Tuesday 30 September 2014

Since last I blogged.......

Hello all

Well since last I blogged, lots has been happened, so it's time I got round to writing about it!

We left Scotland over three weeks ago and headed to Derbyshire and The Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival. This event is the only one of its kind in the country, where functional pots and food are exhibited alongside each other. It's now in its third year and is growing and developing. Last year was terribly wather affected, but this year the sun shone and the people came and bought lots of pots.

I didn't take any pictures, apart from this. I was at college with these guys over thirty years ago and we were all reunited for the first time at the Festival. It was great to see them all and no doubt we shall all meet again.

So we've been back in Devon for a while. Hannah's been in London at a show too, so busy, busy as ever.

This weekend just gone, we taught a workshop at Kigbeare, near Okehampton. We've demoed together before, but it's the first time we've ever taught together, so we were nervous at first. Everything fell in to place though, helped by a lovely group of people who wanted to soak up as much knowledge as they could. The accompanying exhibition sold lots of pots, which was fantastic and sent us scurrying back to Hollyford to make replacements.

I made this jug as part of the demo and brought it home to finish it. It's another one of those pots that I've got carried away on and it's taken hours. I'll finish it tomorrow and slip it bright green. I do regret starting these sometimes as they take so long

Hannah struggled to get going today, before she made six of these lovely jugs. It's sometimes difficult working in one another's workshops, as the equipment, surroundings and very often the headspace are completely different. I often really struggle to make pots in Scotland and the only thing that one can do in that situation, is work through the failures and frustrations, until it starts to flow. We're trying to reorganise both of the workshops to make both spaces feel like they belong to both of us, but it all takes time that we don't have at the moment.

Well I'm worn out, so I'm going to sign out now, back soon. Goodnight all. 

Friday 12 September 2014

Wardlow Mires here we come

We're off tomorrow to the Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival in Derbyshire, come along if you can make it.

 We've been quite frantic in the workshop today, trying to get everything finished. This is a 6lb jar, drying in the sunshine.

Hannah decorating one of her little tripod jugs.

All the pots will be dry enough to pack in the bisc kiln before we leave, so they'll be ready for wood firing when we return to Scotland in a few weeks time.

We'll be in Devon now for a few weeks, doing things down south. I'll keep you posted.

Happy weekend all

Wednesday 10 September 2014


We unpacked the kiln yesterday. There were a couple of duffers, but generally, it was a great firing.

We probably overpacked the front a bit - we always do, in a panic to get everything in that we can. All that happens is that the pots near where the flame enters the chamber, block the path of the flame to the pots at the back and they remain underdfired. But otherwise it really was a very successful firing.

Some of the pots are packed up ready to dispatch to London today for a photo shoot for Homes & Gardens magazine, Here's Hannah getting them ready to send. Here are a few snapshots. I'm afraid my photography skills aren't up to much.

 3lb jug
 One of Hannah's beautiful jugs
 Richness of glaze
 Thistle jug
 8lb applique jug

 Another lovely one of Hannah's
 Birdie plate
 This one's off to the photo shoot in London today
 More rich glaze, mottled from the wood firing
 Tankards destined for the food festival at the weekend
 8lb applique jug
 8lb applique jug
Thistle jug

Here's a short film of the unpack

Sunday 7 September 2014

Job done

It was a beautiful day in Dumfries and Galloway yesterday, perfect weather to be under a huge beech tree, firing a wood kiln.

We started at 8 a.m.

And finished at after 10 p.m.

It looked, from what we can tell at this stage, pretty good. We have to wait until Tuesday to find out.

During the early stages of the firing, I was able to find the time to model the rooks on to the top of this moneybox. It was great to be able to stand beneath a tree, watching the real thing flying around in front of me. I took this picture before I cut the slot in the front.

By the time we'd clammed up the kiln, headed home and unwound with a hot bath, it was 1 a.m. and we collapsed in to bed, completely exhausted.

There's a lot hanging on this firing as it contains pots for the Wardlow Mires Pots and Food Festival next weekend and for our joint exhibition in Castle Douglas, next month.

Today is another beautiful day, the sun's shining and my achy body has just pushed the lawnmower round the front garden. Hannah's in the kitchen baking a courgette cake(sounds wrong, but is very right!) as her Mum and Dad are coming over shortly, it's smelling good already.

It's time to go outside now and enjoy the spectacular view with a cup of tea in the back garden.

Happy Sunday everybody.

Here's a video of our firing day, I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Firing time

We packed the kiln today. We had a lot of other stuff to do, pots to finish, a trip in to town, so it was late in the day before we got properly started.

Just as we'd finished packing and bricked the door up, the sky turned an amazing array of colours and it started to rain, as you can see in the snapshots below.

Hopefully it'll be a dry day tomorrow, we're hoping to start early(ish!).

I shot a tiny bit of video, it's still uploading, so I'll wait until the morning to post this. Off to bed now to try and get some sleep before the big burn up tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Friday 5 September 2014

Nothing, then two in a row!

Hello all. Thank you for your kind comments on my previous post.

I've been pretty tired today after my broken night, but I got some stuff done.

These are six pound jars. I want to make some ten pound ones next, but I think it'll be a while before I get back to the wheel as we're in firing mode now.

Tomorrow we pack the wood kiln in readiness the firing, which we'll start early on Saturday. Here are some of the glazed pots. We've got way too many for this kiln load, so it's a great head start for the next firing which we'll do on our return from our travels of the next month.

The countryside here is stunning at the moment, with much activity in the fields, tractors and combines whizzing along the lanes, taking full advantage of the dry weather. I want to try and get some of these green stripes on to my pots, maybe even today's jars.

This was tonight's view from the back garden.

This is an old deisel pump on the farm where the workshop is. I put this on for my chum Al, because I know he'd like it.

And here's a selfie we took on our way home from work this evening. Happy potters.

Back later with pictures of the kiln pack. Meanwhile, here's the moving version of the pictures above. Bye for now

Thursday 4 September 2014

Insomniac's ramblings

I can't sleep, so what better thing to do at a time like this, than write a blog post. We're working in Scotland at the moment, which is stunningly beautiful. We've been here a few weeks now, making pots for a wood firing on Saturday. It's taken me a while to settle in to the rhythm of making, it always does when we come here and I know it's the same for Hannah when we work in Devon. We've both worked on our own(with occasional visitors) for ten years and our workspaces are set up to suit the way that each of us works best. Hannah prefers for instance, to have the wheel looking out across the room, while I can only find my focus, by turning it to face the wall. I hadn't realised just how much difference this makes until I moved the wheel the day before yesterday and suddenly the pots began to flow again.

These jugs won't be ready in time for the wood firing at the weekend, they'll be for the next firing in a month or so time. This kiln load are pots for The Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival in Derbyshire, where we'll be exhibiting a week on Saturday. With fifty potters and lots of top quality food, it's well worth a visit if you're able to get there.

My lovely Dad is very poorly at the moment, which is one of the things that's keeping me awake at this hour of the morning. I hate being so far away from my parents.

That aside, life is very good. Hannah and I have a very special relationship and we love each other completely. She is the sweetest, kindest woman and an amazing potter and I relish every moment in her company. We have a wonderful life together. This is the view from our back garden here in Scotland. Our Devon home is beautiful too. We'll be heading there after the Food Festival for a few weeks.

I left this jug drying last time we were in Devon. It's for an exhibition in October, at a gallery called Designs in Castle Douglas. It'll be our first joint exhibition in Scotland and we've been pulling out all the stops to try and make it a really good show.

While we're down South, we will be presenting a weekend slipware workshop at Kigbeare, near Okehampton. I think there are still a couple of places available, so if you fancy having some fun learning some slipware techniques with a bunch of enthusiastic people, in a beautiful setting, follow the link here.

I suppose I should try and get some sleep. There are still a couple of hours before the alarm goes off. I'm making large lidded jars today in the workshop, I'll post some pictures later. In the meantime, here are four little films that we made in recent days here in Scotland. Bye for now

Thursday 3 July 2014

Stuff, Pottery Stuff

Thank you all, it's good to know you're still there. Thank you to everybody that came to Rufford and bought our pots. I really enjoy Rufford, it's always great to catch up with potteryheads and to meet some new ones too.

This is what our stands looked like.

For me it felt like I'd found my feet again. This time last year, everything in my life was in turmoil and I'm sure that must have been evident in my work. This year I've taken a lot less on, as I completely burned out last year with all that was happening in my life and a heavy schedule to sustain in some pretty adverse circumstances. It's a gamble taking less on, because I run the risk of not having many places to sell my work, but it just seemed sensible when application time for shows came around, to take a step back and re-evaluate what I'm doing - my work needed it. So far I've survived and the next couple of months are about to become busy.

On 13th and 14th September, we will be selling a new range of domesticwares at the Wardlow Mires Pottery & Food Festival in Derbyshire. This is the only show of its kind that I'm aware of in the UK, where the only pottery for sale is functional wares.

On September 26th/27th, Hannah and I will be delivering a masterclass weekend at Kigbeare. There are still a few spaces left, so if you'd like to learn a bit more about what we do and how we do it, here's an opportunity.

There are one or two other things in the pipeline that I'll tell you about nearer the time. Hannah and I will be working long hours to fill wood kilns for these events. I hope you'll follow our progress via our youtube channel where we'll be adding little videos of the pots being made and fired.

Today we're about to jump in the van and drive to Hatfield House, to this year's >Art in Clay, where Hannah has a stand and I shall be her tea boy.

Here's today's little film of stuff we've been up to during the last few days in Devon. Happy weekends all, if you're at the Hatfield show, please come and say hello.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Is there anybody there?

I don't know whether anybody still follows my blog, it's been such a long time since I wrote it.

These are some really exciting times, traveling backwards and forwards between Devon and Scotland with my wife to be, Hannah. We spend our lives working the long hours that it takes to scrape a living as a potter, but we love every minute of it. We're making plans for our future together, which is going to be amazing.

Tomorrow morning we'll load the van and head off on the long journey to Nottinghamshire and the Earth & Fire show at Rufford. During the last few days we've fired the wood kiln twice, the firing that we unpacked yesterday, being the best ever. It's a lovely problem to have, that we both had too many good pots to take with us. Here are a couple of little films of the kiln being unpacked. If you can get to Rufford, pop by and say hello.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Catch up

I've got really behind with my blog once again. In fact since my last post, we've spent time in Devon, been up to Scotland and now we're back in Devon again.

Here is a series of little films that'll show you what we've been up to.

I'll try and get more organised and keep up with things, so hopefully I'll be back later.

Happy Thursday everybody.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Jars and lids

Good morning
The sun's shining again in beautiful Devon and the birds are singing their little hearts out, it's that time of year. Maybe I need to practice a little song for Hannah when she comes tomorrow? Maybe not! She'd be straight on the next train home. I am so excited about seeing her and I'm looking forward to enjoying a cup of tea together in the morning sunshine. It's a simple pleasure and one of the best. I know that I probably go on about it too much, but she's very cute and I love her a lot.

I worked another long day yesterday and managed to get the jars and lids made. They'll need decorating today. The dry weather speeds things up because I can dry pots in the sun between coats of slip.

Today if I get the decorating done, I might make some bowls. I keep meaning to, but then I get distracted and end up making jugs and jars instead.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'll get myself off to work. Have a lovely Sunday everybody, bye for now.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Friday blog

Good morning

It was a late night again last night, but at the moment I'm enjoying making pots so much that long hours are good fun and really not a chore.  I could have happily worked all night.

I'm counting down the days until Monday, when Hannah is coming to stay for a few days, I can't wait to see her. After that, we'll head back up to Scotland, via Nic's exhibition at the Goldmark Gallery. I love Hannah and I love sharing my life with her, every pot I make, I make for her - she's turned me soft in my old age!

Here's another talkie from yesterday. The sun is shining again and I'm off to work on some lidded jars.

Happy Saturday everybody

Friday 14 March 2014

It's a talkie!

Morning all

The sun shone yesterday and Spring came to Hollyford, which inspired me to tell the world all about it!

It makes me feel good.

Thursday 13 March 2014

The big tapered jug with crazy decoration

Good evening
Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. I'm back in Devon now and have just finished a very long day in the workshop. I'll not go on now as I'm tired out. I finished the big tapered jug today, here's a little film. Check out Bernard and his best friend Digger, they're so sweet together
Goodnight all


Monday 10 March 2014

Monday waffle

Hello all
I'm away from the workshop for a few days at my parents' place. I'll probably be heading back to Devon tomorrow afternoon.

Fortunately I haven't got a very full calendar of events this year, which allows me to fit in these visits to see my folks. In some ways I should be worried not to be booked up, last year I pretty much knew my calendar a year in advance, but to be honest it's a relief.

Apart from anything else, it's wonderful to be able to take time develop my work, I just have to hope that I can sell it somewhere! I'm carrying on in the(possibly misguided!)belief that if I can make pots that are good enough, that somebody will want them.

Potting feels so much more enjoyable at the moment and I'm sure it must be visible in my work. Last year was crazy in so many ways, my personal life was a mess, I had to chase around the world and I only survived with the incredible support of good friends. I feel like I'm well and truly back on my feet again now and able to move forwards with strength and confidence.

Spring is coming and I've got through the winter, relatively unscathed! Of course my sweet girlfriend across the Border has a lot to do with it. She provides a constant source of inspiration and emotional support and makes me very, very, very happy.

One of my amazing friends is Andrew 'Frank' Grundon, artist, illustrator, poet, jug scratcher and signwriter extrordinaire. It was he that scratched the design on the beautiful Diamond Jubilee Jug. He has painted this fantastic sign for a pub in Somerset.

It's based on a photograph our photographer friend Claire took of us outside my workshop. It's brilliant, I hope to go and help him fit it and maybe sit beneath it to drink a pint of Westcountry cyder!

Here are three little films below that I made last week before I came to my folks'. One is a rambling talkie, the other two, just the standard quickies.

Back soon when I return to deepest Devon

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Chubby jugs

I made fat bellied 8lb jugs yesterday. Off to Reading today to take Joe, my younger boy for a university interview, then to my parents'. Back soon

Thursday 27 February 2014

Big jug

Evening all

Well I made a big pot before I left this morning. It's a replacement for the one I messed up last week in Scotland. It'll stay under wraps until I can get back to it next week - hopefully I'll not knock the top of this one!

Back in Devon

I'm back in Devon now. Hannah had some commitments in Scotland and she's still up there, so I've been working alone and missing her of course. I love working with her, we make a great team.

These little jugs came out of her kiln earlier in the week. They take ages to decorate.

 The sunshine is grumpy on account of all the rain we've had lately!

Here's a little film of yesterday's workshop action.

I made some mugs before we went North and they were still wrapped in plastic, awaiting handles and sprigs when I got back here, so that was my first task.

My showroom is very sparce and I'm gradually working my way through a making list that contains every form that I produce. At the moment I'm still distracted by tapered jugs, which I want to make in several different sizes - today's are 3lb.

They'll be left under polythene for a few days, as I head to my parents' place later this morning. Sadly my sweet Dad is very poorly.

Bye for now