug was both of us, a shared perception. It seemed so clear to me that there was no way that we couldn't be together. So I told her!

I told her that one day this pot would be on the top table at our wedding.

She didn't believe me, (or was actually completely freaked out!) and sent me home to Devon.

I knew full well that we were in each others heads and hearts and that we had become a massive part of one another's conscience. We made our pots for each other, (it was like flirting with clay!). I knew I was in love with her and I also knew that she was with me.

We didn't speak for a few days - that hadn't happened in years, but the silence and the distance were so important - this was what life would be like without each other.

I sat in my workshop and thought about that pot and wrote a poem. I've never written a poem for anyone before and it's no great literary work, but I saw that jug as an analogy for us and it represented in my eyes, our at oneness.

I wrote it out in my best handrwriting and posted it to her.

We spoke on the phone, we laughed, we cried, I told her I loved her, then I asked her to marry me. A very shocked Hannah asked for some time to get her head around it.

I asked her to keep the jug for me and again promised that one day I would decorate it for our wedding.

Two weeks tomorrow we will be married. The jug, with its love poem will be on our top table and Hannah will be beside me as my wife. I love her completely. Great poetry it isn't, but it says it all.

Our wholeness, our consciousness
Proclaimed within a brown clay jug
Our Earth, our clay, our harmony
As  integral as marl and grog
Our slip, our glaze, our synthesis
Layered, shining bright and bold
Our kiln, our fire, our burning light
Our tale of Love set in stone..

Friday, 17 April 2015

Busy busy

Hello folks

With just a little over two weeks to go until our wedding, things are as busy as ever in the workshop. We've a lot to do if we're going to be able to take any time off and we're determined that we'll get a few days away on honeymoon, so we're putting in the hours at the moment.

Hannah has been remaking the orders that she lost during our glaze troubles. She's an extraordinary production thrower and has almost completed the making, now she has several miles of sliptrailing to do to finish these pieces.

We worked late last night. The racks are almost full.

I've been making more of these candle holders, larger than the last ones I made. I've also been scratching away at another sgrafitto jug for our wedding, but that's a pot with a story, so I'll save it for another post.

There are bisc fired pots piled everywhere.

We had hoped to fire the wood kiln next week, but we're postponing the firing until after the wedding.

It's glorious weather, so we'll be drying pots in the sunshine again today.

We're away to London on Saturday to visit Ceramic Art London.

Back later, happy Friday all

Friday, 10 April 2015

wedding jug number 2

 We're settling back in to work in our Scotland workshop. It's been glorious weather, hence the pots drying in the sunshine. These pots are the order that I've made three times, the last two batches failed due to a glaze flaw, which we think we may well have resolved, so we have our fingers crossed.
 Today I finished scratching this jug which will be used in the church for flowers on our wedding day.
 Hannah made the jug and I decorated it.
 There are only three weeks to go until our big day
All very exciting!