Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Workshop movie

Firing day movie

A good firing, woohoo!!!

Evening all

Well it was a great firing, hurrah! Pretty much everything came out well, with a few exceptions, but they were pots that I'd glazed badly, so I can't blame that on the kiln. What a relief. I have two exhibitions, one that opens on Friday in Exeter called Beautiful Pots, with six other potters and one the following Friday, in Cambridge, with a group of artists, including works by painter, Simon Jowitt, who I have known since infancy. More about these shows later. Here are some pictures of the pots.

A large harvest jug

A close up, showing the interesting tones in the glaze.

This little jug is the first pot that I made with the new blend of Hollyford clay and Almondsbury brick clay.

Small jar

The top of a moneybox
I made this 8lb jug when I had the visit from the Westcountry Potters Association a few weeks ago. It was dug straight from the banks of the stream, kneaded up, then thrown.

The decoration in close up.

Another 8lb jug

This is an interesting pot, inspired by some of the jugs that I saw in York Museum a few weeks ago.

I put the glaze on rather patchily, but I don't mind that at all - it makes it all the more reminiscent of its ancient ancestors.

This is quite a large jug made from 16lbs of clay.

This is one of my favourite pots from the firing, a large bottle of about 18" in height.

And here's a close up of its surface.

There are lots more, I'll post some more pictures later, but right now, it's time for bed. If you would like to see all the pictures that I've taken of workshop stuff in the last month, including more of the pots from the firing, follow this link

Goodnight all

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Packed and fired

Well since last I posted, Marky Mark and I have packed and fired the kiln.

Here are some pictures of the action.

Some glazed pots prior to packing.

Look at that, packing with a spirit level - what ever is my world coming to?!

We finished the pack just after midnight - it was hard work, out in the cold of the kilnshed - MM had been at work all day and I'd been flat out with glazing, so this was like doing another day's work on top. Deservedly, when we finished, we sat down on the newly installed 'sofa' beside the woodburner in the workshop and enjoyed a celebratory tin of lager - nice.

We'd decided to sleep up at the workshop, the thinking being that we wanted to make an early start and it would be easier to fall out of bed on-site rather than getting out of a comfortable bed at home to encounter Arctic conditions. It saved all of that scraping ice from the windscreen and suffering the prevailing, icy blast of the blower in the car on the drive to the workshop. So we stoked up the burner and made our beds up on the racks, then slept soundly until ten to six in the morning....

...when the alcohol was replaced with caffeine

It was really icy and all day long visitors would comment on how cold it was, but we were so well wrapped up in winter thermals and we were feeding a big box of fire, so didn't feel it at all. In fact it was a beautiful, sun bathed day to be firing, in spite of the fact that the temperature didn't rise above freezing and there were the occasional, short flurries of minute snow flakes on the North wind, which thankfully, came to anything.
The new chimney worked well again, helped by the light wind.
as did Marky Mark ;-)
Now the long wait in readiness for the excitement/despondency of the unpack and a collection of new work/landfill. Fingers crossed. Watch this space.
Happy weekend all

Friday, 26 November 2010

2 days to firing time

Not long in from work and really tired so this is very brief
Biscware awaiting glazing. The jug that WPA decorated is there in the middle with leaves and birdies on.
Marky Mark glazing his pots
And me doing mine
Some glazed pots. There are a few more to do in the morning, then MM and I will pack the kiln tomorrow evening, preheat overnight wth a gas burner and start firing with wood early on Saturday morning. There was talk on the local radio of the possibiliy of snow this weekend - I really hope it doesn't - does that make me a miseryguts?
Back soon
PS Anon, I measured the 8lb jugs, they're 12" high

Monday, 22 November 2010

Happy Birthday Alex

Today is my good friend Alex McErlain's birthday - it's a special one too.

Happy Birthday Alex!

Saturday, 20 November 2010


This is the cover of a stunningly photographed calendar, featuring some of the beautiful mums who live in and around my home village, Cheriton Fitzpaine. They courageously bared all in all weathers, including snow, to raise money for local charities.

If you click on the photo, not only will you have the delightful pleasure of seeing these fair maidens in more detail, but you'll notice a number of my jugs that were strategically positioned during the photo shoot.

The calendar was shot by my very talented friend, photographer Dawn Hannemann , who cleverly, artistically and tastefully composed the images in various locatons in the neighbouring countryside. She used carefully positioned props to protect the ladies' modesty. It's a fundraiser aimed at providing money for the various charities in the village that benefit local children. There are further images from the calendar and a report from the newspaper right here. If you'd like to support the cause and purchase one, you can buy it right here.

My word, such excitement boys and girls, now back to the brown mud.

I went to work this morning with Marky Mark. These are the dishes I made last week - they're about 14" in diameter. I threw the footrings on to them yesterday. Today I handled and decorated mugs and worked on moneyboxes. I'm making all the last minute small stuff for the firing. This time next week, we'll be in full flame.
This sprigged mug will be green
this one, black and yellow
and this one black and amber. I've made two dozen mugs so far, each different. It's a great way to try out different decorative approaches, without risking making a mess of a large pot.
Here's a haystack and cockerel moneybox. I've made some other designs that I'll show you on a later post when they're finished. These are inspired by similar boxes made in the country potteries of England until the end of the nineteenth century. As they're supposed to be for saving money, in common with the old ones,they have no bung, so you have to fiddle around their slots with a knife, or smash them to get the money out.
Here's Marky Mark painting one of his pots. The orange slip is made from the stream clay - it's going to be interesting to see how his pots come out, because he uses the same materials as I do, but in a very different way.

That's all for now, off to my mate Clarkey's for home made pizzas - nice

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Wet slip

Yesterday's pictures

Stuff from yesterday

Here are a couple of good lookin' boys - Marky Mark accompanied me for an interesting evening in the workshop of loud rock and roll and tea drinking.

7lb dishes

Big jugs

Big bottle

Drawing through wet slip.

Lots more decorating to do today, all after an inspiring three mile amble to work through the muddy lanes, in the rain. Oh well, I'd better go or I'll never get there, have a good day everybody, back later.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Tuesday on Wednesday

Evening all

Well I loaded these pictures up last night and didn't have time to write a post, so here are yesterday's pictures, today. I may put up today's tomorrow

This fat 8lb jug will be green when it's fired
and this will be yellow

Mr Nuthatch who has been a daily visitor in recent times
Some big pots - these will fill the kiln up. I've got six of these jugs and three bottles, I doubt that I'll fit them all into this firing, but I'll be ahead of the game for the next.
This is my friend Barry who lives and works a bit further along the lane from Hollyford. He's a fantastic wood carver and makes beautiful Arks, check out his link. Here he's carving a camel for a nativity group.
Barry kindly let me sharpen up my wooden tools on his sanding belt. I don't use many tools, but I can't do a thing without one of these. They're made of beech wood and after a while, they lose their edge as my clay is very coarse and gritty.
Some frosty stuff on the walk to work yesterday
and some more. Pretty.
Well that's it for now, back soon, bye