Sunday 18 April 2010

A week of many presents

It's been delightful sunny weather in Devon recently, although everything's covered in volcano dust.

I've had a really busy few days hence the lapse in blogging, so here are a few pictures of stuff from the last week.

The workshop, with the garden in full bloom. The daffodils have been stunning - they seemed to be a long time coming, now they're on their way over and will soon make way for hollyhocks, roses, evening primrose and summer flowering bulbs. They always look so messy for a while when they die down, but for now, they're still providing a cheerful spring display.

I've been a lucky boy during the past week.

When Alex came down to the conference last week, he brought a present with him - a new bench for the workshop garden.

I used to have a bench and it became part of my routine to sit on it first thing in the morning, with a cup of tea and a sketch book, to plan the day's make, but the bench fell apart and I hadn't the cash to replace it.

Here are my chums Heather(needed a girl to read the instructions!) and Johnny who called by, putting it together for me. Now I can resurrect the old tea/drawing routine, hurrah!

Another pressie!

My friend Jeff came over on Tuesday and delivered a little package. He'd been away for the winter in New Zealand with his wife Stella and while he was there, had spent an most enjoyable few days with my blogging chum Peter, who looked after them very well. Peter sent me this lovely shino glazed mug. Thank you Peter, I love it, I'm very pleased to be the lucky owner of one of your pots. Suffice to say, it's seen some good service already.

Hopefully Peter's going to come and make some pots with me at some stage in the future. The wonder of this world of blog still amazes me.

Alex came back down from Manchester on Tuesday. He's curating an exhibition of slipware at York Museum later in the year and came to make a series of small pots, made and decorated to demonstrate the various slips and techniques associated with the slipware process. We started off by digging grey clay from the stream and red clay from the woods. The native clay hardly requires any preparation, just a few stones and twigs that need pulling out, then it can be wedged, kneaded and thrown on the wheel.

Here are the pots, a set of each in grey clay and in red clay, white over black slip, black over white, applied deco, leaf resist etc etc. They will be partially glazed to illustrate the effect of glazes upon the slip. Some will be fired to high temperatures to show what happens.

Here's Alex throwing on the Cardew kickwheel. He's an extremely good potter - way too modest about his skills. A while ago he wrote an excellent book entitled The Art of Throwing which has recently been reprinted in a paperback format.

It's full of fantastic images, old Winchcombe pots for instance, all the type of work that gets me excited, so it's a great buy for makers and collectors alike. You can buy it here.

Alex also made a number of pots for a collaborative project that he's been working on with textile artist Alice Kettle. Alex has part decorated them. After being fired, Alice will add further embellishment to their surfaces with gold lustre. It'll be an interesting contrast, gold applied to earthy Devon slipware.

Even more presents, in the form of two wonderful books.
Thank you Tim for the book about the Donyatt excavations and also the medieval shard found on the banks of the Thames, now added to my shard collection in the workshop. I used to have this book, but loaned it to somebody and it never came back, so I'm delighted to have a new copy - it's such a good resource book.
Recently I met the author at Blogger Paul's place. By coincidence, I had just made a puzzle jug, based on the 17th century ones made at Donyatt that are featured in the book.
The book on the right is a lavish volume featuring the work of celebrated photographer Garry Fabian Miller, who came to the workshop last week and kindly gave me this book. He's a fascinating man, I enjoyed meeting him.

The aforementioned puzzle jug - this will have sgrafitto decoration.

And another pressie!
Some sloe gin from Heather - since polished off this weekend. It's been the Folk Festival in the village with people travelling from all over the country to sing and play and dance in the village's two pubs, so we had an unusually boozy weekend, sloe gin and real ale that was funded by a seconds sale that we set up on trestles outside the house.

There were a lot of unusual hats and costumes

and Morris dancers galore

I told my boys that my good friend Nic Collins and I have talked about joining a troupe - you can imagine how pleased they were with that idea. In spite of their cynicism, I reckon it looks like a lot of fun and an important part of our folk heritage that should be preserved.

Here's a video of some of the Morris dancers outside the Ring o'Bells this afternoon

Ah, that makes me so proud to be British ;-)


Congresburypotter said...

What a great week you've had Doug, with glorious sunshine to make things even better! I love the pot pictures, and the ones of the folk weekend,especially the morris dancers. Can imagine you getting on really well in a side! I was down in Moretonhampstead on Saturday, WPA visit to Penny Simpson - really enjoyable. We were supposed to be seeing Show of Hands play in Bristol that evening but unfortunately it was postponed due to illness - if only I'd known there was good music goin' on just over the hills!!!

Paul Jessop said...

Looks like a great week. I wondered where that bench had gone? I love sitting outside your place drinking Tea and talking pots and Potters.

Anonymous said...

what a week doug... sloe gin and morris dancers, really like the video

John Bauman said...

I gotta get over there some day.

Shi said...

Would love to read the book you have mentioned. Nice blog.

ang design said...

oh one spoilt chap indeed, must check out that book does alex have a throwing dvd if not he should!! hope the gin wasn't too dry....mmmm