Monday, 10 November 2008
Three days to go
Mark and I went over to the woods yesterday to get some more clay. I've not done this in a very scientific way so far, grabbing clay from all different areas of the woods. The farmer next door was telling me he has a field they call the Union Jack field, because it has red, white and blue clay in it.
The farmer who owns the woods offered to dig the clay out for me a while ago. Since then, his tractor has become stranded, deep in the mud, with a broken axle. I can't see how he's going to get it out of there. I wonder whether it'll make him more, or less inclined to go in there again. For the time being anyway, it's fine to go over with a shovel and sacks - just a bit tiring carrying it all back.
This time, we searched for what looks to be the best seam - clean and plastic. It's an incredible peachy colour. I've used some from here in the past and it fires beautifully.
In the stream at the bottom of the valley, there are clumps of grey/white clay, which forms the stream's banks.
We scooped a load of this too, which I'm going to try out as a decorating slip. Brad made some pots from this clay when he was here and they have fired a very pale buff colour. I'm so excited by all this, I don't want to go back to using clay from some anonymous hole in Stoke on Trent.
I feel blessed really. When I was a student, over twenty years ago, my work was greatly influenced by North Devon slipware. I'd only ever been to Devon once in my life as a teenager and a second time when I was a student, on the 'potters' trip'. The job at the University brought me here in 1990. Now here I am, with my own workshop, in a place that not only provides all the inspiration, but the materials too.
My old college buddy Simon came down yesterday. He brought with him one of my student pots from twenty one years ago. Here it is beside a bisc pot that's due for firing this week. That's a Devon shape if ever there was one.
Some amazing things are happening for me, I'm blessed with good fortune.
Happy Monday all