Tuesday 23 October 2012


Evening all

My mood is so different tonight. It is so different that it makes me feel like a bit of fraud. It's like I'm living in a completely different world now, one that was unimaginable only yesterday - even this morning. I know exactly what my problem is. I hope it doesn't come back any time soon, that was a dreadful few days.

Thank you for helping me through, for your comments, your emails or for simply tolerating me using this place to pour my heart out.

The big jug I made yesterday. Tomorrow it will be given a coat of green slip.

I'm off to bed

Goodnight all

Monday 22 October 2012


Good evening all

A brief post to let you know that I'm gradually getting back on my feet again, still feeling not quite right, but in a much better place than I was last week. Thank you for all the love and support that you have shared with me.

This morning my day was brightened up by a surprise visit from my old buddy Simon Hancox. We were at college together nearly thirty years ago, it was great to see him and it got the week off to a good start.

I finished off the cider jar, it took pretty much all day.
And got these jugs top coated, finished and drying on the bench.

It's tricky getting the slip on to these pots and I end up with more on myself and the workshop floor than I do on the jug. Much mopping was required afterwards.
Before heading home, I made another big 16lb jug. I thought it might be good to have a green one to go with the others, so I'll start decorating it tomorrow.

Short but sweet
Happy Tuesday everybody

Friday 19 October 2012


Thank you all so much for the kind comments, it's reassuring to know I'm not alone, I'm only sorry that so many of you feel like this too.

I still feel pretty rubbish, but it will pass soon I hope.

Anyway, I'm not going to moan on tonight. I want to show you what I've been doing today, then I'm off to bed because I'm exhausted.

After a difficult start to the day, I gradually began to feel a bit better and as the day went on I kept myself busy, finishing off these big pots.

A photographer friend came by. We're working on a project together which I'll tell you more about in due course. I enjoyed her company and we achieved some really good stuff.

I'm afraid you'll have to wait to see her work, the pictures below are my rather less sophisticated snap shots.

I should be feeling more excited about these pots than I am, they've kept me going, I think that they might be some of the best pots I've made.

Tomorrow, I'm decorating a cider jar which is for an order. Once it's finished, I'll need to start making again.

I have some ideas of the things I'd like to make, so I'm going to throw myself in to my work with full vigour and try not lose any momentum.

These pots are for an exhibition in Castlegate House Gallery in Cockermouth, Cumbria, which opens next month.

This one is a 14lb jug
Wet slip, as ever, is the best stage of the process.

The two jugs in the foreground are 16 lb. I tried to make them as fat as I could.

There are a couple of little films here. The first is edited highlights from today, the second is an unedited film of drawing grasses on to the 14 lb jug

Well I must get some sleep.

It was a real surprise to me that so many people read my post yesterday and I'm greatly touched by the things you said, thank you all for kind words of support, I appreciate it very much.


Wednesday 17 October 2012

Kiln half empty

Good morning

It's about time that I updated this ever erratic blog.

I'm having a late start today as I was awake in the early hours, swallowing little pills to fend off a migraine attack and I've only just surfaced.

Life has settled down again into a new kind of normal since Luke went away to college. Thank you all for the comments that you left on my last post, they were really appreciated.

The fact that we hear from him so infrequently, tells us that he's having a great time.

With all the communication systems that the modern world brings, it would be so easy to bombard him with emails and phone calls, but tempting though it is to do that, this is his time.

As the killer line says in this poem that my Mum sent to me when he went, 'love is proved in the letting go'. I miss him though.

I've been fighting a bit with depression recently - not really terrible, I wouldn't be able to write this stuff if it was really bad, but unpleasant enough. It comes to me now and again, making my stomach churn with feelings of crippling anxiety and my confidence hits the floor. My day becomes a series of deep sighs that say everything that it is impossible for words to explain.

I need to get on top of it, the negativity is self perpetuating and I lose motivation and self belief. I can little afford for that at the moment, with deadlines looming. It just compounds the stress.

I've made quite a few pots, but all I can see are the spaces between them on the shelves that are still to be filled. Maybe I'm expecting too much of myself?  It's a tall order trying to make all the things that I want to make, in the time scale that is available. I only seem to be able to work by setting myself ridiculous targets, which means that I always set myself up to fail.

Life experience has taught me that I have to just keep on going and work my way through it to drive these feelings away. Replace the negativity with a positive mental attitude.That has always been my message to friends who have been in the same boat, so really I have to set an example and stick by it myself, difficult though it is. Sometimes it's much easier to give advice than to live by it, but I know it's either that or give up, so I have to keep going.

I know that I'm really fortunate to have this lifestyle and I appreciate that, so what do I have to feel depressed about? I work in a beautiful place and I'm lucky that people seem to like what I make, enough that they want to have it in their lives and that is amazing.

But this isn't about being grateful or ungrateful. Depression in my experience, is an irrational (and self-indulgent) feeling that casts a darkness over everything, however wonderful the circumstances may be.

Other sufferers will understand where I'm coming from and there will probably be those who don't understand, who will just think I should be happy with my lot and stop  moaning. The tough thing is, I know that the latter is true, but that doesn't seem to help.

There doesn't need to be a reason to feel this way, it is, just how it is, and therein is the problem, there is no root cause to treat. It doesn't make any sense.

I write this, not looking for sympathy, or even a response. Sharing it feels like part of the purging process, and writing it down is helping me think my way through it. I won't be defeated and it will pass, I've been here often enough to know. Don't worry Mum when you read this, I'm fine.

Tomorrow I might well be high as a kite, that is just how my brain works, which must be a nightmare for  anybody who is close to me. Thankfully they still love me in spite of it, I suppose it's just what makes me who I am, for good or for bad. I do try and keep a lid on it, I wish I had better control of it all.

Please excuse this stream of gloomy consciousness, I did say that depression is self-indulgent. This post was supposed to have been about the pots that I'm working on at the moment, but it's gone to a different place. Maybe I'll do that one tomorrow.

Marky Mark is coming up this evening and we'll work late. He's a great friend and over the years he has never failed to keep his eye on the long term vision of the workshop, when I so often lose sight of it all. This stuff is so hard to do alone. We'll turn the music up loud and have a good time.

I feel much better for writing all this down, thank you for listening, I hope I haven't made everybody miserable. It's time to put my muddy clothes on now and head to work and concentrate hard at finding the focus, energy and enthusiasm to pull myself out of this hole. I know that it's down to me to do it.

I might regret hitting the 'publish' button and sharing this with the world, but what's a personal blog if it's not about sharing the truth?

Ah well, here goes