Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Well not exactly what we had planned for the Bank Holiday weekend.

It started well, with the first Love Daddies gig in a year at Nic's party. I can't believe it's a whole year since we played live - we've got two more gigs coming up in the next few weeks.

Luke's new band The Fritz played before us.

Sunday afternoon was spent in Accident &Emergency, after Luke dislocated his kneecap playing football. The poor kid, It a was horrible sight, his kneecap was on the side of his leg - yeuch. It was all very upsetting for him and for us, it's horrible seeing your child suffering. The ambulancemen put it back in place after a good dose of morphine, before trundling him off to hospital, where he was X Rayed, then plastered from his groin to his ankle. He's going to be like it for six weeks. It's not giving him much pain thankfully and he's already had a string of visitors and pretty girls baking him cakes!

Here he is shortly after we got him home from hospital poor lad, still wearing his footy kit. He was most upset, because the team was winning for the first time in two years, before the match was abandoned.

Yesterday I was back in work, sieving glazes and glazing pots in readiness for next week's firing. A potter friend, Tilly Young, came by to bring some pots to put in the firing. I have a show with Tilly and a number of other local potters, later in the year - more about that nearer the date.

Today, Different Dave came by with his kiddies and fitted the metalwork to the chimney. It really looks the business now. I'm looking forward to seeing how it affects the performance of the kiln, I think it'll improve things no end.

I'm going to make a few more pots tomorrow - I got my dates confused and thought I was firing this week, but in fact it's scheduled for Wednesday next week, when Alex will be coming down. It buys me a little more time to make some last minute pots - hurrah!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

On-line show pots

My on-line show with Geoff Fuller ends in a couple of days. Here are a few pictures of the pots.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Ooo look at my flue

Well Hil and the boys enjoyed their trip to London. After getting the hang of London Transport during the day, Hil saw them onto the tube then went to watch a film in Leicester Square while the boys went off to the gig - my little babies, suddenly all grown up, travelling across the Capital by tube on their own. To a lot of kids, that's just normal, but we live in a rural place where there's one bus a day into the small local town and the majority of the traffic passing by is tractors. My boys are proper country boys, so for them to have done such a thing is a big step. They watched the gig from right down at the front, in the mosh pit, a few feet away from an attention seeking Amy Winehouse. A great adventure.

I by contrast was at work, alone in a shed in the countryside. The weather here was dreadful yesterday, torrential, so chimney building was rained off until today.But today, well, woohoo, what a flue, thank you Different Dave for your help today. This chimney should work a whole lot better, with its extra height and girth. Look how straight it is Alex! Dave's coming back next week before the firing, to fit steel strapping which will make it a lot safer, although I can't imagine it getting windy enough at Hollyford to blow it over, nevertheless, better safe than sorry/flat.

This evening Marky Mark came by to decorate his pots. He has quite a few in next week's firing.

I had decorating to do too, these have a base coat of slip

and here's one with its top coat

and a close up of the same pot

Some more freshly slipped pots that will(I hope) be various tones of green, amber, yellow and black. I'm a bit short of pots for the firing, I'd planned to make a number of very large jugs, but almost every one went wrong, my clay was too soft really. It'll be fine though, there are enough pieces, it'll just be a light pack.

Glaze to mix and test in the morning, then loading up our amps and instruments in the afternoon as we're off to Nic's in the evening to play our first Love Daddies gig for a year, the first ever with our new keyboard player, Daddy Steve. My boy Luke's new band, The Fritz, are going to be playing support - hey, that's my boy.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A week until firing time

Here are today's little 3lb jugs

Some short and fat, some tall and thin
An 8lb jug with scroll handle

More slip.

The bricks arrived today for the chimney, so Different Dave's coming up tomorrow to help build it.

Luke won a pair of tickets this evening, to go and see his favourite band, The Libertines in London tomorrow night. I saw them first time around a few years ago when they were supporting the Sex Pistols. I wish I had time to go to London with him and Joe and Hil - I could take a peek at the new ceramics gallery in the V&A for one thing, but I just can't afford the time off, so Hil's going to have to take them on her own poor thing - at least she doesn't have to get dragged around the V&A, so I'm guessing she's not entirely disappointed.

Apart from chimney building, I'm making the last few pots tomorrow, for next week's firing. This time next week, the kiln will be packed and pre-heating ready for firing a week tomorrow. Lots to do before then, busy times ahead.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Some pots from the last week

Some stuff from this week

Cider tankard
8lb fat jug
Mixing bowls and tapered jugs.


Monday, 16 August 2010


Been up to the workshop this evening to handle and sprig the mugs I made on Friday.

Tomorrow's my birthday, in fact it's past midnight, so today's my birthday, woohoo!

Saturday, 14 August 2010


The power was off for most of the day at the workshop today while the electrical company did work on the power lines, so I got on the kickwheel and made a couple of dozen soft-thrown kickwheel mugs. It always takes me a little while to get back into making pots after a break, so it feels good to have made a start.
Here are some finished mugs in the showroom.
And here's the little showroom with the first of the many gladioli that I planted in full bloom.

Here's a view inside. I still have more shelves to build and all the walls to panel out and paint, but that'll have to wait a while, lots of pots to make now for a firing at the beginning of September. Rustic mixing bowls next week.
Happy weekend all

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Back to work

My word it's been a long time since I last posted on here, so I thought I'd come home from work early and try to string a post together with some edited highlights from the past few weeks.

We had a fabulous few days in France. I'd been pretty worried about going away, as I knew that I'd have to go straight off to Hatfield and Art in Clay on our return. This meant that everything had to be fired, finished and packed, then delivered by Jeff to Nic's, (who kindly brought my pots to the show with his and Sabine's), all two weeks early and also two weeks before my next 'payday'. Eeeeeek

Anyway, all went well and it all happened in time, so off we went, via ferry, from Plymouth to Brittany.

Some jolly mariners up on deck.

I get a bit nervous at first about driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, but after a while settled in. Our roads must seem so congested and busy to the French when they come over here. The roads of France seemed much quieter, there's so much more space over there per head of population.

We stayed in a house belonging to a friend and neighbour from the village and met up with our chums Phil and Heather and their two youngsters, who were already out there a few days before us.

Here's the young 'uns. They've been friends since they were babies and have been through school together, so they got along really well.
Here's my younger son Joey and Phil, collecting cockles from the beach.

They were really tasty, cooked with wine and garlic.
After all my worrying before leaving, it was good to have a break from potting, although I did get started on the sgrafitto decoration of a mug that I made many months ago for Blogger Clay Perry. Poor Clay has been waiting a long time for this cup, which is a swap for a beautiful cane that he sent me ages ago. I made a mug for him before, but chipped it soon after I took it out of the kiln, so this one is its replacement(although I'm sending both). I just couldn't think where to start with the decoration and I wanted to make it a bit special as the cane is so beautifully carved, so it's been sitting on the shelf in my workshop for a few months. I packed it up in a little box and took it with me. I came up with an idea, inspired by a design on a paper copy of an old sampler that was hanging in the kitchen. By the time this mug gets to Clay in the States, it will have been well travelled. I'll post pictures of it once it's finished and fired.

Well, here are a few more holiday snaps.


Hil and the boys wandering through Quimper, the nearest city to where we were staying

Inside Quimper Cathedral

Fine carving on a dead stone bishop

More beach

Funny head at the market

Severed feet at the market

Another funny head at the market(my mate Frank used to look like this)

Traditional dancing in the streets of Loctudy


How refreshing to see a street procession that isn't controlled and patrolled by stewards in high visibility jackets. That's how everything seems to be these days in this country. You know what, nobody got hurt! All the more refreshing, the cider that the chap driving the tractor, pulling a boat full of small children, was handing out to on-lookers.

A German Alex McErlain tribute act

Hil, or a mermaid?

Jess, Joe and Phil in the kitchen

Le Dejuner sur l'herbe

Home again from sunny France........................

..................and then early the next morning, straight off to rainy Hatfield, via my parents' where we dropped the boys off.

My sister very kindly loaned us her little campervan and it was the envy of many on the campsite, not least because on a number of occasions over the weekend, in between glorious sunshine, the rain was torrential. It was good to have a proper, comfortable bed for my old bones, instead of an inflatable in a tent that we're accustomed to at Hatfiled. I had my Hatfield migraine attack on the Saturday, just like last year. No Ron and Sarah Philbeck this year though sadly.

Here's Hil tending my stand.

A lot of pots went to new homes at the weekend, thank you to everybody who bought them and thank you too, to all the interesting people who took the time to stop and chat. I even met somebody who follows this blog from Argentina.

And finally, here's a picture of me doing my demo on the Sunday morning. Thanks James for the pic. The marquee was almost full with a crowd outside the doorway and in the audience, my parents and my boys - no pressure then!

A puzzle jug thrown, blasted with a gas burner and assembled in 45 mins, then a screening of Hollyford Harvest.

Well I reckon that'll do for now. I'm back at work and getting the place sorted out ready for full-scale production, starting on Monday, so muddy pots to follow shortly.

Bye for now