Thursday 21 July 2011

Leafy tiles

I've been decorating tiles for a commission. It's an entire leaf resist panel that is going to a beautiful 17th century manor house. The leaves are from the surrounding woodlands of the manor. It's going to look mighty pretty I think. I plan to fire the tiles in the wood kiln and I'll place them throughout the chamber, so that they get different amounts of flame and temperature and as a result, a variety of tones from the same glaze and slip.Here I am, sticking the leaves to the tiles.
Here are some of the tiles - sorry it's a blurred picture.
I'm off to Holland on Sunday for a ten day family holiday, so it's been a busy time, trying to get everything finished. Not just pottery, but also the demo we've been recording with The Love Daddies.

Take That have nothing on us eh girls? Hmm.

I have to record two bass parts tomorrow evening so that it can all be mixed down while I'm away.
The painter Lucien Freud died yesterday. He's my older boy Luke's great hero, so Luke's understandably sad. Freud was the first painter he studied - you might be able to see his influence in Luke's most recent self portrait.
And here's Luke.

And this is Joe dressed up for the school ball - he'll go crazy if he sees that I've posted this picture!

I'm very proud of my boys.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Joey the tile maker

Joe's been helping me out in the workshop today. I'm trying to teach him some stuff and it's given him a chance to earn a few quid.

The boys used to come to the workshop and make stuff when they were little, but in recent times, there's been little attraction for them to spend time in a shed in the middle of nowhere.

A while ago, our village bus service was cut (by bureaucrats who have probably never caught a bus in their lives), so it's impossible for the boys to get work outside of the village. It works well for them to earn some money doing jobs at the workshop, and it's been really helpful for me to have Joe there today, blending and pugging my clay.

Today we went down to the stream and dug out some more native clay for Matt's tiles and he learned how to remove all the rubbish and then knead it into a usable condition. I want to start training him up on the wheel soon, so this is a good starting point.

Today, he also learned how to make tiles in the Wenford tile mold.Here he is packing the mold
and wiring off the excess
pushing out the tile
and trimming the edges
Completed tiles, toughening up in readiness for decorating next week.

Friday 15 July 2011


I've been making tiles for a couple of orders all week, pressed out in an old tile mold that I got from Wenford Bridge.

This new toy arrived today - here's Matt checking it out. He's making floor tiles from the clay in the field for some work he's doing in his house.

So Matt, Marky Mark and I have been digging clay from the riverbank. I've been processing it by hand - digging out the worst of the stones and twigs, which are surprisingly few and far between, then lots of kneading.

It looks like this when it's dug out

And this is what it looks like when it's sliced................
.....and then kneaded.

This weekend Matt's going to help get the blunger up and running. I have many tonnes of clay in a big pile in the field and the equipment that just needs installing. The blunger weighs over a tonne, so it's not all that straightforward, but Matt has a forklift which he's going to get running tomorrow, so if all goes to plan, I should be self sufficient in beautiful, plastic, musty, native clay, by the end of the summer. That will be amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!

Happy weekend all

Sunday 10 July 2011


Here are some pictures taken during the past few days - I'm afraid they're in no particular order.
The village play finished last night. I thought you may enjoy seeing this picture. I played the part of a policeman, who winds up playing the role of a cat in a very badly staged pantomime - all very confusing - it was a very funny play. Here's a synopsis I pinched off the web.

'Out of Focus' is set in the annexe of a church hall. An unfortunate over-booking results in a gathering of a wonderful mix of local characters, ranging from the Vicar's wife to a man intent on delivering a talk on steam locomotives to anyone who will listen! They eventually unite to try to produce a pantomime but, as rehearsals proceed, alliances are formed and switched as the opening night nears. Events culminate backstage after the final performance'

.So that's that now until panto rehearsals start in early autumn. Much as I love doing drama, it's a relief to have finished for a while, as it takes up two evenings a week with rehearsals plus all the extra time, desperately trying to learn lines. It's all been a bit much, but I'm pleased I did it, they're a good bunch of folk.

Here's my muddy wheel. I put this picture on specially for my friend Katrin, who will most certainly not approve of my filthiness. It's the way I like it though, sorry KM.
The workshop's pretty tidy at the moment though - by my standards anyway.
This is a view of one end of my 'showroom'.
and here's the other end.

Shiny slippy shiny stuff
Sweet, fragrant roses in the garden
My boy Joe pugging clay. He's been doing some work for me recently - it's great to have him prepping the clay as it means I can just get on with making the pots.
Another view in my showroom. The painting is by my friend Heather.
The latest shed addition. Luke's using this end of it as a painting studio for the summer - he's turning into a great painter. He left school a few weeks ago and is off to college to study an Art Foundation course in September.
More flowerbed stuff, outside the showroom.
Tidy kilnshed. The saggars came from Wenford Bridge and were made by Michael Cardew for the huge double chambered kiln there. I don't use them much as I have a square kiln, but one day I hope to build a round bottle kiln and then they'll be very useful. As it is, they're just lovely things to have around.
Tall baluster jugs, drying.
Marky Mark throwing yesterday, for once not clad in lime green
Sloppy slippy finger wipes

Flowers in the window

Slipedy slopedy slip
Dribbly slipedy slopedy
A row of them.

Congratulations to Hannah, who has just finished a sponsored cycle ride from Manchester to Blackpool. If you'd like to donate to her cause, you can find a link on her blog, here.

Right, off out for a spot of Thai cuisine with Hil and the boys. I haven't eaten Thai food since a long car journey to Virginia with Dan a couple of months ago. I wonder how Exeter's version will measure up.

Happy Sunday all, bye for now.

Thursday 7 July 2011


Phew!!!I need a beer!!!

Wednesday 6 July 2011

A few pots from the last firing

Two blogs in one day! Here are a few pics of pots before bedtime. I just got home after a terrible dressed rehearsal - tomorrow's going to be a disaster!This puzzle jug is the biggest one I've made and was decorated by my chum Frank. He even composed the rhyme.
It features an old fellow in a tavern, challenging two characters to try and drink from his puzzle jug
He has a beautifully drawn dog with him which unfortunately you can't see on these pictures
It's a great bit of work, there's no doubt about it - I'm looking forward to doing more collaborative work with Frank.
Here are mugs performing acrobatic feats
A chubby 8lb jug
An 8lb jug with an oak and ash design
This is a crazy pot - lots of stuff stuck on it, one of those you'll either like - or not
I was pleased with this one
and this - I don't make all that many tapered jugs, but five out of six of these came out pretty. I'll put more pictures up of the others on a later post.
This is a tall, slender baluster - I'll be making more of these for the next firing.

Well that's all for now, I need to go to bed and get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's, ready for tomorrow's opening night. Goodnight all