Wednesday 29 February 2012

Bowls, dishes, tiles, mugs........

Good morning all. It was another long day yesterday and the same again today. I'll have company this evening from my good buddy, Marky Mark. Teapots didn't happen, nor small plates, but I made a few dishes and some tiles for an order.

Lots of finishing and decorating to do today. There's not time to make much more for the wood firing, so soon I'll clear the decks and set about glazing everything in readiness for the big burn next week. I'd like to try and make a few hump molded dishes before then though - maybe today if there's time - we'll see. I'd better get to work or nothing will happen at all, unless the pixies have been round in the night.

Happy Wednesday all

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Monday on Tuesday

Yesterday was along one - I finally left the workshop at 10pm. It was good though and I got a whole lot done. My intention was to make some teapots, but I got distracted by making jugs and bigger bowls - maybe teapots will happen today. It's going to be late nights all the way this week.

I'm really enjoying blogging again. There was a time that I found it hard to keep up with because I'd be so exhausted after a day in the workshop, that my mind wouldn't function properly. I've taken to doing it in the mornings now, when the house is empty and my brain is recharged - it's so much easier.

Here's a shabbily thrown together film of yesterday's action. I must get around to buying a new camera so that I can put some stills on here - I know not everybody likes the video format and to see me moving around, frightens the children.

Well, I'd better get to work.

Have a lovely day my blogging chums, catch you later.

Monday 27 February 2012

Saturday and Sunday on Monday

Good morning and a happy Monday to you all.

Well the last few days of making for Art Fair Tokyo are upon me. My assembled team will be firing the wood kiln next week. There are still quite few things that I have to get made, so it'll be a case of putting the hours in this week. To bring you up to date, here's some stuff from the weekend.

On Saturday I went on a rare visit to Exeter. I rarely venture in to the big City these days - there's nothing much there for me. New clothes? Don't like 'em. Haircuts? Don't do them (well only twice a year and it''s not warm enough yet). Shelf brackets from the Army Surplus store on the other hand - ah now we're talking, that's proper 'man- shopping'. Ooooo, lovely new shelves in the kiln shed, hurrah!

After the excitement of the Army Surplus, I took myself off to The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, allowing Hil to visit the various boutiques and boot shops that Exeter has to offer, withou a grumpy old man in tow.

The Museum boasts some wonderful pots and unlike some museums, they allow photography of their collections. Here's a little film of some of the medieval pots and the North Devon slipware that are in the collection. There's also a little something by the Martin Brothers on there for the benefit of Dan. I could spend hours in that place - come to think of it, I did - how time flies when you're having fun.

Yesterday I went to work, accompanied for the morning by Marky Mark. It was a beautiful day, after a chilly start. The birds were enthusiastically proclaiming tales of the imminence of the Spring. I don't think they were fibbing, it's definitely coming, woohoo!!!

Well this won't do, I'd better get to work, there are teapots to be made. Have a great week everybody, catch you soon.

Saturday 25 February 2012


It's been a busy day today, I got loads of stuff done. It's late and I'm tired, so I'll let the video tell the tale.

Goodnight all

Thursday 23 February 2012


Well it's taken me all day to get yesterday's pots handled and the bowls from earlier in the week, slipped. I didn't even get the lids made for the jars I made yesterday, so that'll be tomorrow's job.

I'm feeling a whole lot more positive at the moment - I always struggle in the winter, my confidence hits the deck and I start to question whether I have the ability to do this stuff. It's so much easier to spend all day alone in a shed with a positive head.

Here's a short film from my day today. I'm going to buy a new camera next week so I can get back to posting some stills.

Goodnight all


Evening all

I had a good day today - long, but good. Marky Mark came up after work and we stayed on until about 10 o'clock.

It was good to get back to making some familiar forms - 3lb jugs and six pound jars. I'll make the lids for the jars tomorrow. There are still things to make for the Tokyo shows, but I feel the need to make a few larger things now to fill the kiln chamber quickly, then I can go back to making smaller things with a sense that some of the pressure is reduced.

It feels like I've been working really hard, but without much to show for it. Everything I've made recently has been small and fiddly with lot of turning. Most of it has been bisc fired now and is in little stacks in the workshop. This is the worst stage - the pots just go flat and white - the decoration on some just becomes invisible. They'll all come back to life and reveal their secrets again soon, with a covering of glaze - that's always the exciting bit of course.

I'm firing the kiln in a couple of weeks - I'm nervous about it, there's a lot hanging on this firing, so it needs to be good.

Happy Thursday all

Tuesday 21 February 2012


I finished turning bowls today, then turned footrings on some little cups that I threw yesterday. These will all be decorated tomorrow. I wanted to get some more pots made today, but it took all my time to finish up yesterday's make. Late night working tomorrow with Marky Mark, so I should get plenty done.

Here's what today looked like.....

Bye for now

Monday 20 February 2012


Hello all
Well I've been back on the wheel today, making even more bowls. I can't be far off completing the run of fifty of these that I'd like to make for my next firing - I'll do a count tomorrow and then move on to something else.

These ones were decorated before I went away last week. The one on the left is covered in black slip, the dots are clay from the field. The one on the right will be green.
Unfortunately this is the last picture my camera will take as the on/off switch broke after I took this shot, so there will be no more stills for a while until I can afford to buy a new one.

Here's yet another bowl throwing video - tomorrow, hopefully I'll be making something different, so I may be able to show you something more interesting!

Sunday 19 February 2012


Hi folks, thanks for your votes :)

Well I'm back home in Devon after a busy week of travelling.

I had a great time at Hannah's place and it was lovely to see her and Alex. I hardly took any pictures while I was there(she worked us too hard so I didn't get a chance), but there are plenty on Hannah's blog. Here's one of Alex and Hannah packing.

The chamber gobbled up a good number of pots.

Hannah lighting the kiln. Her firing turned out well and she was happy, so that's fab. Unfortunately we had to leave before it was unpacked, but check her blog to see the treasures from her chamber. I got home late on Thursday night. I wish we didn't all live so far apart. I'll be seeing Alex again soon, when we fire my kiln in a few weeks.

On Friday, Frank came to stay. As well as being a traditional signwriter, he's an illustrator and puppet maker. Thirty years ago, when we were teenagers, we went to see a Jim Henson film together called The Dark Crystal. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the film, it was being shown in Exeter, as part of the Animated Exeter Festival. There are some great pots in this movie! Yesterday Wendy Froud, the woman who made the puppets for the film, presented a workshop, showing how she makes her characters - it was fascinating.

While Frank was here, I took advantage of his great lettering skills and got him to sgrafitto some text on to a couple of jugs that I've made for an order.

These will be glazed yellow, using my traditional glaze.

A busy week ahead, I've a lot of pots to make. Bye for now

Sunday 12 February 2012

Love Daddy Rock

Hello folks
Well I haven't got to Scotland yet as there was a slight change of plan, so I'm back in Devon now after a lovely visit to my parents' place over the weekend. I'm heading off early tomorrow morning to Alex's house, then on from there to Hannah's. I'll have covered a few miles by the time I get home on Thursday.

Here's something not related to pottery, but to another major vent of expression which is really important in my life, my band The Love Daddies.

My son Joe just stitched this video together. He's a bit of a whizz on computers, (although he was unable to make any of us look any prettier I'm sorry to say). I'm always left baffled when I see the way youngsters can find their way round these machines.

We're trying to get a gig in Exeter, supporting the singer songwriter Graham Coxon. I'd be really grateful if you'd follow this link and then click the 'Like' button or Tweet button to help our cause. Of course we'll remember you all in our wills when we become an internationally renowned rock stars. Hmm, that might take a while, so in the meantime, I won't give up the day job. Thank you :-)

Back soon with blogging from across the border - how exciting.

Bye for now

Friday 10 February 2012


Hello folks

I'm writing this blog from the comfort of my parents' house in Bedford, which is my first port of call, during a week of travelling about the country. It's a journey that will culminate in an adventure across the border to visit a certain red haired potter, with whom I'm sure most of you are very familiar. See clue below.....

On Sunday I'll head off from here to Bolton, to stay with Hil's family for a night, then across to Alex' house on Monday morning and we'll travel up to Scotland together from there. Note Hannah clutching a hot water bottle, it's a lot colder up there - I've packed my thermals!

It'll be great to see Alex and Hannah, I haven't seen either of them for a while. We're going to fire Hannah's wood kiln on Wednesday, which will be very exciting.

So I got everything finished off in the workshop this morning before we left - actually these particular ones were decorated yesterday as the video below will show.
Here are some I made earlier.

So on to the video.

I walked to work yesterday as Hil's car was in for repair and so she had mine. It was a bright, cold, winter's day, but absolutely beautiful. I need to walk more often. The Devon countryside is such an inspiration, whatever the weather.

Well that's all for now, I expect my next blog will be from the frozen north.

Happy weekend everybody.

Thursday 9 February 2012


Morning all
Koichiro, the owner of the Gallery St Ives in Tokyo asked for some photographs of the inside of the workshop for use in some of the publicity. My camera is so full of dust these days, that everything has a soft focus.
More bowls, thrown off the hump on the kickwheel.

Fingerwiped decoration.

Yesterday's video is much the same as the the ones from last couple of days(but with a much more abrasive soundtrack) - more turning of footrings on even more bowls - there would have been other stuff, but my batteries went flat.

There will be even more bowls to turn today, but not until after an invigorating walk to work through the cold Devon countryside. Hil's car is having some work done today, so she has my car and I have my feet. Well I'd better get out on those lanes and see what excitement lies in store for me on my journey. I consider myself so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

Happy Thursday to you all

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Bowls, jugs, slip etc etc etc

This is a brief post as I have to get going in a minute and as ever, I'm running late. I'm going away on Friday for a week, so lots of stuff to finish off - more about that later.

An 8lb jug.
and some more which I decorated yesterday.
These are some bowls which I threw off the hump yesterday. They're bigger than the ones I made earlier in the week. I really enjoy doing them - I'd like to have fifty of them in my next wood firing.

The bowls I made on Monday, with turned feet.

This evening Marky Mark's coming by and we'll work on in to the night. Well I must fly now, lots to do today.

Hollis, please give my love to Janet and Betty and all at the coffee shop, I wish we lived closer.

Have a good day everybody, bye for now

Tuesday 7 February 2012


Hello everybody
Well I've had a few frustrating days since my last post. The tail end of last week I felt dreadful and so took some time off to get myself better. I feel fine now, I think I needed to recharge and shake off the man flu.

Yesterday I tried again to make more of the large harvest jugs that were causing me struggles last week and yet again, failed. I realized after several attempts and much pugging, kneading and cursing, that my difficulties were due to the new tonne of clay that I recently took delivery of. Whenever I get a new batch of clay, it's sticky and lacking in strength, as it needs time to 'sour'.

I don't turn any of my jugs, they're 'thrown to finish' and so the clay needs to be absolutely right in order to be thrown to the optimum thickness - this stuff is puddingy and flops too readily. So for the time being, I've decided I can waste no more time trying to make these big fat jugs.

The little film shows a batch of bowls that I threw 'off the hump' before I went home last night. I enjoyed making these, and it felt liberating to throw this way, after a day of struggling trying to make something of a specific size, from a specific weight of clay.

Today I'm going to carry on making lots of small stuff to send Japan - it won't fill the kiln as quickly as the big jugs, so I'm just going to have to make a lot of it - I'd better get busy.

Have a good Tuesday everybody

Thursday 2 February 2012

Big jug

Well I was really rough yesterday, waking in the morning with not only man flu, but a migraine too. I treated the migraine and went back to bed to sleep it off. I did get to work, but not until 3.30 in the afternoon. I was keen to see Marky Mark for our weekly workshop night. As it turned out, I just slept on the workshop sofa, but it was good to get there, to talk some rubbish and light the fire to keep the harsh frost away.

This morning the roads were so icy, that I got stuck half way up a hill. Fortunately one of the locals with a big truck was there to tow me to the top of the hill. The little lanes don't get gritted round here any more.

I only managed this one big pot today - I lost another four. Sometimes it just doesn't happen. I'll try again tomorrow - I still feel quite exhausted from the migraine, so a good night's sleep will help no doubt.

Here's a little film from today
Goodnight all