Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas everybody

Well it's nearly here, I hope you're all being good.

I went to the workshop briefly today, where there were parcels waiting for me, how exciting! A package from the States from Becky, that contained two of her lovely little birds. Thank you so much Beck, how special.

and one from Hannah, inside, this beautiful snowflake, now hanging on my tree. Thank you H.

There was a little pot from my apprentice Jess and another parcel, yet to be opened, but containing something ceramic, from and made by my friend Matt's mother. I'm a lucky man, thank you all.

Thank you too to everybody who have sent me cards.

As I write this, the boys are wrapping their Mum's presents. They're full of excitement which is lovely to see as they're getting to be big lads now. Joe's quite a chef, so we're going to make some spicy pumpkin soup in a minute, for tomorrow's starter.

We'll be having a quiet day, maybe meet a few friends for a drink before lunch in the pub and maybe a walk through the lanes in the afternoon to burn off some of the Christmas pud.

Kipper and Spratt have been getting into the spirit of things and are hoping for a little something containing catnip or perhaps a sardine - I think they may just be lucky.

A big thank you to everybody who has helped me get through this year, folks who have bought my pots and those who have supported me through this blog. It's been wonderful meeting so many people all over the world through this virtual network, learning about your work and getting a window on your lives.

I'll sign out by wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, I hope Santa's kind to you and brings you everything you could desire.

Peace and love

Happy Christmas!!!

Friday, 19 December 2008


Been trying to get back into it today. This puzzle jug took ages. I enjoy making them, but with so much stuff stuck on the outside I start to go a bit mad. Two more under wraps that'll need finishing next week. I wish I'd got everything finished so that I could stop, but I'll need to go in for at least one day next week.

Hil and the boys finished school today. Luke performed with his band for his year group. Joe had to watch Mamma Mia, which it transpires is not what a thirteen year old boy wants to be doing with his time.

One good thing about living with a teacher is that every Christmas there are lots of goodies around. Hil brought a big box home full of chocolates and bottles of wine. Lots of smelly things too for the bath tub.

In a week's time it'll be all over - we haven't even got a tree up yet. Tomorrow we're going to go and face the crowds in Exeter to do some crazy Christmas shopping, then we'll try and get this place looking a bit more festive.

My little boys are suddenly young men, Father Christmas' true identity has long been exposed and they don't long for toys any more like they used to. They do still get excited though and I'm sure they'll still be hanging their stockings up, full of expectation bless 'em.

Happy weekend all

Tits like coconuts

........and so do nuthatches


Hello all and welcome to anybody who has come to visit my blog via Gary Rith's Pottery blog in New York.

If you're not familiar with Gary's blog, I recommend you check it out - it'll put a smile on your face, it does that for me daily - he's a man who knows how to have fun.

I've been feeling pretty poorly this week, hence my absence - a really nasty migraine's really taken it out of me. I still feel rough now, although I did get to the workshop for a few hours this afternoon. The firing I had planned for mid Jan is looking unlikely, so I'll postpone it for a couple of weeks I think - I'd rather do that than rush things.

Here are a couple of pots I'm working on at the moment............

and a picture of my friend Different Dave. We're going to do some work together next year, he's a painter and has been collecting the various coloured clays to use as pigments - tasty.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A weekend in Cornwall

Just got home after a lovely weekend visiting my old school mate 'Frank' - he's not really called Frank, that's his nick name from school days, I have no idea why. He's actually called Andrew Grundon and he's a very talented signwriter. He paints the signs for St Austell Brewery. This is him in Saturday's Western Morning News.

And here is their slide show of his remarkable work

He lives right in the heart of some beautiful Cornish countryside - china clay country. This is what you'll find just below the surface of the soil not far from his house.

These big chimneys are part of some huge drying sheds, now derelict, that were used for drying out the china clay after it was mined from the hillside.

His house is one of a remote terrace of old clay workers' cottages, at a place called Claylands, a few hundred yards from Michael Cardew's Wenford Bridge Pottery. The pottery is now no longer operating and has become a private residence, however I know the guy who owns it so got in there this weekend.

I went there once nine years ago and Seth Cardew gave my boys a lump of clay to play with. Ever since, Joe has questioned whether his milk jug ever got fired.

Would you believe it, there it was, along with a load of bisc fired pots from the last ever firing, sitting on the shelf.

Fancy that, he's thirteen now, he was four when he made it. He was really chuffed to get his pot after all these years.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Cheers my dears

Just been helping my mate Cookie deliver one of his amazing tables to a lucky customer. It was beauty. Obviously this isn't it, he has some extraordinary and wonderful things in his workshop, this throne being one of them.

Off to Cornwall now, have a great weekend everybody.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Pots from the last firing

I picked up these pictures tonight from my friend Johnny. They're all pots from my last firing.

Cheers Tim

I had a visit today from Tim from Croyden, the chap who gave me the cemetery clay to try. He very kindly gave me this beautiful William Fishley Holland bowl and some really useful kiln shelves - you can never have too many of those. The bowl's a beauty and has given me some good ideas for when I start making bowls and platters next week, thank you Tim.

You can find out more about Fishley Holland in this excellent book by John Edgeler. John's responsible for some magnificent publications which make great Christmas presents. You can find out more about

This is one of a series of puzzle jugs that I'm working on at the moment. They take ages because of all the parts, but I enjoy the challenge of making them. They'll stay under wraps until next week as we're away for the weekend to my mate Frank's place in Cornwall.


'twas frosty again this morning in Devon

Cold but beautiful.

Later it thawed, leaving glistening droplets of water on the delicate grasses.

Ah, poor Dave

Life's so tough sometimes Dave, I feel for you.

For Angela

Dear Ang, guess what!

My mate Ron

These are some great mugs made by my mate Ron Philbeck.

Here's a link to his on-line gallery.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Clay, beautiful clay

Jessica digging clay this afternoon. We processed it all, so it should be ready for her to make with when she comes next week.

Here are a couple of beauties that Alex has made from Hollyford clay. I think these are going in the next firing in January.

Busy times here. Luke's doing his GCSE exams, so we've been up late every night helping him revise. I've been doing some painting with him and guitar work - the Maths and Science is Hil's territory.

Lots of pots coming through in the workshop. Forgot to take pictures so I'll do that tomorrow.

Cheers my dears.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Handled yesterday's jugs today..............

.......and made bigger versions. Also tankards and some tall, narrow jugs. Jars and flatware next.

Jessica's with me tomorrow so we're off to dig clay in the morning. I want to teach her the whole process, from taking the clay from the ground, through to firing it with wood.

Have good Wednesdays my lovelies.

Oliver Postgate RIP

Oliver Postgate died yesterday. He was a product of the progressive Dartington School in South Devon, where Bernard Leach briefly had a studio.

I grew up with Postgate's amazing creations, The Clangers, Noggin the Nog, Pogle's Wood to name but a few and there were many. The warm tones of his voice take me right back there.

His shows were made with basic equipment and technology in the days before computer animation, when things were less 'slick' and to my way of thinking, more magical - but then I suppose I was only a kid, so they would be.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Another chilly morning in Devon.

Today I made 4.5lb jugs, 1.5lb jugs and more mugs. I want to have at least fifty mugs in the next firing, maybe even a hundred.

I also decorated the jugs I made last week. This one has a design inspired by deer footprints I saw a while back.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


The sale went well - particulary as I was so useless at publicising it(one small poster in the village Post Office). In fact more people in the States knew about it than over here, thanks Ron!

Thank you to people who bought pots. I still have plenty left that will be here in the garage until the next sale if anybody would like them.

It was great to see Blogger Andrew, who's been staying with Nic recently, helping to fire the kiln. The potter's life seems to be suiting him. Here he is with Hil and me in the garage.

Lots of pots to make this week. Have to go out collecting wood too for the January firing. Busy times, particularly as my chum Marky Mark's away in Mexico visiting his in-laws so I'll be doing it on my own.

Have a good week all.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Nic Collins' on-line show goes live tonight

Nic's on-line exhibiton goes live this evening. He has selected the twenty best pots from the firing for his first on-line show, all of which will be available to purchase from his site.

You'll be able to view the exciting new work by clicking here after 6pm UK time. Be prepared to see some beautiful things.


My Pottery Sale is Tomorrow, Saturday 12noon - 4pm and will be in my garage nextdoor to my house. If you need directions, give me a call. There are going to be lots of great bargains, including big jars, huge baluster jugs, large platters, big bowls and a whole range of smaller stuff too. It's going to be a good old clear out, I hope some of you can make it.

The Garage
Rosemary Cottage
Cheriton Fitzpaine
EX17 4JH

(01363) 860183

Thursday, 4 December 2008

This week's news

I've been a bad blogger this week, so here's a load of rubbish all in one big lump.

Been at work this evening.

I've enjoyed throwing loads of mugs in the past few days with this soft clay - it makes for soft looking pots. It's too soft to make anything bellied though, so simple, wobbly cylinders are ideal.

Digging enough clay is no problem and then processing it to a slip, but I don't have the space or facilities to dry much of it out to become usable, plastic clay. The little shed will sort out that problem, it'll take a day to finish it, so I'll wait for a sunny one, then do it. After that, racking, drying trough and away we go, Hollyford clay on tap - well in lumps anyway.

As it turns out, I need lots of small stuff for some forthcoming events, so the limited amount of readily usable clay has forced me to get on with that rather than making even more big jugs that I don't really need at the moment.

I just keep wanting to stick stuff all over my pots - this clay is so smooth to the touch, it can be rolled and modelled much more easily than the old stuff that used to split because of the grit. Hmm, interesting mugs,I think I might be going crazy, but who cares? I'm having a laugh. These have had a white slip and a good blast of copper carbonate right in the face poor chaps.

The stuff in the countryside continues to fire me up, particularly the structure of some of the dead foliage, these teazles are incredible.

The surface of these pumpkins is really interesting. There's a pile of them in the farmer's barn just up the track from the workshop. Gentle texture is something I'm going to explore. I want to use some naked clay in the top of the next firing, in the hot spots, so I'm starting to look around at surfaces for inspiration.

This is remarkable, it's a picture of the ice on the roof of Cookie's car earlier in the week when he gave me a lift to work. There's so much beautiful stuff around, whatever the season and whatever the weather.

Tomorrow I'm off into the city to my friend Johnny's place to drop off more pots to be photographed in his studio. Some of the images are for use in a couple of books that are coming out next year that are being written by two very fine potters, one is by Linda Bloomfield and the other, John Mathieson

Johnny's taken quite a few pictures of pots from the last firing, I'll put some on here next week when I get them.

Other news:

Jessica, a family friend, who came to me earlier in the year on work experience, is going to be training with me a day a week. I'm going to teach her all about the slipware process and materials.

I've been offered an exhibition in January, at the Burton Art Gallery in Bideford, the site of the bottle kiln we fired earlier in the year. There's a very fine collection of North Devon slipware at the Museum, so it's a great venue for my pots which are distant descendants.

Today my acceptance letter came for Earth & Fire at Rufford - phew.

The exhibition of slipware, Good things for the table is still ongoing in the Long Room Gallery, Winchcombe. Thank you to those folk who have kindly bought my pots.

Oh yes, and by the way, my sale's on in the garage this Saturday, from 12 noon until 4pm, many bargains to be had. I'll post more info tomorrow - wow, this publicity machine's white hot.

Bath,bed,bye xx