Tuesday 31 January 2012


Today I carried on from yesterday, decorating drinking bowls. It seems to be taking forever to make a kiln load of pots this time around - everything is small or flat. I still have a lot of small pots to make to send to Japan, but I'm stressing about getting a kiln full of pots in time for the firing deadline. Here's a link to an album of pictures of this month's production.
I decided I should take a bit of pressure off and make some bigger pots. I felt back in my comfort zone today with these 8lb jugs. I'll make some more tomorrow, or maybe some bigger jugs if I feel well enough. Man flu is coming over me this evening, so I'm feeling sorry for myself. A hot bath and an early night is called for I think.

Here's a short film from today

Goodnight all

Monday 30 January 2012

It's behind me

Happy Monday everybody

I went to work on Saturday morning. Marky Mark came over and we spent a few hours sipping tea, talking rubbish and decorating pots. These are some basins that I fingerwiped.
And some shiny, dribbly slip on a jug.
Saturday night was the final performance of the pantomime, Cinderella. I enjoyed it all very much this year, nevertheless, it'll be good to have my evenings back again now that it's all over. It's a huge commitment, with at least two rehearsals a week for several months. I played the part of a baron, although I look a bit like an ancient member of some dodgy re-formed, '80's New Romantic band!

Here's a little film, showing Saturday's workshop activity and the 'it's behind you' scene from the panto. I wonder how much sense it will make to you folks across The Pond. We're very easily pleased, we Brits!

Have a lovely day all, I'm off to work to make some big fat jugs, woohoo!

Friday 27 January 2012

Keith Maskell

I took Luke to his college interview yesterday. During the day I was remembering back to when I was his age and my Dad took me to my interview in Derby.

I recall being very nervous, but was soon put at ease by Keith Maskell, who was the head of the course. He chatted about the poorly-made, lumpy pots that I had taken with me, in the kind, encouraging manner, for which I grew to know him, before offering me a place. I was greatly saddened when I got home last night, to receive the news that he has just passed away.

He was a sweet, gentle man and a fine and ever-enthusiastic teacher. He profoundly affected my life and the lives of the many others who studied under him during his lengthy teaching career.

Thank you Keith for everything.

Thursday 26 January 2012


A day of turning and decorating today. Tomorrow I'll not be in the workshop as I have to drive Luke to Winchester for a college interview. Here's a short snippet of today's action.

Back soon

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Tuesday's pictures, Wednesday's words

Hello all
I should have been at work ages ago, but here I am blogging instead. I'm tired today, Marky Mark came up last night and we worked late. Here's what's been going on.

I've been busily making domestic wares for the exhibitions in Tokyo. These are some basins, which I'll be slipping today. I haven't made pots for food in a long time. I'm missing making big jugs - that'll be next week's task.

These are drinking bowls that I made yesterday. I'll go through them today and eliminate the dodgy ones. It was fun making these as they were thrown 'off the hump', rather than weighing out individual lumps of clay, which is how I usually work. I will be sending mugs to Tokyo too, but somebody told me a while ago that my mugs will be too big for general use in Japanese daily life and although I'll make some smaller ones, it seems relevant to me to be sending some drinking bowls. I wouldn't go so far as to us the 'c' word with all it's connotations - these are simply little bowls that can be used for drinking from.
Here are dishes, decorated in a sloppy slippy fashion with green, white and orange slip, over a black slip ground. The orange is made from the clay from the stream near the workshop an looks great on a black background. My trailing style is unashamedly squirty. I find the broken line more interesting that a continuous one - when it comes to circular stuff, nothing quite joins up, so you have a line with a beginning, a middle and an end - three for the price of one!
The dishes in the foreground will have white slip fingerwiped decoration today.

And here's the moving version.

I need to go to work, bye for now

Saturday 21 January 2012


Just in from the pub after the opening night of the panto, which went really well. Same again tomorrow night.

Here's a video of some stuff that happened today, which I'm pleased to say does not include any footage of this evening's performance, with my solo rendition of this

It does however show Different Dave wiring in my new lights in the 'showroom' - now I can sell pots after dark. It also shows my friend Heather decorating a wassail pot that she's made during the last week.

Bedtime for me now. Happy weekends everybody.

Friday 20 January 2012

Wednesday and Thursday

I'm running a bit behind with these videos.

Here's what happened on Wednesday.......

and Thursday.

Happy Friday everybody!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Pots by Ray and friends

I knew Ray Finch through his pots and in that respect, I knew him very well indeed - I've lived with them since I was eighteen. I thought you might like to see a couple of the treasures that I own.

This teapot was made by Ray at his son Joe's pottery in Wales, in the 1990's. It is unusual as it is a slipware pot - Ray had made the transition to stoneware in the 1960's, but revisited the materials and techniques, I would guess, for a bit of fun. His are the most fantastic teapots.

This tankard was made in the 1950's. I think this is really clever potting, as it stays true to its traditional roots, but also has a clear sense of the style of that era in design.

The next two pictures are pots that were made by dear friends of mine who worked with Ray at Winchcombe Pottery in the 1970's. This small dish was made by Alex McErlain in the 1980's....

and this tankard was made by Dan Finnegan last year. He gave it to me when Hannah and I visited Virginia back in the Spring. An example of the Finch influence, spread across the Globe.

I'm not saying this very well, but the point I'm trying to make is that I connect with these chaps because we understand the certain kind of pottery that Ray made - they are pots that are a part of each of us. I'm pretty sure that if it hadn't have been for Ray, that we would never have met. I have a lot to be thankful to him for.

Ray Finch

Ray Finch passed away today, peacefully at home aged 97.

I met Ray a good few times over the years, but regrettably I never had the chance to really get to know him well - I wish I'd had more opportunity.

I know a lot about him though, through close friends whose lives he has touched. He was a greatly loved and respected man.

He was an exceptional craftsman and I owe a huge debt to him. It was after a visit to Winchcombe Pottery many years ago, that I decided I wanted to become a potter. There's a bit of him in every pot that I make.

His spirit will live on through the hands and minds of the many, many people whose lives he has enriched.

Tuesday 17 January 2012


Marky Mark came up to the workshop at the weekend and helped me build a new bench between two of the wheels. I've been struggling to get going since I made all those jugs a couple of weeks ago - I feel like I've been falling over myself, so I decided to invest the time in organizing the workshop so that it flows properly. It's been through so many transitions in the past few years, changing when new equipment arrives or a new shed is built. This is the best it's ever been.

I have Adam Field coming over from the States to stay and make pots in a couple of months and the space needs to be sorted so that we can work together. I'll write more about Adam's visit later, it's exciting.

I think there are still a couple of places left for the demo weekend that I'm doing with Adam and Nic Collins in April - more details...... here

It was a delight to be able to go in to my clean and tidy workplace this morning. I got started making a few mugs, then a jug for a student who came to take some photographs and then a small dish, which I'll be making more of tomorrow. I need to start cranking out some pots now.

Life is busy at the moment. I've a rare night off tonight from pantomime rehearsals. Dress rehearsal tomorrow night, final rehearsal on Thursday, then opening night on Friday - I still don't know my lines, eek. Performances this weekend and next weekend, then after that..... well it'll be behind me :)

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Monday 9 January 2012


Happy Monday everybody.

I've been catching up with decorating the little jugs that I made this time last week....

and also some small tapered jugs that I made on, I think, Wednesday.

I'm a reluctant decorator, so they've been tightly wrapped under polythene since last week, until I could leave them no longer and had to get on with them before they dried out too much.

These were made from 1.5lbs of clay and are about 6" tall at a guess.

This morning I delivered my car to the local garage, about a mile and a half along the lane from the workshop. It needed an MOT test. The walk to the workshop was inspirational, I love living in the countryside. There's a sense of the season moving along now, with the flora enjoying the mildness of this year's winter. I shot a short film of today's exploits, I'll post it on here later once it's uploaded. Oh, the car passed by the way, which is pretty good, as it only cost me £100 a few months ago.

The next couple of weeks are going to be hectic. I'm taking part in the village pantomime again, which opens a week on Friday, so most evenings will be rehearsals. I still haven't learned my lines, so I'll be practicing tomorrow in the workshop - I hope I don't alarm too many passers-by!

Ah, here's the video it's just uploaded.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Tuesday 3 January 2012

It's a New Year!

Hello boys and girls and a Happy New Year to you all! I wish you all a wonderful 2012.

I got back to work today after a lovely Christmas break. It was just what I needed, I was feeling pretty burned out at the end of last year and it was a welcome rest. So today, I was back in the saddle/swivel chair and making pots again for what seems like the first time in weeks. Usually I'd start off a fresh making session by throwing my favourite thing, 8lb jugs, but I already have some of those made, so instead I got started with a couple of dozen 1.5 lb, dinky little jugs.

I struggle with small stuff, it uses different skills which I rarely practice, but by the last few, things seemed to be going along nicely. I have to send fifty pieces to Japan, for exhibitions at Art Fair Tokyo and Gallery St Ives, also in Tokyo. It costs a fortune to ship these pots round the world, so I can't imagine I'll be sending any of my big heavy pieces. I need to make a lot of small pots in the forthcoming weeks.

It's been crazy weather today, gale force wind and torrential rain. This winter we've only had a few frosts and none of those have been particularly hard. The flowers in the garden seem very confused by it all. I'm glad of it though, last year at this time I was unable to get to the workshop because we were snowed in.

Here's a little film I shot today at the workshop.

Late night working with Marky Mark tomorrow, I'm looking forward to that. Bye for now.