Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pots, pictures and presentation.


My friend photographer Keith Dowling recently spent time with me in the workshop and took some good pics. Keith is a talented photographer and works hard at getting engaging images of the landscape particularly around our beautiful Barrow Valley.


I’ve sourced boxes  lately  and am hoping they will enhance the presentation of my teabowls. They are medite which is not ideal but they are precisely made and will suffice until something better comes along. I will need to get ribbon to finish them off.


I’ve been making slipware bowls now as I need to build up stock after the Christmasas . I will make lots of different things and won’t worry too much about when I might fire them. If I need something in a hurry I will use the electric kiln otherwise things will wait for the next woodfire. Weather is not very enticing for out of doors yet so I’m staying close to the stove. bowls1

Blue skies and pots.


Beautiful bright morning with clear blue skies.  A different world to yesterday. Poked around the garden in the morning. It seems a pity to to turn one’s back on it.

Our snowdrops are making a brave effort but they are are always tardy in our garden.


The forecast for the next two weeks is horrendous with oceans of rain set to dump on an already saturated ground. Thanks heavens for my refuge and the wood stove. The pots will be piling up.grass

Rain and teabowls

tbowls1Where is the rain coming from? Storms in off the atlantic every other day, nothing for it but to light the woodstove and get stuck in. Good days for making teabowls on the kick wheel . It’s surprising how they pile up when one is not counting. I’ve thrown them ‘off the hump’ i.e. throwing a number of pieces off the same hump or ball of clay. Because you haven’t weighed the clay for each piece they can vary in size and form depending on where your heart takes you.  They will all be brushed with a variety of slips to encourage colour and shine in the kiln. It may be some time before they are fired and I’m in no hurry on that score. I will just let the stock of work build until the lack of space becomes an issue.

All of these pieces are made of a mix of white and black stoneware clays. The black clay has a lot of rough grog (fired crushed clay used to add texture and reduce shrinkage). closeup

Dark days of winter.



I’ve always struggled with the dark days of Winter and January has not not been kind. It’s the absence of light that really gets me. I think I’m a S.A.D. victim and hanker after blue skies. For therapy  I’ve resorted to interior decorating and have embarked on a decluttering and reordering project in the house. I’ve painted the dark brown dresser and bookcases and lightened things up. I’m very pleased with the result.

Over the years I’ve got into the habit of rushing too much. I think that came from my double jobbing life where time always seemed to be scarce. Recently a penny dropped in my head and I realised that I needed to break that habit and slow up. In the workshop I’ve been making teabowls on the kick wheel. The kick wheel makes you work to a different rhythm. The wheel turns slower by necessity.  You use softer clay to make the kicking less taxing. Your mind has more time to consider and it comes out in the pots.  Most of the teabowls are made in a white stoneware clay to which I add about a third of iron rich gritty clay.  Some of these bowls will be fired in a saggar in my small Phoenix kiln. Others will be fired in the Glencairn noborigama. bowls2