Friday 24 October 2008

It's been a bit of a week

This delightful gas-guzzler's been giving us trouble again. I spent yesterday morning on an industrial estate in Exeter while the man at the gearbox place investigated my slippy clutch.

The car's been nothing but trouble since we got it, but not for any longer, it's days are done. A little frustrating as we just spent £400 on it this month, £800 a couple of months ago, but it's going to cost £1000 this time, so that's the end of it, time to get a replacement, no more good money after bad. I've killed three cars in the last twelve months - that has to be unlucky.

However unlucky that is, we're very lucky to have a really good friend who is helping to sort something out for us - a real top man, thank you.

The potter's life is always a hand to mouth existence - well mine is anyway. I try and make the pots I would like to buy, then hope somebody else might like them, it's not easy. I'm also notoriously bad at getting them out there - I have loads of pots sitting on the shelf in my workshop that ought to be out for sale somewhere. I do need to become a better businessman.

It isn't just about money - of course money's essential to survive, but it's about a different quality of life - and a healthy brain. I used to work for a university and spent a year off work, rocking in a darkened room. These days I try and adopt a positive mental attitude. Once negativity creeps in, it darkens everything - it still does sometimes.

On returning from Exeter with my sickly car yesterday afternoon, I went over to the woods with my friend Different Dave, where we dug out a load of clay. It was beautiful, just the sounds of the birds, the colours of the trees with their leaves on the turn, and the musty, mossy smell of the clay - best of all, it cost nothing to be there.

This week I decided to make pots only from Hollyford clay. I haven't got many made, but it's been magical using what Michael Kline calls 'native dirt'. It has very different properties from the clay I normally use. I'd only made smaller things with it, mugs, 'tankettes' and little jugs, but today I made an eight pounder and it threw really nicely.

It'll take a while to get used to it and to discover the most effective way of using it, but I love it. I still plan to use it for the majority of my production by Christmas. I don't have the proper equipment yet to process large amounts, but the kit I do have will suffice for now as long as I keep mixing daily.

The surface of the pots looks softer for it, this is a detail of a mug I fired earlier this week in the electric kiln. I'm sure my work will change a little as I start to find more out about its properties. It contains a fine, naturally occurring sand - perfect for the job.

Off to Crediton in the morning for the closing day of Paint:Mud:Wood

Have an enjoyable weekend all.


Deb said...

I completely understand that negativity creeping in. I am constantly pulled back into the idea of an outside, steady paying job. It feels like a lot of hard work in the studio, rarely for any financial reward. I keep hoping for someday.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

'The potter's life is always a hand to mouth existence - well mine is anyway. I try and make the pots I would like to buy, then hope somebody else might like them'----
Hey Doug, did you copy that from me? And did you get your car from the same used car dealer as me????
All that may be true and I'm no millionaire but being a potter is the absolute f##king best, isn't it?

Ron said...

Hey, Sorry to hear about the car, but good news about the clay!
Hope the woods did your head some good. I tell you I'm up and down daily. I'm trying to identify the part of me that won't let me do the things i need to to be happy and healthy. It's really got my number.
Well, off to bed. Have a good weekend. Best, Ron

Christine said...

That soft pot surface is pretty scrummy I think. Just got round to having a peek at yor blog I found it through Hannah's. I've been here all morning, some peek! Good stuff. Vehicles....I've been looking at bike trailers lately... but you'd need a huge one and very strong legs to lug all that stuff...

ang design said...

hey dougstar, glad to hear the local dirt is doing nicely it looks really different.., yep can that car, how bout a mini they're super lots of pots on a roof rack...nyuk nyuk.......yes i've prob sunburn my brain today warm one 'bout 35 deg .. gotta love spring.....cheers

Russel Fouts said...


Different Dave, Marky Mark, Love Daddies, you should be writing a comic strip. ;-)

Love that lovely new clay! You showed it to us when we visited. I'll miss the ruggedness of the old one though.


doug Fitch said...

Deborah, it seems to be the way - guess it's all about balance, I suppose I prefer the misery of being poor to the absolute misery of doing a job I hate! Gary's right, it is the best. I think we're just all a crazy load of chemicals Ron - positive mental attitude is the only way, sustaining it is the challenge. The size of my boys these days Ang, they'd be on the roof

I think I need to find some good grit for bigger stuff Russel - I know a man with a sand pit locally so I'm going to have a word with him.

Hi Christine, thanks for dropping in. You doing Bovey Tracey next year?