Monday, 28 February 2011

A few pots

Well it's taking ages for the video to upload, so here are a few stills. My photography skills don't really do the glazes justice.

Video to follow


A film of the unpack to follow, in the meantime, here are some pictures from last week. This is me brushing glaze on to a baluster jug.
Mugs and jars awaiting glazing
A picnic in the field
The front of the kiln pack.

Back soon

New pots in the morning

Lots to tell, but it's late, so for now, here's a bit of film of Hannah and Alex's visit and the firing at the weekend.

New pots in the morning, fingers crossed!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Blog post!

Hi there. I've been very bad at updating this blog recently, I apologise for that. Here's what's been happening.

I have some orders for a number of very large pots, so in recent days I've been learning a bit more about coil-throwing. It's a tricky technique, which I've done before, but never really mastered. I made a few big pots last week, but I'm still not happy with the shapes they've been turning out, so they've been scrapped and put back through the pug mill. The picture shows one in the making. This one went to about 2ft 6, before I scrapped it. By the time I made the last one, I felt I'd got much better at joining the coils and hiding the join, but the shape was still a bit unresolved - I need to do much more drawing, so that I'm aware of how I want the form to develop. Nevertheless, I made good progress and I'm confident that I'll get it right soon with a bit more practice. There are some important exhibitions coming up this year, so it'll be great to have some whoppers made for those.

I was helped greatly by this fantastic new book, which has been written by my good friend Nic Collins. I went to stay with Nic last week and left with a copy and the customary hangover.

It's a really good book, with lots of step-by-step photographs, showing various different ways of making larger pots - here's Nic doing his thing...

...and here's some other dodgy bloke throwing a jug. A really good 'how-to-do' guide, you can get it right here.

This pot was a bit of a weird shape, but I thought I'd see it through the process, just so that I could work out how to slip, decorate, glaze and raw fire such an object. As it turned out, I dropped it this afternoon when I was trying to slip it, so it wasn't to be.

One of the reasons for going to visit Nic was so we could have a talk about an essay that he's asked me to write, for the catalogue of his solo show at the Goldmark Gallery, which opens on 2nd April. It's a great honour to be writing such a thing for a prestigious exhibition. I got a sneak preview of the work that Nic's amassed for the show, saved from firings over the last two years - it's going to be a stunning exhibition, really spectacular. I'm supposed to be writing the essay right now, but blogging is long overdue so I thought I should do a bit of this first.
This is other stuff from the last week or so. An 8lb sprigged jug
Some baluster jugs. These are more slender than usual - they're such an anthropomorphic shape, maybe my recent Dame experience has made me consider more feminine curves :)
1lb jars.
Some jugs with applied decoration. The pot in the middle has a peculiar beak through which to pour. It's a funny looking thing, based upon one of the medieval jugs in York Museum. I dug up a rim shard from one of these in my garden a few years ago, with the pouring hole and a bit of the beak, so I was able to work out exactly how the beaks were joined.
Another baluster, black slip over white.

On Friday my old chum Andrew Grundon(aka Frank), signwriter, carver, writer and illustrator came to visit. He's an exceptional artist and with absolute ease and confidence, drew this sgrafitto design on to one of my little jugs for his daughter, Freya.

This pot will go into my wood firing, which happens on Saturday - woohoo!!

Alex and Hannah are coming down on Tuesday for the week, to help with the pack and the firing. It'll be great to see them and it'll give Hannah and me the opportunity to knock about a few ideas for things that we might include in our forthcoming workshops in the USA. I'm looking forward to new pots, warm from the kiln, this time next week - hurrah.

Well that's all for now, I've made a few videos in recent times, so I'll post some of those later. If you'd like to see more pictures of what's been happening this month, follow this link here
Happy Monday everybody, back soon

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Advanced Pottery

A couple of weeks ago a parcel arrived at the workshop.

When I opened it, inside I found a copy of this book, Advanced Pottery by Linda Bloomfield. What a lovely book it is, packed full of numerous photographs of wonderful pots, historical and contemporary, accompanied by a thoroughly well researched text.

Linda asked me a while ago for some images that she might include in the book, so I employed the fine skills of my photographer friend Johnny Thompson. John takes a lot of pictures for me and they're always top quality. Because of the high standard of his images, Linda was able to use quite a lot of them and it was a lovely surprise to see my pots and my working practices scattered throughout the book. On the left page, one of my puzzle jugs and on the right, slipping and decorating a large jug.

I remember this jug well, because it was the first pot I ever bisc fired in my new at the time, electric kiln and I blew it up into a million tiny pieces.

Here, demonstrating leaf resist, a traditional technique used by the country potters of North Devon.

A finished leaf resist jug and on the opposite page, Hannah demonstrating her great slip trailing skills.

The book shows a whole range of processes, handbuilding, slipcasting, throwing etc. with sequential photographs showing how it's all done by leading exponents of each discipline. It also has all the chemistry, maths and clever stuff, that usually brings me out in a cold sweat, explained in a way that even a simple potter like I can understand.

If you'd like to get your hands on a copy, you can buy it from Amazon, but it's cheaper and better to get it from Linda via her website

It's a great book, congratulations Linda.