First of all, thank you bloggers for your encouragement, it's much appreciated and has helped me towards shrugging off the gloominess of earlier in the week.
Marky Mark came up this evening for a couple of hours. We'll be working on late tomorrow night too, lots to do to fill the kiln by the 11th.
Today I got the handles on the 8lb jugs. They're a bit fatter than I usually make them and I like that. I guess I've been looking at a lot of harvest jugs recently, with this kind of low belly. Getting all the curves in all the right places is tricky, in fact Blogger Matt and I have just been chatting about just that on Skype a few minutes ago - we must be soooooo interesting to live with!
These mugs are made from the woodland clay. There were a few stones in it - I did start to sieve the clay when I was preparing it, but chose to chuck it all back in again - not sure how it'll fire. If anything, it could do with a bit more texture so I'm seeking out a local supply of sand. I made these particular little sprig stamps recently and they were in the last firing so it's the first time I've tried these ones. It's good to have some fresh designs, I used to put new ones in every firing, now I've got loads of them, some that work, some that don't. The clay was still a bit too soft to make anything of any scale, but maybe tomorrow.
Here's a crazy looking harvest jug. It's a decorative effect typical of the North Devon tradition, whereby leaves are applied prior to slipping, then removed, leaving their outline where they resist the slip. I like the fact that it documents the foliage of the time and place for ever. A lot of the old jugs had Silverweed leaves on them, so I was pleased to use some on here.
I'm going to leave this jug in the tiny church in Stockleigh English, the nearest village to my workshop. My father is a retired church minister; when I was little there were three old ladies at his church, I think they were sisters. They would arrange the flowers each week. I never knew their names, we called them The Flower Ladies and they were lovely, so this is in memory of them, as well as for the flower ladies of Stockleigh English - all flower ladies the world over in fact.
I inscribed a verse from a harvest hymn on the front and I was a bit embarrased about my scrawly handwriting, but then I looked at the book my friends sent me yesterday and realised that that's just how it should be!