Post Potfest Post

Well, we only went and did it. Our first in the flesh as it were pottery show since November 2019. Potfest by the Lake at the beautiful Compton Verney was a joy. Thank you immensely to Matt Cox the organiser and all that were involved in the setting up and running of the show. The stands were placed in such a way that people weren’t having to stand on top of each other and yet we were able to converse with potters and public alike and catch up on much missed social interaction.

Charger For Our Times II. Photo credit: James Hazlewood.

To all of you who visited the show, a sell out on each day, thank you for supporting it and all the potters that attended it with your interest and custom. We can’t keep making pots if people don’t buy them and we are always grateful and appreciative of those who enjoy what we do. We sold a lot of pots and even delivered a late decision purchase once we were in Devon after the show!

A section of our display. Photo credit: Wendy Kershaw.

The kids had a lovely time there, space to run about, places to explore, people to talk to and in Pippin’s case, pots to sell. She had been making a whole batch of pots that she wanted to sell at the market and decided to give the proceeds to the local food bank in Castle Douglas. She raised ¬£70 which is wonderful and we will take her to deliver it next week.

We had a couple of days in Devon after the show, to visit the big boys, Luke and Joe. A joy to see them with the little ones and great to see the pair of them too. Then back home to a garden that has turned into a jungle in the time we have been away and a making list a mile long as we have been offered a space at the next and most local Potfest show at Hutton in the Forest, just down the road by Penrith. By local I mean it’s an hour and a half away but frankly that is close. We are looking forward to it, we have been showing at Potfest in the Park for a number of years, in fact Hannah has been doing Potfest shows in Penrith since 2003 I think it was. It will be lovely to be going back again.

Tickets for Potfest in the Park are again available online now, please book in advance to make sure you get your spot.

Long time no blog

To those who read our blog on the odd occasion that we actually get the opportunity to update it, thank you. It’s a regular conversation that we need to use this more but of course time is always the thing that is in short supply and inevitably this falls by the wayside.

Large plates slip trailed with flowers inspired by a small William Staite Murray vase. Image credit Shannon Tofts.

We are however busy making pots. We have had the realisation that Pippin starts school in August so our days of being able to down tools and head off for an afternoon picnic in the woods or a paddle at the loch or to build castles at the beach are becoming limited. So we have made the decision to grab those opportunities whenever we can while we can. They are, as everyone tells us, only small for such a short period of time.

We have just taken part in The Ceramics Congress, an entirely online event run over about 4 days, 24 hours a day, none stop pottery and clay wonder. We are hooked on it! We produced a film for the event which was, we only now discover, the opening film of it. The Congress is full of pre recorded demonstrations and workshops by a myriad of fabulous users of clay from around the world each followed by an hour or so of live Q and As with the makers. This year had Felicity Aylieff, Slava Leontyev Ukraine, Steven Edwards UK, Jin Eui Kim UK, Gedion Fernadez from Peru, KC Adams Canada, Craig Underhill, Ann Van Hoey Belgium, Rodolfo Sanchez Fierro from Mexico, Takeshi Yasuda UK/Japan. Oh honestly I would be here all night listing them all, each one passionate and generous in their sharing of techniques, tricks, traditions, materials and tools.

The Congress films will all shortly be available to find on The Ceramics School website where you can pay to view one or join and watch all as and when you fancy. Once that is all up and running with the 2021 films I will try to post the link on here too.

Now we are working hard to make new pots for Potfest by the Lake, a new Potfest show which will be held at Compton Verney in Warwickshire on June 25th, 26th and 27th. This is a brand new venue to add to the lovely Potfest family. We are looking forward to and somewhat nervous about our first physical show since November 2020, 20 months ago! For anyone interested in visiting Potfest by the Lake, or any of the other Potfest shows, tickets must be booked in advance (Covid of course) and can be booked on the Potfest website, link above. Pippin has been working hard too bless her.

We have lots of new pots ready to pack up and bring with us. We hope to see some of you there.

Trio of large applied decoration jugs. Image credit Shannon Tofts.

Back in the saddle

We’ve not got many pots made in recent days, because we’ve had a builder in the workshop. He’s built a new hearth ready to fit a wood burner, which will go in next week. As you can see from the video, Pippin thinks she has a new stage to perform on! It’s impossible to concentrate with all the building work, so we’ve been trying to get the place organised so that it will function more efficiently when we’re up and running again properly.

We did get making again today though, in spite of the chaos. Hannah threw a batch of plates for an order that is going to Paris and I made mugs on the old kick wheel that I rescued from Michael Cardew’s defunct pottery at Wenford Bridge in Cornwall. It’s the first time in several years that I’ve used the wheel, in fact, it’s the first time that I’ve thrown pots on it in Scotland. It’s great to be using it again, although it will take a bit of getting used to.

Life has been busy in the garden. I’ve always enjoyed planting flowers and the workshop beds and planters are just bursting in to colour. This year we’ve also started growing vegetables. It’s our plan to try and grow as much of our own food as we can, so we’re currently building raised beds, as well as tending a vegetable plot in the back garden. A chicken coop is on order and in the forthcoming weeks, we’ll be rescuing some battery hens and giving them a new free-range lease of life.

 

New film!

It’s been weeks since we uploaded a new film. There’s been a lot of building work going on, and we’ve been reorganising the workshop, so not many pots are getting made at the moment. Here’s a little film to show you what’s been happening. It also features Pippin in sweet voice, that I hope will bring you a smile.

Late night Wednesday

Evening all

A short post tonight because I’m exhausted and didn’t finish work until late.

First of all, thank you to everybody who has bought pots from our Shop page. We’ll be getting them out to you in the next few days.

I wanted to share a couple of pictures from yesterday.

We had to run an errand to Kirkudbright, so took the opportunity to give the little ones some time on the beach.

We’re fortunate to have a good sized garden, so lockdown hasn’t been too bad for them, apart from missing their friends of course, but they were so excited to have a change of scenery and to be able to run on the empty sands, it was lovely to see.

Today we’ve been¬†back in the workshop. Hannah’s been throwing mugs

I’ve been decorating a sgrafitto puzzle jug for an order.

Pippin and Fred have been playing space rockets in a box.

Tomorrow we’re having more building work done on the workshop, with another new door being cut to give us access to the kiln shed at the back of the building. I’ll take some pictures and post them here when it’s done.

Time for bed. Goodnight all

Welcome!

Welcome to our new website.

Here we are on the blog page, where we’ll keep you up to date with what’s going on in our lives.

Under normal circumstances we’d be panicking by now, trying to get the last few pots through the kiln, ready to head off to the Earth & Fire show in Nottinghamshire. But of course, these are not normal circumstances. Instead, we’ve been trying to get on top of all the things that we never usually have the time to do. Just at the moment, we’re sorting out the workshop so that it functions properly, which up until now, it never has.

We moved production home to a workshop in the garden of our Galloway home about three years ago, starting off with two portable cabins, which have, step by step, been roofed and enclosed within wooden buildings, as and when time and money allowed.

This year, the lockdown has provided plenty of time and fortunately sales have continued to happen, so we’ve been wielding paintbrushes and employing a local handyman, to tidy up and streamline our operation.

The blue cabin on the left contains our electric kilns and wood machines. It’s to get a coat of green paint in the forthcoming days, once it stops raining. Only the one wall at the front of the workshop has been painted yet, so there’s a lot to do.

The painting will have to fit in around the next stage, which is to build a large wood fuelled kiln. We intend to start the build in the next week or two. The open-sided kiln shed at the back of the workshop and is ready and waiting.

We need to start getting some pots on the shelves, so as soon as we do, we’ll put some pictures and short videos of them in production, right here.

If you’d like to subscribe to our YouTube channel or sign up to our newsletter, please do. When we’re in full production, we post films every two or three days, and I promise we’ll not overload you with newsletters.

Here’s a little film narrated by our daughter Pippin, imploring you to subscribe to our channel, so that she can earn jelly babies!

Thank you for checking in on us, please do drop by again soon to see how we’re getting on.

New Website

If you have discovered this blog then you will by now have realised that we have had a lovely new website built by Tim Jones at JCC Creative. Tim is based just across the moors from us here in Galloway. It’s been ongoing for a while and has been stopped and started along the way for various reasons. Anyway, it’s now here and we hope that you enjoy it. Please do sign up to our newsletter if you would like to keep in touch and haven’t already.

Tradition – East & West, The Movie

The Stratford Gallery have made this lovely film of the exhibition ‘Tradition – East & West’ laid out in the gallery as if it were opening to the public. It’s wonderful for us to see it like this as we were very disappointed to not be able to attend a public opening. As we said previously we are thrilled to be exhibiting with the highly renown potter from Mashiko, Japan, Tomoo Hamada, quite an honour. The pots that have already been purchased, thank you to all who have done so, we are amazed at the response, should be winging their way across the world right now.

 

Tradition – East & West

 

 

 

 

 

This is the poster for our exhibition at The Stratford Gallery, obviously because of Covid-19 the show will open purely online with the aim of being open to the public later on. Emma and Howard at the gallery have done and always do an incredible job and we are very excited and honoured to be showing alongside Tomoo Hamada from Mashiko, Japan.

The exhibition runs from June 5th through to June 27th.