Saturday, 28 July 2018

Barrington Pottery 10 Years in the making!

This Year Barrington Pottery will become
10 Years old
It's been an incredible journey with some amazing
highlights, but it's not been easy!

I'm going to be selecting links to some of my Early Blogs to give a flavour
of where it all started.
I started with absolutely no money to back me up
and so to survive each month has been a challenge
that some months took me to the brink,
but a determination to succeed has led me to dig deeper
into my inner soul than I had ever thought possible.
I've been reading some of my early blog posts and I have been surprised
as to how open and candid I have been in the past about my thoughts.
It has led me to realise that the openness was something that I liked
and is what made the blog in the early days such an intriguing insight.

My first attempt at becoming a potter back in the early 1980's
failed due to ME,
 I can't blame anyone else, I was too young and inexperienced as simple as that!

It's amazing what a sheer determination to survive can do for you
combined with 24 years of experience in the contract sales market
that I have been able to use along the way this time around.
So here is the first of a series of blog links
that for me mark the milestones of my journey.
Thank You

Here is a link to the blog showing my first showroom in the back garden of our cottage.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Pottery is the New Yoga?

Earlier in the year one of my daughters sent me a link
to an article in Vogue magazine which stated
"Pottery is the New Yoga"
I can fully understand where this comes from as so many people that attend
our twice weekly taster sessions tell me it takes the mind away from
anything else they have going on!
it's a place to escape from the day to day life stresses.

So where does that leave Me?
To me the day to day stresses are the Pottery!
I have to find some other place to escape and for me it is my computer
it all seems a very backward world sometimes.

At the start of the year I stated that I was going to make large pots
in 2018 and to expect more from me!
Well it's been a bit of a mixed bag if i'm totally honest.
Teapots are new from me and I've enjoyed making them
and the response has been unbelievable.

As a warm up to a day's throwing I've been making small quantities of
my small sauce pots and ramekins
as these are regular sellers in the showroom. 
The jug here I think is one of my best ever!
it's nice when you look at a pot and it hits all the spots for yourself
it's a rare moment. 
 I have started on making bigger pots, Much Bigger
It may not look elegant at this point, but it is great to be challenging myself
to go bigger, It's all about self belief and that's my biggest hurdle.

I've been far more open to trying new things this year with  mixed results

This just didn't quite work for me, but someone asked if they could buy it!
But I know it didn't come out as I wanted!
How many of us have sold pots that we feel that about?
I probably shouldn't ask that! 
The standard stock items haven't gone away and luckily for me 
they continue to sell, but then they have remained at the same price
 for the last 6 years Time to put the price up?

My bigger jugs came out nice and in previous years I've held pots
back to sell at Earth & Fire and then not sold them at the show!
so this year people have asked to buy them and they have gone
to new homes.
Don't worry I'm making some more this week to take to the shows.

 Marion's Sgraffito work on my harvest jugs has been a great addition
 this year and I do enjoy making these little jugs.

 I wanted a plain big serving dish for the table at home.
 and This is what country pottery is all about for me
 This 18" wide dish now sits on our kitchen table at home
 On the bigger theme I've made some bread crocks
and had reclaimed oak lids made for them
but I have had very little interest in them!
Sometimes ideas work and fly off the shelf and sometimes
they sit around forever just waiting for the right person to walk into the showroom.
If pottery is the new Yoga
then this is one of those positions you don't 
do very often!
Thank You for catching up and have a great week!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

This Year I'm going to confront all of my Inner Demons and actually Make Stuff.

At the start of each New Year
I like to take time out to reflect on what's just happened
and what I want to achieve for the Year ahead.

For the past two years I've been telling myself
"I Want to Make Bigger Pots"
I've made a few, but nowhere near as many as I am capable of.
My Biggest obstacle is
 Me, Myself, I.
I suffer from self doubt on an industrial scale, and it's this self doubt
that stops me from making bigger pots all the time.
Well I'd better look out!
because this year I have found an antidote to Me, Myself. I
In the words of this Performance of Titanium by the
Postmodern Jukebox
This Year I'm going to be made of 

( it works for me OK )

So in 2018 expect more from Me
more than I have ever achieved before,
This New Found inner strength
couldn't have come at a better time! 
Why I hear You ask ?
About Bloody Time I hear Marion Cry!
2018 will be 10 years since
 I started Barrington Pottery
Ten very hard years in which I have learnt so much about human nature.
I've met some amazing people along the way.
I'd like to think I've surprised a few of them,
and some have been kind enough to tell me I've
inspired them which is amazing.
More to come on My Tenth Year later this month.

Here are a few pots that hit the spot for me in 2017
These nest of what I describe as swan jugs had the most likes of any
of my pots on Instagram

and having my jug pictured in a group that includes
Nic Collins and Lisa Hammond was a real treat.

 So have yourselves a very pleasant New Year
take it easy and party hard.
I look forward to sharing some great pots with you
in 2018
I'm Certainly up for it!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Free Pottery Lessons! Roll up Roll up.

Blogs are a great way of gaining what essentially are
Free Pottery Lessons!
When I started to Learn back in the 1970's
there was very little in the way of free help
and advice.
I'm predominately self taught, from books from the Library
and hours and hours sat at my Potters Wheel.
So here is a small Free lesson on making mugs with a company Logo

Before You start, Make sure your throwing is up to scratch
there is nothing worse*  than a poorly throw mug.
Throw a few mugs and cut them in half to make sure
the base and wall are even or not too thick.
Trust me this will give you more confidence about your pots.

* ( There are lots of things worse than a poorly thrown mug
but I mean in the context of this blog post )

 Stamps can be ordered from any rubber stamp company
I use
Stamps Direct
Roll out your clay and leave it for a few hours
trying to press a stamp into wet clay doesn't work so well
it tends to clog up the stamp.
leaving it to dry gives for a much crisper impression!

Have the discussion with your customer as to where the stamp should be
1. to the left of the handle
2. to the right of the handle
3. opposite the handle
Once you have established your position, cut out your stamp
mark it's position on the pot
I score both the pot and the back of the stamp
and apply plenty of slip to the back of the stamp
place the stamp in position and push it on to the pot
pushing from the centre outwards
smooth off the outer edge with a damp sponge.

when you have done them all cover them in plastic
and allow the pot to dry slightly over night covered in plastic.

The pots should still be leather hard but firm enough to handle.
Dip the pot in slip and leave to dry for a few days.

 when dry enough scrape away the slip to reveal the design


Biscuit Fire Glaze and re fire

if you've done a good job
your customer will put a picture up 
on social media within hours of receiving them
showing how much they love them
Job Done!

August/September is harvest time
These Harvest jugs make great wedding gifts
tis the season.

I couldn't resist sharing these two Bentleys
we saw parked up in Clevedon last Sunday

And Now I've made a start on a new exciting project
to be completed before the month is out!

Watch this space.
I love a challenge and a new client.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Art in Clay 2017 Proved to be our best show ever !

 The arrival of a huge van outside our workshop
can only ever mean one thing
We are packing up our showroom to head up to
Art in Clay.
It's the only show where we try and take
the full spirit of Barrington Pottery
and plonk it right down in the middle of Hertfordshire.

We had been allocated our space in the centre of the 
Derek Emms marque.  4mts x 2.5mts
So we had done a full mock up in our showroom
two whole weeks before set off for the show and we were confident
of our plans.
I had the firm Idea that I wanted our main table to be as
minimalist as possible!
Marion wasn't so sure.
When we turned up at the event Paul Young joyfully greeted
us and said Come with me I'll show you your pitch
you've got a great spot!

It was indeed a great spot, But it was open on all four sides
and I had planned for having a stall behind us.
I must admit Marion and I had an uncomfortable 10 minuets
while she told me I was an idiot
and I tried to defend myself that I was sure we were back to back
with another stand as all the others were in other marques.

So we had to think on our feet and totally recreate a new stand from
 whatever we had brought with us!

So the original plan was to have the long table
with the Huge A frame I had found in a skip at the end
with our Banner at the back. 
at the other end we had planned to use apple boxes
to create a table effect to put the wrapping paper on.
I stuck to my guns and kept the main table as 
simple as possible
 Even Svend Bayer said  to me
 " How long will you last with it like that ? "  
  It  worked a treat and I was very proud of  it. 
A Big Thank You to Valentines Clay
for a great event and a really well run show.

  For  a long  time now I have been toying with the idea
of making a range of lighting, I've been playing around with some ideas
this one obviously doesn't work,
But I had at least one good chat with a customer who is interested
in my vision.
and that's what shows are all about, putting ideas out there
and gauging the reaction to see if it's a hit or a miss.

 So the back side of our stall ended up looking something like this
 a bit like it looked at Earth & Fire
and I'm pleased to say sales came from every area of the stall
This new design jug made it's debut at the show
and lots of people fell in love with it
But It has made it's way back to Somerset
with us much to Marion's pleasure. 

 We sold all of our small Harvest Jugs
 and we had some notable visitors to our stall
including Richard from the Pottery Throw down.
we also had a quick chat to his lordship
Keith Brymer Jones but felt it was a bit De rigueur
to ask for a photo!
and Ray Toms finally came to collect the jug he 
won the bid on for the Clay College Auction
back at the start of the Year.

All in all we had a great show, sales were good
we set ourselves some targets and hit every one of them.
We came away a combination of
Exhilarated and Exhausted.
Thank You to everyone who came to say hello
especially the amount of people who said they love my posts on 
Facebook and Instagram. 
 We did have the pleasure of also having Felicity Lloyd -Coombes
on a stand opposite ours with this adorable
8 week old Puppy.
We were back home by 10.30 on the Sunday Night
and we were all set up for Play with clay
on the Monday morning by 9.30.

I got straight back into throwing, 
it's amazing what a good show can do for you.

 and the showroom is back as it should be
ready for a busy Bank Holiday Weekend

Our next road trip is to Derbyshire for 
Pots & Food
9th & 10th September
Come and see us if you can it's a quirky show.

Barrington Pottery 10 Years in the making!

This Year Barrington Pottery will become 10 Years old It's been an incredible journey with some amazing highlights, but it's ...