Egg cups to bread-crocks

After the fantastic experience I had last summer, learning to throw big pots with John Huggins at Ruardean Garden Pottery, I decided to go on another course. This time I'm off to Wobage Farm Craft Workshops, to study with Jeremy Steward and Hermann Peterson. My attendance has been partly funded by the University of Dundee as staff development.

The pottery at Wobage Farm (http://www.wobage.co.uk) is famous, in pottery circles at least, for having been established by Mick Casson, a great potter and inspirational educator. 

It's a long way away, though....


Visit to Beamish Museum

Beamish is a remarkable living museum which recreates living in the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. Most of the buildings have been saved from demolition in towns and villages of the north, dismantled and rebuilt here. Together they make a convincing town, mining village and farm. To complete the picture, real people inhabit the shops and school, drive the buses and cars, sit sewing in the houses or baking in the community outdoor oven. This post is mainly pictures of details around Beamish, especially pots relevant to Butter Wynd Pottery, but our pictures perhaps haven't quite captured the  scale of the museum or quite how amazing it is. You can see other people's pictures here. We can't recommend Beamish highly enough for a day long, family friendly visit.


Bear bowl set

Here is the making of our bear bowl set. This was conceived of by Christine. We haven't made them for a while, so they take a wee bit of re-learning or remembering how to make them.

One of the jars didn't make it


Making Christine's stamps

Christine makes fantastic lino prints. She has been wanting me to get around to making stamps for clay from her linos for her for ages. Well, at last she make one for me to get on with, plus we want to introduce some new elements to our work. The following is a good example of how we play with digital technology alongside our ancient technology.

Christine's print


Stop the crawling

My pots have been prone to crawling for a while. Not all of them and often it is just a tiny amount. Crawling is when glaze pools in areas, leaving bare patches of clay. However I was having to refire quite a few, especially those glazed with the honey glaze on the exterior. It was getting to the point where I wondered if I wouldn't just be as well to biscuit the pots first. I can't face that though - I love raw glazing, while I have never even liked glazing biscuited work.

Crawling is mainly caused by glaze not adhering to the pot properly before or during the early stages of firing. This can happen because of poor fit, dust or grease, salts, steam in the early stages of the firing. I am still using a commercial glaze which isn't designed for raw glazing. It doesn't have a lot of green strength, so I strongly suspect this glaze is the problem. For technical problems of this sort, I refer to many books, but the best is Ceramic Faults and Their Remedies by Harry Fraser.

So, I have resolved to try and fix it. These are the four variations I tried.

Wipe rim with a mild solution of vinegar. I also suspect there might be salts involved and this is why I attempt to wipe them away.


Beakers and carafes

I wanted some simple beakers for our forthcoming exhibition at St Andrews Museum starting at the end of September. I took one I had made for the MAC touring exhibition, as they had a nice feel. Trying to copy a fired piece is difficult, though, even if it is one I have made and even if it is is this simple.


MAC open to the public on Tuesday 22nd January

On Tuesday 22 January, from 10am – 4pm, MAC will be open to general visitors outside St Andrews Library (pedestrianised square off South Street by Holy Trinity Church). Map here.

MAC is Fife Council's mobile exhibition bus and currently houses our piece called "Made From Fife" as part of the exhibition "Kingdom of If..." . Also on the bus are works by Ae Phor, Jonathan Baxter, Sarah Gittins, Joanna Foster, Edward Summerton, Raz Ullah