Monday, 7 November 2011

Kiln building in reverse, or now you see it...

... now you don't!

Not quite cleared, but it got too dark - what's left are the lower bricks that are fused together.  I bought 990 hard bricks and 300 HTI bricks 3 years ago, and they've been through a series of kilns.  But this one has had its day and I wanted to get the remaining HTI bricks in the barn before the winter comes (I have less than 200 left - many cracked and half bricks.)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

House and Pots.

For those not in the know, I am currently working three days a week back in the office world of IT.  It's paying the bills and allowing me to spend four days a week doing other things.  At the moment, since I have pulled out of Potfest Scotland, I am doing some of the garden chores.  So this weekend I created this space:

Doesn't look that impressive, except to do it I had to fill this:

Anyway, the place still looks a mess, but it's a bit better.  Here's the view of the kiln - you can see my extensive national collection of nettles (interlaced with a variety of willowherbs - a smashing combination.)

Well, I got some plants in to pots too - here's the window where the building rubble used to be:

And at the back door, a herb garden in pots.  I'm going to have to make some big pots for plants - I don't like the plastic ones much - they're functional and not undecorative in their way, but not what I'd like.  Anyway, the wind is picking up here - so I expect to find them scattered everywhere at some point.

Anyway, i am still making pots, although not as many.  I still do one day a week in Hunstanton, and have found that I can get pots home if they are allowed to dry out a little too much.  Some survive, some don't.  I've more or less decided to halt the earthenware experiment for a bit, so I can get a wood firing going at some point.  I never managed to fix the glaze peeling/shivering issue and after throwing a whole lot of pots away of the last few weeks, i've decided it's a waste of time.  But here are a few recent efforts.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Today I've been in Hunstanton demonstrating at the craft centre - Le Strange Old Barns - named because of the Le Strange family, it's not some silly faux franglais.

Well, I threw about 100 lbs of clay plus, as some of it I threw twice!  Heres some mugs and bowls and a platter made by beating the clay like Brandon demonstrated a few weeks back.

I did a bigger one but it had that ridge that Brandon talked about - looks like it slumped.

Anyway, it has been warm and I lost a lot of pots to the sun.  I did handle and slip the mugs that survived the journey home, which wasn't that many (most of those bowls perished.)

Well, I sold a pot while I was there last week, and sold a pot today, but sold nothing in between.  Early days though.  I didn't have to top up the stock anyway.

All in all, though, it hasn't been a bad day but not a great one either.  The car is starting to play up a bit - feels ever so lumpy to drive - and during yesterday (in the daytime) I fired this big jug hoping to take it along today:

Looked ok at first, but, naturally, the glaze/slip has peeled from the handle, and it did this:

which I think is due to glazing it whilst it was piping hot - lots of glaze inside at the base.  It isn't that great a pot anyway, but still, it has cost me nearly 40 pounds to get it this far (clay and materials plus two firings where it was the only pot - the one during the day yesterday was expensive, but I normally fire at night with cheaper electricity.)

Right, exhausted now.  Need to hit the supermarket, and make food - muscles hurt too - wish I had a bath!  Ho hum.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Nics Goldmark Show.

Spent the morning, and a bit of the afternoon at Nic's show at the Goldmark gallery.  It's fantastic - well worth a visit if you're in the area, or even if you're not.  Lots of stunning pots - ranging from small guinomi up to large jars with blue glass streaming from the handles.  Simply great to see, and nice to see so many red dots!

Of course, all the important people were there, including Ducky.

It was lovely to see Nic and Sabine and Elsa again, and to run in to a whole bunch of other folks - Doug, Tony, Brian, Paul Y, Kate W, Matt B, and others.

Anyway, here's a bunch of pictures that don't really do the pots justice, but it gives a flavour.  The booklet is excellent and of course, the film of Nic is the Goldmark's best yet (although i would say that.)

This next pot has been through about 20 firings - including a few that I'd been involved in.  The porcelain bowl stuck to the side is one of Tonys, I think.  Someone bought it - I hope they enjoy it, it's a stunner.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Nic Collins - a portrait.

This has appeared on-line - it's great.  Sums up Nics passion for pots - the passion that inspired me to woodfire, and taught me more about pots than anyone else has, probably.  Really looking forward to going to the show tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sunny Hunny.

Spent the day demonstrating at the Le Strange Old Barns in Hunstanton, or Sunny Hunny as it is colloquially known.  I had a bit of a panic this morning, as I had to pack up a load of pots to take with me.  Here's the display:

This is the space I get for my pots.  It isn't as big as I'd thought it was - which is just as well because when i packed up the pots, I found many had blown their glaze or peeled.  Even the black slip is showing signs, which suggests I haven't actually fixed any of my problems.  This is all pretty demoralising.

Anyway, it wasn't very busy, but I did talk to some people, including a couple of fellow Anglian Potters members, which was great.  Everyone was friendly.  I sold one pot, which was good, although the cost probably didn't cover my petrol costs in the end.  But who knows what'll happen - it is only Wednesday, and it was raining.  The pot I sold is heading to Boston, I think.

I'm there again next Wednesday, then the Wednesday after that, then the following Sunday.

Here are a couple of big jugs I made the other day:

Trying to make some that are less like Doug's jugs.  The top one is pretty heavy, the next one...

has a scroll which I pulled off the bottom of the handle.  It's slightly less fat than the first, but uses less clay, so it feels better.  Anyway, I've slipped them - fat one got a pattern, the second one will get oxides blown on to it - something I'm enjoying doing.

Here's the one from the other day:

All leafed up, with stuff from the garden - dead nettle, clover, creeping cinquefoil and some member of the apiaceae - probably just cow parsley.  A bit plain, but it'll do.  Of course, they have to get past drying out (S-cracks) and bisquing next.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

I was supposed to be making stock...

... and I have been.  Here's three 3 lb mixing bowls I made yesterday and slipped today.

and today I made three 5 lb mixing bowls - bigger and flatter.

But then the clay came out in big chunks and it just seemed right to do something bigger.

Well, i think this is better than my last effort, but it still isn't right.  I didn't belly the body out as much as the last one, but also, i threw it without ribbing the living daylights out of it, so it has some nice throwing rings.  It's about 18 inches tall, so the throwing in two parts thing really does work.  But that transition where I added the neck still is slightly wrong.

I quite like it though, but, as I said before, it is very like the ones Doug makes - or it is to me - and that worries me.  I will deco this with leaves, but try and find a take on it that Doug hasn't used.  It's difficult - I know it's all about the tradition and all that, but I don't want to tread on toes.

Of course, it might not survive.  I blew the last one up when i bisqued it!

Spring is underway here, and we're now on British Summer Time, which means that although it's 7.30pm here, it is still light outside.  My garden is an absolute mess, but at the same time, it is packed with flowers, from tree blossom and daffo-down-dillies, to mouse ears, bugle and speedwells.  Lots of insects and spiders about.  Nice.