Monday, 30 November 2009


It's Wednesday since I last blogged - everything has been so hectic for the past few days.

The show in Exeter is going well. I made some good sales on Friday night at the opening and chatted to interesting folk all evening, but didn't get any decent photographs. Here are a couple that I snapped in the workshop last week when I was working out which pots to take. I'll get some better pictures when I go in to the show to invigilate later in the week.

I took my wheel in to the venue and did a talk and demo on Saturday, in which I threw a large jug in two parts and with a good old blast from my gas burner, was able to handle it, slip it and decorate it, to a state of completion within an hour.

The show's on until Saturday night.

This week I'm going to try and get on with sorting out the workshop which is utter chaos both inside and out at present as none of the building work has been completed. There are piles of stuff everywhere. Maybe I'll build some kind of display unit to hold finished work so that there's somewhere to put it when I bring it back from the show. Also I want to get some pots made this week to fire in the Bideford kiln later in the month. More about that soon.

Oh well, I'd better get to it before Facebook Scrabble distracts me. Hmm, a day off playing Scrabble in the warm, what a nice idea.

Have a good start to the week everybody.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Just popped home to do some admin work, so a quick blog while I'm at it. I've come home as I have to get all my show applications completed and in the post. Every year I leave them to within days of the deadline, even though every year I swear that I'll get organised and have them in early. Oh well, maybe next year - but probably not.

Here's the buzzard harvest jug and an 8lb jug infront.

Once again today, the end of the rainbow was beyond my workshop, so the crock of gold still eludes me.

Poor thing. This wonderful creature was in the lane when I walked Digger at lunchtime. They don't have any road sense, so a lot of them get hit by cars. The carrion crows will eat well today, nature doesn't waste much.

Working this evening with Marky Mark so off back to the workshop in a moment. Back later.

Cheers all.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


I finally finished these two sgrafitto pots at 4am, so suffice to say, I'm a wee bit tired today.

This is a close up of Mr Buzzard, who has his beady eye on a pigeon who is flying nearby. My drawings are far from anatomically correct, but that's not something I'm too worried about, as long as it's clear what they're supposed to be. The black lines are where I roughly draft out the shapes before I cut into the surface and will burn away in the firing.

The old harvest rhyme on this one says, 'The potter fashioned me complete as plainly doth appear, for to supply the harvest boys with good strong English beer'

A while ago I was walking to work and came across the magnificent spectacle of two cock pheasants having a fight. They may be some of the stupidest birds around, but they certainly know how to scrap. For some reason I decided to try and draw them onto the side of this puzzle jug. Whether they really look like pheasants is questionable - I might just have to pretend it's a pair of phoenix(phoenixes, phoeni) having a squabble.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Beautiful Devon and Digger the dog

A beautiful sunny day at Hollyford today, so I was able to sit in the kiln shed with the doors open listening to the Buzzards while I scratched away the surface of this big harvest jug. The decoration is taken straight from the North Devon tradition, but there's a lot of me and a lot of Hollyford in the drawing too.

Here are a few pictures from my lunchtime walk with Digger the dog in the stunning Devon countryside. A lot of this stuff has ended up on the surface of the big jug.

This is a marigold in Matt and Alex' garden. Daisies are a favourite of mine. Did you know they're called daisies because they open in the morning and close at night, just like the day's eyes? There you go.

Ivy flowers. There are still quite a few bugs and bees around the ivy at the moment. We've not really had much in the way of frost yet so I think a lot of the insect life is still alive and buzzing.

As we were walking along the track, a big fox came running out of this field and trotted along in front of us, much to Digger's delight. The hunt was here last week with horses and hounds, but Mr Fox must have kept himself well out of the way.

There aren't many of these little strawberries left, they're always a treat when I find them, so much wonderful flavour from a berry the size of a pea.

Cutleaf cranesbill

Blue sky

And more with golden autumn leaves

A big old oak tree


An old combine harvester.

Work for me tomorrow, I need to get this jug finished. A visit from some friends on Sunday.

Have a lovely weekend everybody, bye for now xx

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad head

Sometimes things just don't go right and I think this picture says it all!

I had a migraine attack last night and all day today, so the day's work had to be done this evening. I really wasn't in the right frame of mind for decorating but everything was getting too dry so I just had to go for it.

I had Marky Mark for company - we try and work every Wednesday evening. Blogger Paul was asking how the new racking was going. There's some of it next to Mark in the picture. It came from Cardew's Wenford Bridge pottery so must have been used by some amazing potters.

Here's a pressed dish that Mark made, awaiting bisc firing. There's a lot of Picasso influence in his work. I'll post a picture when it's fired if he's happy with it.

The rest of these pictures are from yesterday. It was a beautiful day, sunshine and a warm breeze so I was able to dry pots outside for the first time in ages.

Here are some moneyboxes - a cockerel on a haystack....

This funny one takes its influence from old saltglaze moneyboxes that were made in the form of little houses.

And here are a pair of lovebirds, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww

Baluster jugs always look a bit odd until the handles are applied, these make more sense to me now than they did when I made them.

Here's a picture for Tim. Three different mug shapes I've been making. I've got half a dozen of each, I want to make three other shapes so that I can make six of six - it just appeals to my compulsive obsessive behaviour of making things in sixes - it's a blokey thing I think.

Right, off for a bath and a good night's sleep ready for a full day tomorrow.
Happy Thursday everybody xx

Monday, 16 November 2009


Baluster jugs

Earthenware colours


Earthenware colours

Sunday, 15 November 2009


I really didn't want to go to work today, it being Sunday, but once I'd got there I was really pleased that I'd gone. I managed to get a lot done. I mixed glazes, a job that I've been avoiding. I always put it off, but then feel good once I've done it - and it's never that bad a job really - no doubt I'll put it off as long as possible again next time.

The sun was shining, after a couple of days of crazy storms. (Frank got home to Cornwall safely the other night by the way, but by all accounts it was a fairly hairy journey.)

The view from my workshop window looks out to the woodland that has now lost much of its foliage.

Here is my latest little flower bed, I made it last week. The torrential rain, running off the roof washed some of the plants right out of the ground. The wind had been so strong, that it burst my doors open. Fortunately a neighbour jammed a pallet against them. They don't seem to want to close properly now, I think perhaps the shed may have twisted a little during the storms - maybe it's time to hammer in a few more screws - maybe bend them over this time for extra strength.

These are some small jugs, made from a pound and a half of clay. I put the handles on today. I've been making a lot of bigger pots recently and it took a while to get back into making smaller pots.

I made a few mugs, just simple cylinders and some moneyboxes onto which I'll model birdies tomorrow if they're dry enough.

Pots drying in the kiln shed.

I did a lot of decorating today too, drawing through wet slip with a rubber tool, the bare structure of the trees finding their way onto the surface of the pots.

Yum, shiny wet slip.

Combed black slip. I really like to work through wet slip, it's such a direct approach to decorating.

By contrast, the decoration of this sgrafitto jug is a much slower process.

Baluster jugs tomorrow.

Have a good week everybody.

Friday, 13 November 2009

It's Friday!

I've been playing signfitter this afternoon, helping my mate Frank put up the signs on a pub at Teignmouth, by the seaside. Unfortunately I was supposed to br navigating and as I have no sense of direction, it took rather longer to get there than it should. By the time we arrived at the pub the sky was growing darker by the minute. It was crazy weather and the sea was crashing against the sea wall - not great weather to be up a ladder, holding up big signs.

The wind and rain has got worse this evening and we had to drag a tree off the road that had blown over on the way back. Frank insisted on driving home to Cornwall, I wish I'd been able to persuade him to stay. Next door's fence has just ended up in our back garden, it's really wild out there.

This is some of the stuff going on at the moment. A lot of it is for a group show I'm part of in Exeter, I'll post details later.

I'm going to sgrafitto this puzzle jug. I'm also working on another large sgrafitto harvest jug, it's taking ages, but will be pretty when it's finished.

This is a Tyg.

A Tyg is a large English mug with three or more handles dividing the rim into sections for several drinkers. These tall, black-glazed, red-bodied drinking vessels were produced from the 15th century through the first half of the 17th century, peaking in popularity during the 16th and 17th centuries. Some were made with as many as nine handles.

The multiple handles also allow hot drinks to be passed around without pain.

Tygs were made in large quantities at Wrotham in Kent and in many Staffordshire factories. Examples have surfaced at 17th century American colonial sites, as well as in the UK. (Wikipedia)

And some little jugs. I made these two days ago and they're still too soft to put handles on. Maybe tomorrow.

Happy weekend all