Monday 30 March 2009


Happy Monday all.

Blogging's fallen by the wayside just recently as I've fulfilled a punishing schedule of glazing, kiln packing and firing during the last few days and nights, so here's a quick update of what's been happening in Hollyford Potteryland.

Friday was a long, long day and evening of glazing. There are a lot of big pots in this firing and the best way to apply the glaze to such pots is with a brush, each requiring three coats. It was quite a task, but I got it done in time to pack...

on Saturday morning, with help from my new Saturday boy, my younger son Joseph who is going to be doing a few hours for me here and there.

Packing this kiln is so much easier with two, particularly when loading the back of the chamber, as it avoids constantly climbing in and out to collect the pots from inside the workshop. I was able to climb in and direct Joe, who would bring the pots to me.

We certainly packed it pretty full. I was much more organised this time than last, as I'd planned particular glazes and forms for certain areas within the kiln. One of my glazes doesn't like it too hot and goes very dark when overfired. Thanks to the kind loan of some tall props from Nic, I was able to put my big jugs at the bottom of the chamber. I hope this will give me my first ever batch of large pots that don't go really dark, but remain a rich amber. I put all the pots onto little clay wads too as the glazes are very fluid when applied thickly(the way I like them) and have a tendency to run and stick the pots to the shelves.

Further up I used my lighter glaze, which takes the temperature much better and placed some pressed dishes at the very top, rim to rim. I hope the naked clay exterior of these will flash nicely when licked by the flame.

The clocks changed on Saturday night, so we decided to start at 9am instead of 8. Jess lit the kiln. Matt was supposed to be joining us, but unfortunately he had motoring problems and so had to call off. It was a great surprise, when during the early afternoon, Matt arrived with his good lady Tig in her car. Marky Mark came at about teatime and continued with Jess and me after Matt and Tig had headed home.

Jess had to leave reluctantly before the end as she had other comittments, but she got to see the first cone going over.

Here are the cones beside one of her little mugs.

MM and I fired on until the end, which was just after 9pm.

I think that the dampness we've had in the firebox during recent firings has been causing all sorts of problems. This time the firing went steadily, but quickly to the required temperature and for the first time in ages, the cones in the front of the kiln went over before those in the back.

This morning I stayed in bed for the first time in weeks - ahhhh, it was bliss. I haven't had a day off in weeks, let alone a lie-in, so even though I woke early, I forced myself to stay in bed for a good recharge and fell out of bed about an hour ago, having dreamed about the new shed I'm going to be building later this week - how sad is that? I need to get a life!

Shortly I'm going to walk to the workshop across the fields in the beautiful Spring sunshine to tidy the place up and make space ready to unpack in a couple of days.

I really hope it's a good firing, I want my best pots ever for the Derby Boys show on Saturday - at least one of our lecturers from twenty odd years ago is coming and I want him to be proud of me - I'm really looking forward to seeing him/them.

So, new pots soon, or gloom and doom, but time will tell, watch this space............


Ron said...

Doug, I hope it was the best firing yet. Hopefully all the changes will be for the best. Nice to see Joe there, gosh he looks much older there than I had him pictured, maybe it's just been awhile since I've seen a good image of him up on the blog. Glad to hear you gave yourself some rest today too. Look for me on Skype later if you have the time.

ang design said...

it's getting to be a crowd scene firing at your place.. my cousin was just over from the UK it was great to catch up, so maybe a trip next year your way, i'm def thinking about it...

Sister Creek Potter said...

Oh, my gosh, the life of a "real" potter is very hard. If you did not love the work you could not survive. I am pulling for a great kiln opening! Good luck! You've earned it! Those tall pots are wonderful.

potterboy said...

Can't wait to see the pots. Might try and get down on Saturday if I can.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Good luck with the firing, looks like you've been busy!
Just had my tea off a BIG plate, now sitting having a beer from a BIG tankard. Really enjoying using the pots.....and that is what they're for really.
Doubt if we'll get down to Winchcombe, we have building work happening at the moment and no money left, but hope to see you at Buxton. Let us know if you want to stay over, we're about 40 minutes away. You'll be very welcome, but don't worry if you get a better/closer offer, we won't be offended....

Dave (& Sue)

Paul Jessop said...

Hi Doug, got the invite for saturday but unfortunatley we wont be able to make it, if it was in the evening we would have but my workshop is open till 5pm on the sat and the sunday these days. good luck with the firing all sounds as if it's well under control.

Beth said...

I love the detail on your pots and as a total novice potter, I think having someone to help is fantastic. I wish there was that opportunity up here. I shall have to ask around, what a great learning process.