October and What to Do.



The first day of October. I‘m just back from a very pleasant break in the beautiful city of  Madrid where I saw lots of the traditional majolica for which Spain is so well known. The piece left was seen in the Museum of Decorative Arts which is worth a visit.


Sometimes you have to force yourself to get away from the workshop to restore the energy levels. Ten days is usually more than enough to push me back on the wheel.

This is the time when I brace myself for winter which I hate. It’s not so much the cold or wet but the low light. I’ve always needed blue skies to lift my spirits. So time now to plan my Winter strategy. What will I make? If my labours are successful where will I show the work?  

Recent firings of my little train kiln has encouraged me to focus again on teawares – the Chawan, Unomi, Hanaire and Mizusashi. Enough there to challenge. Form -Colour -Surface. The first is the most difficult to get right. You search for Form on the wheel and that search is informed by all you have seen. It’s all locked away in the subconscious. The lightest touch on the soft clay as it spins on the wheel is instantly registered.


You watch the line from foot to rim as the piece is born. Always looking for that spark which brings it to life. Later as you turn the stiffer clay of the foot you are mindful of the overall profile, the proportion of foot, height, rim and of the final heft or weight of the piece. 

I also plan to make some bigger pieces in slipware and in particular some hump moulded platters which will allow for painted decoration.

I will need to get more timber from the mill so that it has time to season over the coming months. This is a laboursome job that I don’t look forward to.