Sunday, 30 November 2008

It's Sale time on Saturday

It's time for a bit of an end of year sale I think.

I've got lots and lots of big jugs, jars and the odd teapot or two - all sorts of stuff, old stock and seconds and pots that I'm bored of, all that are looking for new homes.

In fact they want new homes so badly that they're being put out at bargain prices next Saturday, the 6th December, 12 noon until 4pm.

I've still some good pots from the most recent firing and they'll be available too.



Last year I had a great sale from my garage, but this year I think I may try and hold it at Hollyford.

If you'd like to come, would you be kind enough to drop me an email to dougfitch@fsmail.net, with the words 'Pottery Sale' in the subject box, or call me on (01363) 860299 or (01363)860183.

That way I can make an assessment as to whether parking may be a problem, in which case I'll move it back to the garage again.

Have a good Monday everybody

Saturday, 29 November 2008

What a wonderful dream



'It’s never been an easy life as a potter but it’s one that I choose. Sometimes I see my work being described as: Rustic, Na├»ve, Careless or Roughly thrown. Well, I guess if I were looking at them from the outside, then I too might think the same. To me my work has developed over the years in an unconscious manner. By that I mean, that my work is where it’s at by gradual change, influenced by what the kiln offers.' Nic Collins


And to see what the kiln offers, don't forget to check in to Nic's on line exhibition that opens on Friday night at 6pm. I'll post a reminder of course, but to see his latest posting and to read more of his monologue, follow this link.........................here

PS Nic, you're welcome and my thanks to you for your support in the last five years.

Friday



It's been a beautiful icy, sunshiny, misty day today. I had to find every excuse to work outside in it. Seven layers and a good hat ensured I was toasty. A great discovery is that my woolly gloves fit snugly inside my leather kiln gloves, keeping my poor little fingers lovely and warm. I walked home wearing them tonight - I think I'm in danger of embarrassing my children.



Invigorated by the sunshine, I started to build a new shed outside on the back of the workshop. This is going to house my clay prep stuff so that I can get a system working properly. I ordered new wriggly tin today for the roof - it's my Christmas present and it will arrive on Thursday, so I'm going to get to have my pressy early. The framework's going to be made from salvage timber that I've been collecting for a while.

My dream is to be making all of my pots from Hollyford clay by Christmas and it's starting to look like it may be a possibility.

Everything takes time, it's five years since I took on the workshop as a derelict barn, it's getting there gradually in fits and starts.

There have been a lot of pots through the doors of that place, a lot of landfill and a lot of sweat and tears. It's a constant uphill struggle, often with doubts and fears, constantly living hand to mouth, but it's a wonderful way to scrape a living.



Digger walking is becoming increasingly enjoyable and it adds structure to my day. He seems to be understanding what I'm asking of him as we get to know each other better. The instinct to flush out birds from the undergrowth kicks in as soon as he gets into the meadow field. He sent a Snipe up into the air today which was quite a sight.

He sniffs around the thicket, while I marvel at all this stuff, which is going to impact greatly on my work in the forthcoming weeks.



It was a very tranquil, inspirational day.




Have lovely weekends all.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Opening tomorrow in Winchcombe

I've sent some of the best pots from my last firing to the Long Room Gallery to this exhibition that opens tomorrow.



Got to dash out to Love Daddy land, back later.........................

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

New clay, new pots, new head

It's been a funny couple of weeks since the firing - funny in the head kind of funny.



I haven't got much made - in fact, until today there were just eighteen mugs on the shelves.



In spite of it all and contrary to my usual mindset at this stage of the proceedings, I've not felt particularly depressed this week. Far from it really. Nor have I felt terribly stressed about the fact that there are so few pots on the shelves - for once I've just accepted that there are lots of things to do, than just making pots and I've been constantly busy sorting other stuff out - going through the new pots and pricing stuff up - planning a sale (next weekend I think - more about that later) and thinking, drawing, reading, scrutinizing.

It seems that last week's migraine was my body and mind demanding a rest.

Physically I feel on top form today, just the aches and pains that a man of my time in life should be experiencing after years of abuse.

The last couple of days I've allowed my brain to recharge - it's been great - there's a lot going on up there at the moment - some funky ideas that'll come out in this next batch of work. The temptation after a firing is always to fly straight back into making pots again and to carry on where the last lot left off, in a crazy and stressed panic, trying to refill empty shelves ready to meet another deadline.



This week has been for thinking about how to develop and move on to the next stage, based on the information the last firing gave me. There's been no rush to start making. It's been a week for looking into things that are happening in the countryside around here, in particular the microscopic detail of pattern and structure in some of the flora, which is dead and dry in the fields, brown, grey and yellow, the spent seed pods and the crinkled up leaves. It's clear to see where the inspiration arose for much of the decoration on the medieval jugs that I love so. Those potters would have been so attuned to their natural environment, because it was the world they encountered on a daily basis.

My friend and photographer Johnny takes the most incredible images of plant life and magnifies it hundreds of time - it blows me away. I must get some of his images to post on here because they really opened my eyes to this stuff.



This week I've been walking Digger the dog. I take him out at midday for a forty-five minute run. It's added structure to my day, usually I'd not stop for any longer than it takes to munch a sandwich. I like it; it refreshes the mind in readiness for the afternoon session. It gets me into different fields and terrain, different plant life - all in all, really inspiring and bursting with information that can come straight from nature, to the surface of earthy, country pots - what an amazing resource base - and I'm surrounded by it.



At last, my new clay was ready to use today - that was really exciting. I've been processing the stuff from the seam that Matt and I were digging a couple of weeks ago and today it was sufficiently tough enough to make a few things from it. Drying it quickly enough in sufficient quantity is going to be the challenge, so I've started making some large, wide, low-sided vessels to pour the slip into to dry. They'll be bisc fired and left unglazed so thus, porous.



I made these three pound jugs - five of them(I'm trying to break the habit of making multiples of six)



And these mugs(I didn't do too well at breaking the habit of making multiples of six)

It's so very different from the gritty clay I'm used to using, just the naturally occurring sand that goes through the sieve, creamy, rich and silky, super-plastic, it sings, but with a softer, sweeter voice than the gruffness of the old stuff. You may be able to gather that I like it a lot - enough to turn me all poetic.



The pots will change in response to the properties of the clay - the slurry on the surface and the finger marks left from throwing. They'll be a lot thinner - that's a good thing, although I'm anxious not to make them too thin - earthenware needs a bit of substance to it. You can see from the photo how much further a pound of this clay goes - I know the mug's fired, so has shrunk already, but it's a lot, lot smaller than the new ones I made today.

I've loved the effects that the old brick clay has given me - there were some lovely results from the most recent firing that are being photographed tomorrow - I'll post them shortly, but I feel like I've left it behind. Maybe I'll still use a small percentage of it added to Hollyford clay for larger pieces until I can sort out another opening material - that's all academic as I still have to process enough to make the larger pieces, so only time will tell.

Well I've rambled enough, so I'll sign out and leave you with two videos, I hope you enjoy them as much as I'm sure you all enjoyed Ivor Cutler last night, God rest his soul.



The first one shows Digger living up to his name, looking for a seam of the good stuff.



The second shows my muddy wheel and the bird table outside my window that is alive with beautiful colour and shape all day long - a constant distraction.

I say it often and I expect you're tired of hearing it, but I only say it because I know how true it is, I'm a lucky, lucky man.

Blimey, that was a long one, happy Thursday all.

I'm happy

Been really busy, so haven't had time to blog much this week.



Suffice to say, I'm happy

Sunday, 23 November 2008

From the frozen North



When Alex and Steve came down the week before last, Steve took a number of stills while the firing was underway. Alex is going to use them to accompany an article he's writing. Steve kindly sent me a disc with some of the images on, here's one of them, a shot taken while looking through the spyhole at the cones.

I was chatting to Alex the other day on the phone about a project he's working on with a very well renowned textile artist called Alice Kettle.



You may remember that a few weeks ago I posted this picture of some big pitchers that Alex made, inspired by slipware harvest jugs.



Here they are at the next stage, decorated by Alice with intricate, sgrafitto marks.

I like the concept of collaborative projects. Michael Cardew did some amazing work with Henry Bergen while he was at Winchcombe in the 1930's. Hannah and I touched on it, albeit briefly and with just a batch of mugs. It's an idea I'd like to explore further some time, particularly the concept of potters working with artists from disciplines other than ceramics.

During our telephone chat, I asked Alex to send me some more information about his project. The following text is lifted from his subsequent email.

The collaboration has been going on for some time since I made a film about her and got fascinated by stitch.

During the course of making the film we went on a walking tour of Winchester so she could show me some of the inspirational material that had driven the huge embroidery that she was making for the Winchester Discovery centre.

When we got to the cathederal to look at the carvings and the Bible it wasn't long before I was enthusing to her about the earthenware floor tiles.

Next it was the museum to film some medieval wood and stone carvings but what should I alight upon but a case of medieval jugs. My passion for these pots was duly communicated and by the time of my next visit there were pots appearing in the embroidery and we were talking about pots some more.

Months passed but eventually we decided to do some work together.

An early exploration of dissected porcelain cylindrical forms carved by Alice got her hooked but led nowhere. A while later I was telling her about the planned harvest jug show at the Long Room Gallery and my wish that I could have filmed its development, so she wanted to see what a harvest jug looked like.

More weeks passed then I took her to the reserve collections at Manchester Art Gallery and Museum, like I did with you and she clicked with the slipware. I planned to make a version of the large pressed dish you handled for her to work on. By this time I was involved with your project and talking endlessly about it so it was an obvious step to put my
first attempts at making a harvest jug before her and let her go at them.

I have also made her some chargers.I now have some Hollyford clay drying and am pondering another jug made by me decorated by Alice and fired in its natural home in Devon. And with you telling me of plans to fire in January Im wondering
where these first jugs should be fired. Galena beckons, another first for me.


Alice's decoration also has a long story attached but I'll save that one.

I also plan to explore using some richly coloured earthenware glazes to set before her in response to her brightly coloured threads.

Collaboration is a lot of fun as well as very challenging.



Well I hope I don't turn them brown, I'll keep you
posted with progress.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Ace of Spades



For Kent , John, Clay and Gary and all my rocking buddies across the globe - Motorhead as I saw them - mind your heads.

Behold Gnarly Nic's ring of fire



Here's another video from Nic's blog. His firing's complete and cooling down in readiness for his forthcoming on-line exhibition. See more right.............here

Friday on Saturday



Jessica on the wheel yesterday



The spriggy mugs

The Love Daddies and technology

video

A Love Daddies video production - oh well, we tried.

Friday

Well the Motorhead gig was a laugh. I'd not seen so much hair and leather all in one place for a long time. I didn't really go dressed like that by the way, but a lot of people did. I didn't manage to get mole side of Lemmy either. It was a bit too much for me really, I ended up wiped out with a migraine and spent yesterday completely out of it. I haven't felt right all day today either. Too old for rock and roll - folk music for me from now on, with my pipe and slippers.



So with my admin day on Monday and yesterday delirious, this week's not been very productive - lots of mugs and that's about it. Today's been constructive, I handled and decorated the mugs - I like some of them a lot, but I need to get a lot more pots made next week. I had some bad losses again in the last firing and the only consolation was that in spite of the losses there was some good stuff too. I'm trying not to think about the losses too much, although I need to come up with a better plan for the top of the kiln - or a better kiln maybe? Too many brown pots.

Here are a couple of pictures of some 8lb jugs that came out well and a sprigged and rouletted mug.

Got my electricity bill today - need to get back to raw glazing. I was intending to with this batch of pots, all the more so now.



For some reason my camera won't transfer over so I can't show you what's been happening today. Jessica, the girl who came on work experience earlier in the year has been back with me to do some work on the wheel, I've enjoyed her company - feeling a bit fed up at the moment, just tired I think, so it was good not to be stuck with just my own head today. Anyway, a weekend off for a change, at home with the family doing not very much, but that'll be nice, it's been hectic recently.



I couldn't transfer a bit of Love Daddies footage from tonight's practice that I was going to inflict on you as the camera won't do its thing - some other time.

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Rock!!!!!!

Off to the gig!





Back later........................................

The Long Room Gallery



This is an excellent book that I've been meaning to write about on here for a while. It's a beautiful study of the work of the Fishley family of Fremington, North Devon I've taken a number of unsuccessful photographs of it in the past in a vain attempt to put it on my blog. It's now not a problem, because I've just lifted this image from John Edgeler's new website. It features a lot of beautiful pots, (some from my own collection) and well researced text. It even has an interview with me and a couple of pictures of my pots, how exciting is that? John's written a number of superb books, check them out on his site.

Here's some information about an exciting event happening in the spring


And this is a show in which I have some pots, that opens on 29th November and runs until 15th December, in the Long Room Gallery in Winchcombe. I'll have some work from my latest firing in this exhibition, which promises to be a dazzling array of sparkling earthenware made by a number of potters, including Philip Leach and my good buddy, Paul Young


Just think of all those lovely pots you know you need for Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Rock

Had a day of clearing up today in readiness to start making again. I also got a lot more clay from the woods processed, then eased myself in with a dozen big mugs. There were some in the firing that I was really chuffed with, so I want to make a load more.

Mugs are always good to have a bit of a play with, just to try out ideas on a small scale - looking forward to having twelve of them to mess about with.

Glad to see Becky's has arrived, Ang, you're next.

Yesterday I spent at home trying to get on top of paperwork - I need to get my business more organised. Tomorrow morning more of that, then handles to put on in the afternoon.



Tomorrow night I have a free ticket to see Motorhead - maybe not my first choice of band, but I'm sure it'll be entertaining and it's always good to see blokes older than me making fools of themselves with guitars.

Snuff stuff

When I was a student, I had a band that was called something like the Stripey Mollusks. The bass player 'Snuff' aka David Wadsworth is now a potter in Derbyshire and has sent me the following information about his event. It sounds like a good show, try and drop in if you're in the area.




The work of selected potters will be on display from the 28th November for 5 weeks.

From sculptural pieces to wheel thrown vessels, all the pieces will have been through the ordeal of a wood firing.


The pots are fired in a kiln for up to 4 days using wood as the fuel. Flames pass over and through the pots leaving flash marks and deposits of ash as witness to their journey. The ash then fluxes and melts on the pots to give them beautiful warmth of colour. Rich layers of texture make every pot a unique reflection of the passage of flame through the kiln

Local photographer, Tony Fisher, is renowned for his quirky and unusual shots
of everyday subjects. For this exhibition he has managed to capture on film the
movement of the flames dancing in the kiln’s firebox and circling round the
tightly huddled pots in the kiln chamber

Everyone is welcome to the official launch evening on November 28th, 6 – 9pm
Please call or email if you require any further information

Pop in anytime to browse through the shop and gallery
or enjoy a freshly ground coffee and home-made cake from the coffee shop
Open 11am – 5pm, closed Wednesday and Sunday

Hope you can make it


David Wadsworth
The Pottery . Wycliffe Road . Alfreton . DE55 7HR
T: 01773 832442 M: 07976 506739 E: davidwads@aol.com

Monday, 17 November 2008

Speedy packing with Gnarly Nic



If only...................

See more here

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Blurred snap shots

Well here are some blurred pictures I snapped yesterday after the kiln was unpacked - zero points for photographic skills.



Here's Tim and Sue's Croyden graveyard clay. Unfortunately I didn't fix the handle very well at the top, so it's split away - poor skills, my apologies T&S, if you can get a little more, I'll make another.



Blurred pots on the bench



More blurred pots on the bench.



The 'bibbed' jug. Well it's interesting as a test piece, to see what happens when Hollyford clay is left bare and fired in the hotspot. I'll be developing that in my next batch of pots. I like the contrast. The clay darkens and flashes and looks a bit like the body used for some of the old French provincial pottery. It also reminds me of a fine baluster jug I saw in the Museum in Manchester. I like the texture too - it's one to think about, even though this little pot isn't maybe all that spectacular. The dusting of copper carbonate has given it a good green speckle, reminiscent of the dusted glazes on medieval pitchers and Tudor greenware - food for thought.



Here's a nice little jug made by Blogger Matt. Matt's pots get better and better each time I see them.



A very medieval looking pitcher with applied bands. Another experimental piece.



This little mug was made by Hannah and decorated by me. There's one further down the page that's made by me and decorated by H.



A Paul Reid teabowl, made in Manchester from Hollyford clay



Alex's little cup - very nice



A jug



and another...............



and another bloomin' jug



Blurred pots on the bench



Jeff, the proud owner of a Simon Hancox harvest jug. Incredible decoration on Simon's pots.



Made by me, decorated by Hannah, snapped up by Jeff



Pots sitting in the kiln



Fancy that, another jug...........



and another



A big tankard (Blogger Andrew called by yesterday and bought this - good to see him looking fit and well)



This is a big pot. I'm really happy with this one, the photograph doesn't really show it very well, there's a lot more going on with it than you can see here. It's very earthy looking. I decorated this one during fiming last month.



A large mug.

Well these were just pics that I snapped yesterday. Some of the best pots are going to my friend Johnny's studio to be professionally photographed. I'll be posting them when I get the pictures back.

A good tidy up, then on to the next kiln load this week - lots of ideas to develop. Some of the pots work, some don't, but it's a developmental process and I'm exploring a few new avenues. I used to really struggle after a firing to get back into the swing - this time I feel really on top of things and can't wait to get stuck in to it again. Woooohooooooooooooo!

Hurrah!

It was pretty good.



More tomorrow. Phew!