Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Busman's Holiday to visit Clive Bowen.

We are incredibly busy in the workshop at the moment
as we are working on a large order for the National Trust.
But Wednesday is our one day off in the week
and it just so happens that this week
is Clive Bowen's Spring Sale.

Marion Loves Clive's work as much as I do
But we both said no to this large plate because we thought
some of the decoration looked like sperm!
Very off putting if your eating your dinner off it.

 This was the door into Clive's workshop
and this the view from the window. 
I loved this. 
 I love the light that the big showroom window offers
Clive gave us a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake
and Marion pointed out a pot she loved. 
and this was my cup of tea sat on Clive's first kiln 
I was so pleased to see his sink looking like this
it made me feel better about mine.
The whole place has such a natural feel about it
and Clive was a great host and talked a lot to us about 
slips and clay's Clive has been using the groged red
from Commercial clay and I use the Smooth Red
from them
I had one of my big jugs in the car that I showed to Clive
and he seemed to like it, he said he would give it a try.

We talked about The Gallery St Ives in Japan where I had just had some of my pots
in an Exhibition along with Dylan Bowen

as ever I have come away buzzing with enthusiasm
and a determination to get on with my order and get them out the door so I can move on to other ideas now buzzing around my head. 
Why is he not Sir Clive Bowen?
A Better ambassador for country pottery as you will ever find. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Gallery -St-Ives- Japan - Great Slipware Show 2016

I'm so Excited that my pots are going to be included
in this Exhibition in Japan.
It all started back in July 2015 when I had my first stall
at Art in Clay - Hatfield House
I was also the very first Demonstration of the show
"Your first 10,000 pots are your worst."
It was about singing the prasise of the art of production throwing,
I was trying to convey to Gallery owners that just because you make pots
in large batches dosn't mean they are poor pots,
in fact it can be just the opposite, 
When you are at the wheel and your making pots from the same weight of clay
you build up a rhythm and the pots just start to flow,
just as a tune flows from a song writer
or a book flows from an authour. The difference with pots is
that each pot will have it's own life and tactile quality
that is unique to that pot.
What I hadn't noticed was that a representative of the Gallery
was in the audience and came to my stall later that morning.

Our Hatfield show had been our best ever show and I came away on such a high.
The initial contact was followed up with emails and a request from Koi
the gallery owner for some mugs for a show in October
with a view to possibly supplying the show for 2016.

Then In November last Year whilst on a visit to the UK
Koi & Rumi came to visit us at the workshop to choose
the pots he wanted for the show.

Here is a PDF link to the show catalouge.

                      Great Slipware Show 2016

                                   Sat, 23rd April- Sun, 8th May 2016 
                      Venue: Gallery St. Ives

              The second 'Great Slipware Show' is taking place following its           successful first show held in 2012.

The potters taking part in are:

Dylan Bowen (Oxford, UK)
Prue Cooper (London, UK)
Patia Davis (Herefordshire, UK)
Paul Jessop (Somerset, UK)
Niek Hoogland (Netherlands)

I couldn't believe it when in the middle of making my pots for the show
I fell ill and found myself sat in Hospital.
I got Marion to bring me in some pens and paper so I could make notes and drawings
But I'd never been in Hospital before
and the whole experience took my mind well away from thoughts of pots.
 But luckily I wasn't in Hospital for long and when I was back home I was
able to concentrate the mind of the pots needed for the show.
Some had been made towards the end of last year and been put aside.

But when I got back on the wheel it was a great feeling of relief 
and I feel as if I have a more focused approach to my work now.
I feel that each pot I make now has to make it's mark on the world.
It has to be a pot I'm proud to put my stamp on.
I managed to get all the pots finished and shipped out on time.
I'm sure many of you will know how good that feels.
and I'm very pleased with them
I feel as though I've sent pots that I can be proud of 
Pots that I would offer up to customers as good examples of my work.

I'm a self taught potter with my own sense of what what is good and bad about a pot.

Obviously I'm influenced by the whole Leach, Hamada, St Ives vibe
and if I were to pick one particular Potter it would of course be 
Michael Cardew.
This large jug is my most recent work and will be coming to 
Earth & Fire at Rufford Abbey this year in June.
By then I'll have an idea as to how my pots have been received in Japan.
If they sell well we would love to visit and even do some demonstrations
that would be a dream come true.
As I've been putting this blog together I hear news of more earthquakes
in southern Japan.
Our thoughts go out to all of the people in Japan that have been affected
and we wish you well.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Pride & Pudding is Now Available

I'm feeling pretty proud myself this week
It's not everyday somebody writes a food book that is both
Beautiful to look at and an excellent reference point.
But this week Regula Ysewijn has done just that
with here new book Pride & Pudding.
Available in most good book shops and on Amazon
see the link below.

The reason I'm feeling so proud is that some of the photos are of our pots
being used just how they should be. 

 Great pictures in a top quality book and all for around £20 
that's amazing value for money
and a real treat for anybody that loves cooking.

 Regula also uses our pots on a regular basis on her blog

 here are a few pictures from her latest blog.
I love seeing our pots being used and loved. 
it kind of completes the circle.

And if that wasn't enough this week I've been told I'm a Finalist
in the Craft & Design Magazine Selected makers Awards.
So thank you to everyone who voted for me
it's very much appreciated.
Now I just have to wait for the Judges decision.
either way it's a pleasure just to be voted for.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

This Potter is Back at the Wheel!

It's been over a Month since my last Blog,
to be honest I've not known what to write about.
and the first rule of blogging is wait until you have something to say.

I've not been away 
just very busy
Putting most pictures on Instagram

I think the hardest part has been dealing with the fact that it feels like 
I've had the rug pulled from under my feet when we have been
 moving along so nicely.
We had had a good end to 2015 and in January
I was making pots for the National Trust and for the Slipware Exhibition
in Japan, when I was taken ill.
All of these pots have now been delivered I'm pleased to say.
I'm very excited about supplying pots to the Gallery St - Ives in Japan.

Getting stuck back into work is the best way of dealing with it
as the new ideas from the hospital are that you should get more active.
But I'm not sure if they realise just how hard work pottery can be.
I've had to cut down my hours
and we are trying to make some important changes
but it's not easy.

One thing my time in Hospital did for me was to give me time to realise
just how precious my Time with Marion is.
This track on my iphone hit the spot at the time.

 Things need to change!

 I need to make New Stuff!

Classic shapes will always have their place. 

Larger pieces will also be more prominent  
this is the first big pancheon I've thrown which I did on Tuesday
evening during our evening classes.
I loved the sunlight hitting my pots whilst I was throwing them
and this was my favorite picture of the day.

We are attending the rehabilitation course at Yeovil Hospital which is
twice a week on a Monday and Thursday
so that's really eating into our making time.
But the main thing is I'm back at it
and this week i'm feeling much more like my old self.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Pottery to die for ? Not just yet sunny Jim!

My previous Blog was entitled
 "Heading into the unknown life as a potter in 2016".

Some times you wonder what your subconscious is telling you?
Lets start off with the Good News
" I'm OK ".
at the end of January I had two heart attacks within a week
of each other.
Since then I've been in Hospital and had two stents put in
and now after a period of taking it easy for a few weeks
I'm going to be fitter and healthier than ever.
Here we are on my return to the workshop.
I've never really been ill before
This was the first time I had ever had to stay in hospital for a few days.
I've always been a bit lucky on that front.
I was in Taunton Musgrove Hospital
I can't even watch an episode of Casualty
let alone find myself on the set!
Nice to see someone had an order for NHS mugs. 
even if it was a factory in Stoke on Trent.
My shot of my bed side legs seemed to create a stir
but I'm not going to take up frock wearing, even if it does mean 
I can increase my prices,
Just a thought "is there a correlation between the height of the
hem and the height of the prices"?
On a more serious note it would appear that working all hours
as a potter and constantly pushing yourself to do more and more
each month has taken it's toll.
and my body found a way to tell me to slow down,
take more care of myself and Marion
and make changes that are going to benefit us both. 
 I only had a week away from the pottery but it seemed like ages.
Marion was Brilliantly able to step in and keep things going
with a number of glaze firings
 and she has been running the taster sessions
almost single handed for a while now.
 I've decided to pull out of a few smaller shows this year
and concentrate on having more stock in the showroom.
I love being able to chat to our customers and it's so much nicer
when you have more stock to talk about.
 The sun even came out the day we unloaded this small kiln load.
 I'm on light duties at the moment so you might start seeing more
pictures of pots as I get to grips with the best ways to show our pots off
to their best.
This was an early trial in the gas kiln at home back in 2008.

I would like to Thank all of the people that have sent me their best wishes
and wished me a speedy recovery.
The pottery world are a great bunch of people and I'm going to do all
I can to remain a vibrant part of it.
One step at a time of course.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Heading into the unknown life as a potter in 2016.

Yesterday I spent 2 hours putting a blog together that was a look back over 2015.
Then I sat and read it before pushing what I thought
was going to be the "Publish Button",
but once I read it I decided to push the "Delete button"!

Life is short, and there just isn't enough time to make all the pots I want to,
plain simple ones like this Pancheon give me the most pleasure.

A quick look back over some old pictures and I unearthed this one
taken in 2014.
I am so lucky to be on the same stage as these fantastic potters
they spur me on to be the best ambassador for pottery I can be,
a very proud moment in my pottery life. 
 The workshop in early June looked like it could have been in Greece.
apart from the fact that those are Apple trees not Olive.
 My Demonstration at Art in Clay
proved to be a personal and business turning point,
I came away from the 3 day show on such a high.
Then of course was brought straight back down again!

But as ever my pottery friends gave me advice and 
my non pottery friends gave me a beer. 

 So Thank you to all of my followers
have a great 2016
What Ever it throws at you.
if you see somebody without a smile
give them one of yours.