Monday 27 July 2009

Stuff from the last week

It's been a busy few days, hence the lack of blogging. Also there's something badly wrong with this computer - it takes an age even to open an email.

Anyway, here is a selection of pictures of what's been going on during the last week. These pots will be going with me to Art in Clay in Hatfield, where I'll be meeting up with Ron and Sarah Philbeck - I'm really looking forward to that.

Tomorrow we're off on our hols for a week, so this blog's going to be quiet again - I probably won't get a chance to update until I get back from Hatfield. Take care all, be happy.

Tuesday 21 July 2009


Here's a picture of my friend Clarkey in his recording studio on Sunday, adding a whistle track to a composition for the film. I don't know what'll be used yet, some of it even had bagpipes on.

In spite of my lack of clay pictures, I have been making pots, but forgot to take any photos so I'll do that tomorrow. Instead, here's Hil puttying my windows - she's a dab hand with a putty knife is my Hilary.

Different Dave came by today and took out the old 'window', which was a piece of perspex screwed to the wall.....

.....and replaced it with this window that I bought from the local recycling centre for a fiver - bargain! Not only does it look a lot better, but's made a huge difference to the light in the workshop.

It'll be great to have a window that opens and I get a much better view across the field to the woodland opposite.

The workshop's been such chaos while all this stuff's been going on. I want to try and get it a bit more sorted before Ron from the States and Ang from Australia come in a few weeks time.

Friday 17 July 2009


Sgrafitto puzzle jugs - these things take for ever, none of them is finished yet.

I used old mottoes taken from antique jugs. The one on the right bears the following rhyme that I particularly like, taken from an old Halifax jug:

From Mother Earth
I claim my birth
I'm made a joke for man
But now I'm here filled with good cheer
Come taste me if you can.

Different Dave came by yesterday and knocked the wall down that was separating the kiln shed, from the new extension.

The weather's been disgusting and the floor is slime in the new bit - next job will be to cover it with concrete, but that'll have to wait a while, pots to make, holidays to take.

Earlier in the week I received the first rough cut of the film that Alex McErlain has been making at my place. It's good to get an idea of what it's going to be like, although it's horrible hearing my voice on there - makes me cringe. On Sunday I'm going to be recording some background music that will be added to some of the film sequences.

That's all for now - not a very good week of blogging, it's been a busy one with friends from up-country staying just up the road, so we've been spending some good times with them during the evenings, in fact we're off to see them in a mo as they're cooking for us tonight, yummy.

Good weekends all.

Monday 13 July 2009


Some pots at last! These are some puzzle jugs that I made last week and slipped this morning. They're all going to bear traditional mottoes and sgrafitto decoration. I've made various other pots, jugs, a tyg, mugs etc. These will all be ready in time for Art in Clay at Hatfield House, next month.

My good friend Matt who owns Hollyford, employed my boy Luke last week to fill some of the huge holes that have appeared in the lane that runs to the few dwellings and my workshop. I was so proud of Luke, it was a great sight to look along the lane, to see him there with a shovel and a barrow, doing his first real work other than working for me. He moved ten tonnes of chippings during two days of sorting out the drive. Today Matt employed him again to split logs which he'd never done before and he soon took to the axe without difficulty.

Then he got to work cutting back the edges of the track with a strimmer. He's going to be working at that for a few days to come. He's growing up really fast that boy.

More pots tomorrow.

Sunday 12 July 2009

My ugly mug

I've been sent a few pictures lately from last month's events, so here's a selection of them.

These two pictures were taken at The Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey, by Susanne Haines of Dartmoor Magazine.

This shot(showing my classic crooked English smile), was also taken at Bovey by the owner of these jugs - thank you Kevin.

Tom Skeen's girlfriend Alis took this one at the Slipware weekend at Taena. The silly hat was keeping my head warm after my recent haircut - I hadn't seen my ears for five years until a couple of days before the picture was taken.

These were taken by Karen Edwards during my demo at Rufford.

Thank you all.

Tuesday 7 July 2009


I really do need to make some pots as Art in Clay is fast approaching, but I'm still allowing shed building to distract me. Luke's been helping me, it's been good to have some time together. He's not done much of this kind of thing before, so I've been teaching him skills like hitting big nails really hard with a hammer.

We got the end wall of the kiln shed finshed today. It looks a bit odd on this picture, it's the angle of the camera I think/hope.

It'll be great if it's dry tomorrow, we've had torrential rain for the last two days, so everything's disgustingly muddy underfoot. If it is good weather tomorrow, Luke's going to be cracking on with painting the new bits. I may even get some making done, then this might revert to being the pottery blog it's supposed to be.

Happy Wednesday eveybody.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Fundamentally floored

Finished digging the floor out yesterday, so all set for breaking the wall down, then concreting the new floor next week.

It's been like an archaeological dig. I unearthed the cover for my chainsaw blade - hadn't seen that for ages, the world is a safer place.

I dug up lots of pots shards from the first few disasterous firings at Hollyford, when brown, bloated pots were flung in fury, through the window. There were some shockers. These lids are pretty dodgy - heavily thrown and carbon bloated, while other pots had the life squeezed out of them and were thrown ridiculously wafer thin.

The more earth I have to remove from the floor, the more new flowerbeds I have to create to accommodate it, not that that's a problem, I love my little garden. This one will hold a fruit tree which I hope to buy today.

A weekend off, no shows or rushing about all over the country, hurrah!

Wednesday 1 July 2009


It was a bit hot for digging today, so I didn't start until this evening. Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow with a bit of help from Luke.

Marky Mark and I did manage to finish the roof off however - hurrah!


Hello again everybody.

Well I'm back in Devon after a wonderful few days in the Nottinghamshire sunshine. I had a thoroughly good time and met up with many of my pottery chums and got to make some lovely new friends too. It's been a hectic month - three shows in four weekends, so we've seen a fair bit of each other lately which has been great. This was an inspiring weekend and a top quality show that still remains my favourite event of the year.

In spite of the long hours and the many miles of travelling, the highs and the lows, successes and failures, the hand-to-mouth existence, I can't imagine ever doing anything other than make pots for a living, even though sometimes I kid myself that I could(I was all for giving it up a couple of weeks ago). I like the people I meet in the world of ceramics, too much to ever leave it.

The sun shone for us this year, the last two years we have endured torrential rain. A lot of pots found themselves new homes, thank you so much to those who bought them and thank you too, to those who didn't but took the time to talk about and understand my work - that's just as important.

My camera batteries went flat pretty much straight away, so I've pinched these pics from a couple of other blogs.

The first two here are from the remarkable wood turner and carver, Robin Wood's blog, check out his beautifully crafted work and interesting commentaries, if you haven't already.

Robin is the motivation behind The Heritage Crafts Association, which sets out 'to support and promote heritage crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage.'

Please follow the link and take a look at the site and if you will, please sign up to be a supporter of this important cause,(which is free). Thanks to Robin, the plight of our craft heritage is now the subject of debate in Westminster.

My good chum Blogger Andrew took this shot of crazy potters, left to right Blogger Dan Finnegan from the States, Arwyn Jones, Toff Milway and dear ol' Paul Young. A lovely bunch of chaps bless 'em.

In spite of my fears before I left, my demo seemed to go fine. There were quite a few folk there, so I didn't look past the second row, where Andrew and Hannah were sitting. This picture was also lifted from Andrew's blog, you can find more shots from the show there of various potters' work and also brief a video clip from my rambling demo, which I apparently delivered with my flies undone - oops.

It's taken a while to get back to this blog. On Monday I was helping my friend and photographer Johnny Thompson to erect a huge prefabricated studio in the baking sunshine and yesterday I went to Plymouth to deliver some pots to the Artmill Gallery. I'm part of a group exhibition called Draw, Print, Fired, Inspired. It opens tomorrow night, 6-8, drop by if you can.

Well, this won't do, I'd better pull my boots on and get to work. Marky Mark's coming up later, it'll be good to catch up with him. I've much digging to do today, removing earth from the floor of my new sheds in readiness for knocking the doorway through on Friday with Different Dave. It's a heatwave here at the moment, so not ideal conditions for such labour - oh well, better than rain I think.

Have a lovely one everybody, catch you soon.