Tuesday 26 September 2023

Harvest on the Farm TV appearance

It’s great to be back on the Blog!
The most exciting thing that’s happening right now, is that I’ve been asked
to appear on Channel 5’s TV show
Harvest on the Farm
I’m being filmed live and have been asked to talk about and make a harvest jug live on air!
My bit will be on Wednesday 27th September at 8pm.

Of course I’ve been brushing up my Harvest jug knowledge 
and thinking things through whilst on my dog walks around Barrington.

Every day I think how lucky am I to be making pots and living in this wonderful village in Somerset.
I’ve made a Harvest jug for the show
So I’ll have my 
“here’s one I made earlier moment”

As part of my chat I’ll get in the fact that most potteries back in the day only made a very few bespoke harvest jugs less than 1% of their production.
Most of the time was spent make homewares like these pots below

Harvest time in Barrington is really busy and I love the combination 
of sunlight and autumnal colours 

Of course all of this is thirsty work and this year this has become my favourite 
Drink of choice!

Today we have just had our lease on the pottery signed off
For a further 5 years.
So time for a little celebratory drink. Cheer’s 


Monday 10 January 2022

Sometimes sitting doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do.

Apart from a quick clear up in the workshop and the loading of a biscuit firing, to help warm the pottery up tomorrow, today we just gave ourselves time to sit and think! 

In all of the time we’ve had off I hadn’t sat and thought too much about the pots I’m going to make this year, the nucleus is there I just haven’t put any meat on the bones as such, if that makes any sense?

Until today!

Looking at a pot in our kitchen that I made in May 2020, I suddenly noticed what I liked about it so much, I mentioned it to Marion and my thoughts were confirmed “ I love that pot” she said,  it was as if I’d finally had a Eureka moment! 

I’m not going to show you the pot or explain the thoughts behind it because this is my equivalent to Willy Wonka’s golden ticket and it means I'm going to have to rethink my making process.

What I have done is think about the pots I’ve been getting bored of making and what I intend to do about them.  So some drastic changes to the products on the website were made last week following our meeting sat on that log! 

Some 22 items have been cut from the website whilst some items have had a radical overhaul in the pricing making way for new pots and new designs that will continue to stimulate us as makers and most importantly our customers!

As a maker, you are the only person that can see what's going on in your head, and as a potter when you open the kiln door and finally see there before you something that is the full creation of those pictures the feeling is amazing! the pot literally sings to you and stands head and shoulders above other pots you’ve made in the past! It doesn’t necessarily mean your older pots were poor, just that these new ones excite you now in the same way those earlier ones once did, it’s all about development, and if you don't allow yourself to develop as a maker, your going to die from the inside out.

This pot sung to me at the very end of last year.

Now here’s the difference, having being trained in a professional sale’s environment for 24 years before coming back into pottery, the feeling of getting a great sale is the buzz that drives you on, but in the sales world you’re always told, "that your only as good as your last sale". Tomorrow it has to happen all over again, when you love what you’re selling and believe in it that shows and customers see that and want to buy into that feeling that you are giving them, that's what I love about selling direct to our customers. But ,when you’ve lost faith in the products you’re selling, it becomes a much harder job to sell. That’s when the changes come, Car manufacturers don’t just keep making the same old cars, they adapt them, introduce new colours, new models, but at the heart of it they keep their Style in essence you will still recognise it as a Barrington Pottery pot.

Having time to evaluate every aspect of what you do and what things cost has been instrumental in the changes we have made, above all, the pots that have been giving me that makers buzz over the past few months, have also been getting an excellent response from our customers and followers on social media. So hopefully this year we will continue to grow in both confidence and stature, secure in the knowledge that we are heading towards our ultimate goal of pleasing ourselves in our daily working life and our customers in theirs.

Monday 3 January 2022

Today we had a business meeting sat on a log, on a beach in Devon.

 When it boils down to it, we are just a small Pottery.
But this is the start of our 14th year in business,
and in that time I feel we have achieved a lot,
the key word to me in that previous sentence is
Right from the start of this journey in becoming a potter
I was sure that to survive I had to treat it as a business.
I wrote my business plan whilst at 33,000 feet sat in business class aboard a
 British Airways Boeing 747, on the return journey from
a business trip to China,
 when I worked for a British tile manufacturer in Stoke on Trent.

Space and time are what you need to be able to see things from
a different perspective,
 and being away from the usual surroundings allows you to think outside of the box.

So here we were 14 years down the line and I know what your thinking!
Did it go to plan?

No of course not!
that's not how life works.

So today just by chance we came across this driftwood log parked ourselves down
and started talking about our business,
bearing in mind it's now 12 days since we closed the doors before the Christmas break,
and neither of us had spoken a word about it.

This was the view from the log
as you can see it afforded us plenty of space and time
away from our usual surroundings.
Words and thoughts just poured out from both of us, 
nothing was written down nothing was off limits almost every aspect
was discussed and it felt so good!

We don't start back until 10th January, so now we have time to develop
our ideas and changes that will inevitably take place this year,
and we will move forward and maybe go and find somewhere else
to sit for a few days.
I love this time to think and above all think about the pots I want to make this year.
Fabulous day with my best Friend highly recommended.


Sunday 31 October 2021

A Tribute to Johnny Leach

Following the sad news of the Death Johnny Leach
last month, I had been asked to write a tribute to him for the
 Westcountry Potters Association Newsletter.
It led me to think about my relationship with Johnny 
and it worked out that I had known him for 40 years!
The piece will be published in the November/December issue.
What I didn't get chance to mention was, that by the time I had finished the piece and Marion read it back to me I found myself in tears realising I was never going to see him again!
also the very odd experience both Marion and myself had
  on the Sunday morning as we settled down to watch the Funeral service in full via an online link following his burial on the Friday 1st October.
as we sat in front of the computer at the kitchen table
the kitchen door blew open!
something it had never done before, We both just stopped in our tracks and looked at each other in silence, but it reminded me of a similar
incident following a visit from Johnny some 11 years previous that I wrote a blog about at the time! 

here is the link to that post from March 2010
don't worry all you grammar geeks I've spotted the error in the title of the original post!
Spooky I'm sure you will agree?

In other News 
Barrington Court the National Trust property that our workshop is in the grounds of has decided due to a lack of visitor numbers to close from 1st November - 4th March 2022
The lack of visitors was making it unsustainable for the National Trust.
 What they didn't realise was that the smaller visitor numbers had actually been very good for us workshops.
So The Good news is that the Artisan Workshops at Barrington Court
will be remaining open all through November & December with the main gates
being open from 9am -5.30pm
although the NT shop and cafe will be closed the toilets will be open and parking is available in the main carpark

We have been working hard to keep stock levels up for both the showroom and online sales so feel free to come and visit us at the workshop and we will gladly make you a cup of coffee
while you have a look around.

we have a number of pots that probably won't make it onto the website
so a showroom visit will also give you the full experience.

 We will be moving into our Winter opening hours as from 2nd November so the pottery 
will be open 9am - 4pm right up until 23rd December when we close for our winter break.

Thursday 8 April 2021

Are we not all in truth two people

The private self and 
the one the world demands to see?

For over a year now I have been quietly working away on some new slips and glazes
that I feel will move my work on to the next level.
I’ve always been able to see a next level in my mind but found myself too busy
with my current workload  to develop the ideas towards it!
Something I’ve know for a long time, that has been eating away at me
and my private self.
As a consequence my work has suffered and most noticeably myself,
but this past year
I feel as if the world has been spinning at a far more comfortable pace.

With many disappointments along the way it feels like a huge achievement 
when you finally open the kiln door to find a combination 
that actually works as it should do in your mind on a number of levels!

I sat down earlier this evening to put together one of my 
#madewithRipl posts on social media to ask my followers a Poll question 
as to should I change one of my long standing colours?

But, as I was putting it together 
I knew the answer!
These are my pots and I’m the potter
I instinctively know what is right for me! 
I’ll make my own decision for my private self
not the decision the world wants to see,
 not the bland compromise that a committee would stumble upon!

I have long had a love of French country pottery with particular colours 
I’ve been trying to achieve just because I like them,
some I’ve had the basic concept of for many years, but only in recent months have I had time
to think them through and then have that light bulb moment 
almost that Eureka! moment, that every artist needs to ignite that inner spark.

Subtle changes that make all the difference to the potter in his conceptual career,
for me this is big corner turned and will see a new direction in my work 
making pots that excite me!

This private self inside is confident enough to say yes, 
this is what I am going to do
it’s better than before.

This is a far better cream than before 
the two bowls below show the subtle difference with the front bowl
being the new cream.

The four 8” pots below are all new colours which when you see them in the flesh
and the new shapes that I’m going to make will move my work 

So if you’re disappointed that I didn’t have a poll
feel free to grab one of these

The private me and the one the world demands to see
are poles apart.
Have a great day and thanks for dropping by!


Friday 1 January 2021

The Loss of a Friend in the Pottery world.

With the sad news that Phil Rogers had died just before Christmas 
I started to write a blog about him and his influence over me as a potter since as early as I can remember! 

Then I began to see all the other people writing about him and I was overwhelmed by the many wonderful things people said about him?
What more could I add to that, he was in all ways a giant in the pottery world! 
We even added another brown jug to our collection from 
the Goldmark Gallery 
I’ve often had Phil’s videos playing in my workshop as a source of both information and inspiration 
But instead of mourning his loss and feeling glum, I’m going to count myself lucky that I got to know him and can count him as a friend.
When Marion bought me the jug 4 years ago I put a picture on Face ache of me proudly holding it
and Phil commented “ I love it when a fellow potter buys one of my pots, especially one I admire”.
You could have knocked me over with a feather!
( or do you think he was referring to the jug? )
Only for one of my friends to follow it up with
 “ you always did like big jugs Paul”

But here’s the thing!
I then started to think of all of the other potters that I have met and become friends with since I started my  pottery journey back in 1973 and Blog in 2008.

Instead of feeling glum I started to feel a real sense of pride that I have met so many wonderful potters and collectors and become a part of the very strong pottery community throughout the World!
I’ve collected friends and memories along the way
That I will be able to take to the grave with me as part of my collection.

To back this up here are some random shots taken along the way

This was a selfie taken for my neighbour who turned out to be a collector of Tony’s work!
So much fun has been had along the way
And these chaps have been with me all of the way

Johnny, Mark, Doug & Hannah 
set the bar very high in how to be a good potter and wonderful human beings
and your friendship and help has been worth it’s weight in gold!
I’ve forgotten this chaps name, but we got on like a house on fire when he came to Earth & Fire
Wine and beer dismantled the language barrier!
I feel like a winner everyday being a part of this Pottery community!
So my thoughts aren’t glum
How could they be when your surrounded 
By such a great community of potters, collectors and customers.
Have a great 2021 Everyone.
 Rest in Peace


Sunday 18 October 2020

In a year of the unexpected I didn’t expect that!

2020 has undoubtedly been the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life as a potter.
The year had started so well and to be honest we felt we were going to fly this year,
turns out nobody was flying!

Then Enter the Dragon!
In August- September the gallery-st-ives  in Tokyo included 23 of my pots in an exhibition in a large department store in Tokyo Japan.
As a kid Japan to me was a world of hi tech toys, Casio calculators and Mazda cars.
I remember my Dad taking a Mazda 626 on a test drive in 1979, it was an amazing car but my dad just couldn’t bring himself to buy a Japanese car!
That was a thing back in those days ( how the World has changed )
In my teenage years I had discovered Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, and began to learn more about the culture and the links with English ceramics.

In Japan pots have to have a use, a function that allows the user a reason as to why they buy a particular pot. Craftsmanship is high on the agenda when choosing such objects and so to have virtually sold out of the 23 pots entered into the exhibition in the Takashimaya dept store has 

proved a huge boost to my confidence and bank balance in these very uncertain times.

I’m sure my Dad would have been proud!

( I know for sure he regretted not buying that Mazda )

To be honest my pots have always been aimed to the end user market

more than the Gallery/collector market and that’s probably why they have sold so well in a department store setting.

But to sell at all, when they were amongst the company of other great potters from England is a great feeling.

I googled the store to find out a bit more about the place
which looks amazing, top class and a retail customers dream!
I’ve always loved retail and big department stores in the UK are facing difficult times but I’m sure they will evolve, because as much as people like buying online, you can’t beat a good old fashioned store to visit that gives you a sense of place, the ethos of the company and its values.
You get a feel for a place and that’s what draws you back

Here it is on Goolge maps
and here's a thing, I was telling my neighbour Derek about it this morning and he was asking me lots of questions about where the store was and it turns out he used to work for Hitachi and spent a fair amount of time in Tokyo and he's actually been in this very store!
So who would have thought it all those years ago when I set up
Barrington Pottery that our pots would be selling in a high class department store in Japan?

Not forgetting our own home grown customers 

Showrooms have always been important to me in setting the scene and making people feel comfortable and relaxed!
Whatever else may be going on in the world, I have always wanted people to stop and feel that our showrooms are somewhere they love to come again and again, which is why we try and lift the level every year.
This year since the reopening of our showroom our customers have I must say been absolutely Brilliant!
Many of them making special journeys to come and buy from us and check if we are going to be ok despite the best efforts of the NT to make it difficult for people to visit us!
( thankfully we seem to have resolved this )

Another customer of ours sent me a picture when he had lunch at the Barrington Boar and recognised our sauce pots in use!
It’s so nice that customers want to interact with us and feel proud when they spot our pots being used.

The Highs and Lows of this year have been difficult to cope with
but we’ve found time work on our cottage a bit and the new boiler
has proved to be a revelation.

So stay warm stay well and should you wish to add to your selection of Barrington Pottery remember the website is open 24/7

Thank You


Sunday 16 August 2020

Far more than just a pottery!

Over the past months the Pottery seems to have evolved into something 
far greater than I ever imagined!
If ever there was a week that summed this up
It was last week!
The week started with lessons in on our 6th Wedding anniversary 
not something we had planned but we made the most of it and enjoyed our day.

The day was greatly boosted by these two lovely people 
Matthew & Louise
They had been in for a pottery lesson with us 3 weeks earlier and had come to collect their pots! 
but what Louise was totally unaware of
was Matt had arranged with Marion a little surprise.

They went off into the grounds of Barrington Court 
for a picnic and to unwrap their pots 
One of which had a very special message on.

We were so pleased when they came back in to the pottery
to thank us
and confirm that She said Yes!
We felt so very honoured to be apart of this very special occasion.

Earlier in the week we had watched in horror at the devastating explosion In Beirut and as more information came out about the sheer devastation and lack of funds I looked for a way we could possibly offer a small amount of help.

I had been following this bakery in Beirut on Instagram @maviabakery it’s set up to support Sirian refugees and to empower women, 
and when I saw this post came up with the idea of offering one of our Pancheons 
as a raffle prize to raise funds.
It was a quick turn around to raise funds quickly 
and in just two days we raised £210
which was sent on the Monday morning.
The winner of the Pancheon was Tibi Weir and it’s on it’s way to it’s new home!

We had for a long time been trying to find time to visit my three daughters and the grandkids, but it was fast becoming an impossible task as work in the pottery really has taken off, with orders for 3 new customers all wanting pots at the same time!
So the decision was made to grab an extra day off and make the two day round trip
Seeing all three girls, young Lily and Hamish.
It only happened to be the two warmest days of the year and although my car was working great
having just had a full service & mot the air con still wasn’t working 🥵
but it was great to see them!
We managed to grab an evening of R&R in Bury st Edmunds 
which we thoroughly enjoyed. What a lovely place.

After an almost 5 hour drive back home
We were back in the workshop the next morning 
Followed by a Taster session group of four on Friday 
And a full day lesson with these three on Saturday!
For us at least the quiet simple pace of lockdown 
Is already a thing of the past!
We really do have to keep motoring on and try and catch up on the 107 lessons that were postponed due to Covid-19.
Finding time to write the blog on a Sunday morning feels like a light relief before I open up the showroom again later today 12 - 4pm,
but if ever a pottery felt like more than just a pottery
this last week proved it!
Support your local potter
and enjoy your week.

Harvest on the Farm TV appearance

It’s great to be back on the Blog! The most exciting thing that’s happening right now, is that I’ve been asked to appear on Channel 5’s TV s...