Friday, 12 September 2014

Wardlow Mires here we come

We're off tomorrow to the Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival in Derbyshire, come along if you can make it.

 We've been quite frantic in the workshop today, trying to get everything finished. This is a 6lb jar, drying in the sunshine.

Hannah decorating one of her little tripod jugs.

All the pots will be dry enough to pack in the bisc kiln before we leave, so they'll be ready for wood firing when we return to Scotland in a few weeks time.

We'll be in Devon now for a few weeks, doing things down south. I'll keep you posted.

Happy weekend all

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


We unpacked the kiln yesterday. There were a couple of duffers, but generally, it was a great firing.

We probably overpacked the front a bit - we always do, in a panic to get everything in that we can. All that happens is that the pots near where the flame enters the chamber, block the path of the flame to the pots at the back and they remain underdfired. But otherwise it really was a very successful firing.

Some of the pots are packed up ready to dispatch to London today for a photo shoot for Homes & Gardens magazine, Here's Hannah getting them ready to send. Here are a few snapshots. I'm afraid my photography skills aren't up to much.

 3lb jug
 One of Hannah's beautiful jugs
 Richness of glaze
 Thistle jug
 8lb applique jug

 Another lovely one of Hannah's
 Birdie plate
 This one's off to the photo shoot in London today
 More rich glaze, mottled from the wood firing
 Tankards destined for the food festival at the weekend
 8lb applique jug
 8lb applique jug
Thistle jug

Here's a short film of the unpack

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Job done

It was a beautiful day in Dumfries and Galloway yesterday, perfect weather to be under a huge beech tree, firing a wood kiln.

We started at 8 a.m.

And finished at after 10 p.m.

It looked, from what we can tell at this stage, pretty good. We have to wait until Tuesday to find out.

During the early stages of the firing, I was able to find the time to model the rooks on to the top of this moneybox. It was great to be able to stand beneath a tree, watching the real thing flying around in front of me. I took this picture before I cut the slot in the front.

By the time we'd clammed up the kiln, headed home and unwound with a hot bath, it was 1 a.m. and we collapsed in to bed, completely exhausted.

There's a lot hanging on this firing as it contains pots for the Wardlow Mires Pots and Food Festival next weekend and for our joint exhibition in Castle Douglas, next month.

Today is another beautiful day, the sun's shining and my achy body has just pushed the lawnmower round the front garden. Hannah's in the kitchen baking a courgette cake(sounds wrong, but is very right!) as her Mum and Dad are coming over shortly, it's smelling good already.

It's time to go outside now and enjoy the spectacular view with a cup of tea in the back garden.

Happy Sunday everybody.

Here's a video of our firing day, I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Firing time

We packed the kiln today. We had a lot of other stuff to do, pots to finish, a trip in to town, so it was late in the day before we got properly started.

Just as we'd finished packing and bricked the door up, the sky turned an amazing array of colours and it started to rain, as you can see in the snapshots below.

Hopefully it'll be a dry day tomorrow, we're hoping to start early(ish!).

I shot a tiny bit of video, it's still uploading, so I'll wait until the morning to post this. Off to bed now to try and get some sleep before the big burn up tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Nothing, then two in a row!

Hello all. Thank you for your kind comments on my previous post.

I've been pretty tired today after my broken night, but I got some stuff done.

These are six pound jars. I want to make some ten pound ones next, but I think it'll be a while before I get back to the wheel as we're in firing mode now.

Tomorrow we pack the wood kiln in readiness the firing, which we'll start early on Saturday. Here are some of the glazed pots. We've got way too many for this kiln load, so it's a great head start for the next firing which we'll do on our return from our travels of the next month.

The countryside here is stunning at the moment, with much activity in the fields, tractors and combines whizzing along the lanes, taking full advantage of the dry weather. I want to try and get some of these green stripes on to my pots, maybe even today's jars.

This was tonight's view from the back garden.

This is an old deisel pump on the farm where the workshop is. I put this on for my chum Al, because I know he'd like it.

And here's a selfie we took on our way home from work this evening. Happy potters.

Back later with pictures of the kiln pack. Meanwhile, here's the moving version of the pictures above. Bye for now

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Insomniac's ramblings

I can't sleep, so what better thing to do at a time like this, than write a blog post. We're working in Scotland at the moment, which is stunningly beautiful. We've been here a few weeks now, making pots for a wood firing on Saturday. It's taken me a while to settle in to the rhythm of making, it always does when we come here and I know it's the same for Hannah when we work in Devon. We've both worked on our own(with occasional visitors) for ten years and our workspaces are set up to suit the way that each of us works best. Hannah prefers for instance, to have the wheel looking out across the room, while I can only find my focus, by turning it to face the wall. I hadn't realised just how much difference this makes until I moved the wheel the day before yesterday and suddenly the pots began to flow again.

These jugs won't be ready in time for the wood firing at the weekend, they'll be for the next firing in a month or so time. This kiln load are pots for The Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival in Derbyshire, where we'll be exhibiting a week on Saturday. With fifty potters and lots of top quality food, it's well worth a visit if you're able to get there.

My lovely Dad is very poorly at the moment, which is one of the things that's keeping me awake at this hour of the morning. I hate being so far away from my parents.

That aside, life is very good. Hannah and I have a very special relationship and we love each other completely. She is the sweetest, kindest woman and an amazing potter and I relish every moment in her company. We have a wonderful life together. This is the view from our back garden here in Scotland. Our Devon home is beautiful too. We'll be heading there after the Food Festival for a few weeks.

I left this jug drying last time we were in Devon. It's for an exhibition in October, at a gallery called Designs in Castle Douglas. It'll be our first joint exhibition in Scotland and we've been pulling out all the stops to try and make it a really good show.

While we're down South, we will be presenting a weekend slipware workshop at Kigbeare, near Okehampton. I think there are still a couple of places available, so if you fancy having some fun learning some slipware techniques with a bunch of enthusiastic people, in a beautiful setting, follow the link here.

I suppose I should try and get some sleep. There are still a couple of hours before the alarm goes off. I'm making large lidded jars today in the workshop, I'll post some pictures later. In the meantime, here are four little films that we made in recent days here in Scotland. Bye for now

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Stuff, Pottery Stuff

Thank you all, it's good to know you're still there. Thank you to everybody that came to Rufford and bought our pots. I really enjoy Rufford, it's always great to catch up with potteryheads and to meet some new ones too.

This is what our stands looked like.

For me it felt like I'd found my feet again. This time last year, everything in my life was in turmoil and I'm sure that must have been evident in my work. This year I've taken a lot less on, as I completely burned out last year with all that was happening in my life and a heavy schedule to sustain in some pretty adverse circumstances. It's a gamble taking less on, because I run the risk of not having many places to sell my work, but it just seemed sensible when application time for shows came around, to take a step back and re-evaluate what I'm doing - my work needed it. So far I've survived and the next couple of months are about to become busy.

On 13th and 14th September, we will be selling a new range of domesticwares at the Wardlow Mires Pottery & Food Festival in Derbyshire. This is the only show of its kind that I'm aware of in the UK, where the only pottery for sale is functional wares.

On September 26th/27th, Hannah and I will be delivering a masterclass weekend at Kigbeare. There are still a few spaces left, so if you'd like to learn a bit more about what we do and how we do it, here's an opportunity.

There are one or two other things in the pipeline that I'll tell you about nearer the time. Hannah and I will be working long hours to fill wood kilns for these events. I hope you'll follow our progress via our youtube channel where we'll be adding little videos of the pots being made and fired.

Today we're about to jump in the van and drive to Hatfield House, to this year's >Art in Clay, where Hannah has a stand and I shall be her tea boy.

Here's today's little film of stuff we've been up to during the last few days in Devon. Happy weekends all, if you're at the Hatfield show, please come and say hello.