Saturday 18 April 2015

The Love jug

Before Hannah and I got together we had been best friends for years.

We'd been to the States together to do demonstrations, made numerous pots together in each others workshops, fired wood kilns together, looked out for each other, looked after each other, talked to each other about slips and glazes and brown pots and Issac Button and medieval jugs in the V&A in wonderful phonecalls that would last for hours.

A couple of years ago, I came to Scotland to visit her. She had made a big jug which was sitting there still wet on the shelf. When I looked at it I could see the culmination of influences from the tradition that we celebrate, but more than that, I could see a synthesis of the two of us.

It's difficult to explain and I don't know if this will make sense, but upon seeing that pot, it struck me that we had grown together so much in our work because we had grown together so much in our lives.

We are obsessed and focussed potters, we live for our art, it is all of us. This jug was both of us, a shared perception. It seemed so clear to me that there was no way that we couldn't be together. So I told her!

I told her that one day this pot would be on the top table at our wedding.

She didn't believe me, (or was actually completely freaked out!) and sent me home to Devon.

I knew full well that we were in each others heads and hearts and that we had become a massive part of one another's conscience. We made our pots for each other, (it was like flirting with clay!). I knew I was in love with her and I also knew that she was with me.

We didn't speak for a few days - that hadn't happened in years, but the silence and the distance were so important - this was what life would be like without each other.

I sat in my workshop and thought about that pot and wrote a poem. I've never written a poem for anyone before and it's no great literary work, but I saw that jug as an analogy for us and it represented in my eyes, our at oneness.

I wrote it out in my best handrwriting and posted it to her.

We spoke on the phone, we laughed, we cried, I told her I loved her, then I asked her to marry me. A very shocked Hannah asked for some time to get her head around it.

I asked her to keep the jug for me and again promised that one day I would decorate it for our wedding.

Two weeks tomorrow we will be married. The jug, with its love poem will be on our top table and Hannah will be beside me as my wife. I love her completely. Great poetry it isn't, but it says it all.

Our wholeness, our consciousness
Proclaimed within a brown clay jug
Our Earth, our clay, our harmony
As  integral as marl and grog
Our slip, our glaze, our synthesis
Layered, shining bright and bold
Our kiln, our fire, our burning light
Our tale of Love set in stone..

Friday 17 April 2015

Busy busy

Hello folks

With just a little over two weeks to go until our wedding, things are as busy as ever in the workshop. We've a lot to do if we're going to be able to take any time off and we're determined that we'll get a few days away on honeymoon, so we're putting in the hours at the moment.

Hannah has been remaking the orders that she lost during our glaze troubles. She's an extraordinary production thrower and has almost completed the making, now she has several miles of sliptrailing to do to finish these pieces.

We worked late last night. The racks are almost full.

I've been making more of these candle holders, larger than the last ones I made. I've also been scratching away at another sgrafitto jug for our wedding, but that's a pot with a story, so I'll save it for another post.

There are bisc fired pots piled everywhere.

We had hoped to fire the wood kiln next week, but we're postponing the firing until after the wedding.

It's glorious weather, so we'll be drying pots in the sunshine again today.

We're away to London on Saturday to visit Ceramic Art London.

Back later, happy Friday all

Friday 10 April 2015

wedding jug number 2

 We're settling back in to work in our Scotland workshop. It's been glorious weather, hence the pots drying in the sunshine. These pots are the order that I've made three times, the last two batches failed due to a glaze flaw, which we think we may well have resolved, so we have our fingers crossed.
 Today I finished scratching this jug which will be used in the church for flowers on our wedding day.
 Hannah made the jug and I decorated it.
 There are only three weeks to go until our big day
All very exciting!

Saturday 4 April 2015

Wassail and wedding pots

We've come to the end of our stay in Devon for a little while. We head to Bedford for the weekend to see my Mum, then on from there, to Scotland to make pots, fire the wood kiln and of course, in four weeks time, to get married! It seems strange to think that next time we're here we'll be husband and wife.

During the past few days I've been working on this wassail pot. The last one I made cracked, which was very frustrating, as it took ages. This is a replacement and will go in the wood firing in Scotland in a couple of weeks.

It's inscribed with an old English wassail poem,

'Health to thee good apple tree
Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls,
Peck-fulls, bushel bag-fulls'

It was a nightmare to slip, each of the birds has to be really well fixed on

It's survived the bisc firing and is all packed up in the van, ready to head North in the morning - lots of bubble wrap required on this pot.

This is a jug that Hannah made. I'm decorating it to go with the big jug in my previous post, to hold flowers in the church on our wedding day. We're hoping to make a collaborative pot for each of the window sills.

They take an awfully long time to decorate, there's still a lot to do to this pot before it's finished.

It carries both our signatures, as you would expect, Hannah's is rather neater than mine!

We're still having problems with our glazes. As you can see in this photo, it keeps 'shivering' off the rims and handles. We've tried all sorts, changed the glaze recipe, changed the firing temperature and lots more, but still we're losing lots of pots. It's frustrating and financially crippling. Fortunately the technical man at Scarva is working on it and thinks he can make our glaze 'fit'.
I had to work late in to the night last night to yet again re-make this order of two handled loving cups. It's the third time I've made the order - at least they get better each time, practice makes perfect and all that, but I really hope that these ones come out successfully.
Happy Easter everybody, back soon from over the Border.