Monday, 13 April 2015

Back to work in a Changed world

After a prolonged time away I am back in the workshop, rescuing my somewhat mouldy pots. I got the batch of 3D pictures sprayed with coloured slips over weekend and they are now drying slowly under polythene. 

This one is Aesop's Fable 'The Fox and Stork'.

The first version was a plate which was sold at the preview of the Spring Fling exhibition at The McGill Duncan Gallery.

I did like these when they were still in the plain damp terracotta red clay, but once the colours are fired I think/hope they will come back to life.

The last 6 weeks or so have been sad yet special ones. We lost our dear Father after a short illness. He was 89 and had lived a full life. He was really remarkably fit right up until the last year or so. 

He was a regular a visitor to Potfest in the Park, I don't think he ever missed it. The last time he undertook a long drive by himself was to go to Potfest 2014. He loved to come and see the show, meet his pottery friends and see what I had been making for it. Often to my embarrassment he would declare to be my biggest fan! 

He was a GP by profession, but also a fine woodworker.  He always kept his hands busy. It was in his workshop in the cellar, with the freedom to use his tools and under his gentle encouragement, that I owe my love of making. As Len McDermid said in his tribute: 

                                               'He constructed and he invented.
                                                He made things and he mended things. 
                                                He mended people and he made people'. 

Here is Father making a canoe. He made many boats, and taught us all seamanship.

At Potfest 2013

80th Birthday cake

Tapestries kept his hands constantly busy, especially in later years.

89th Birthday at the Halterburn near Yetholm in September.  Many happy family days were spent making dams here.

Life has changed for me, but my Father will live on in everything I make.

Monday, 9 March 2015

New work for March

I have at last got some completely new work underway. It has been difficult to get a good run on these new ideas. But having made a start it is easier to come back to them whenever I have a minute. 

I wanted to make some three dimensional pictures. The frame is made from extruded square sections.

The waves were extruded and the dinghy was thrown, as was the dog. 

I wasn’t at all sure how these would go. indeed having made the frame it was initially quite daunting to make a start. Like a blank clean page in a sketch book where the first line feels like a sacrilege, the first score and slipping of the rather too beautifully made frames felt a bit scary.

However having got over the first hurdle I am actually quite pleased with the way they are going. Next challenge will be getting the finish right.

Meanwhile Rodger managed to make an adaptor so that I can use some of the old dies cut for the pugmill expansion box in the new hydraulic extruder.

What a change from endlessly feeding the pugmill hopper and coaxing it to deliver. This beast takes a couple of sacks and once it is set up pushes the clay through so fast we are actually going to have to try and slow it down.

The tables are now covered with lots of flat plate lengths waiting to be ready to worked on. No point in making only one.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Ripen at home

Best wishes to you all on this, the first day after the shortest one of the year. With this thick blanket of cloud it may not feel like it, but we know we have turned the corner, and that is good enough for me. 

Was it really Corsock Craft Fair at the beginning of this month, and if so where has December gone? It is a great fair, something quite special in rural Galloway, and packed as usual, an extraordinarily jolly mixture of friends, cake and sales. Here are a few stands, my own one, Hannah McAndrew's, Jo Gallant's cushions and Tom Iglehar'ts glass. These were taken just before the crowds arrived, after which I had no time left for any more photos. More images on the Corsock Craft Fair Facebook page here.

Since then it has been a busy few weeks of both making and finishing off orders, followed by a lot of last minute wrapping, parcelling up and posting. This is also where I realise that the website actually works which means that the next job is definitely web updates, long overdue.

Negotiating the mine field which is the Royal Mail parcel service, the price now dependent on dimensions as well as weight is not much fun. I joked with the postie that I would have to make flat mugs! No wonder independent carriers are doing so well.

Just occasionally I actually decide to keep one of my own pots, and this is a dish which has been in the showroom for too long. I have always rather liked it myself but no one has ever wanted to buy it. I found that it just fits perfectly on the window sill for 'Ripen at Home' avocados and seemed to be perfect colours for them. I am quite encouraged to make some more, and perhaps even display them with wooden avocados. Sometimes people just need a little help to envisage.

Meanwhile Timbalada has moved into the old 'ripen at home' receptacle and here she is enjoying being ripened by winter sun.

Happy Solstice.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Winter Pots for Autumn days

I have had a busy, but rather bitty, making period for a few weeks now. It has been a case of juggling a lot of small outstanding orders, replenishing my slipware for the showroom, and making some new pieces for Christmas. 

 It was a windy Autumn day when I designed these vases.

The boat theme continues - this time with Barge Vases.

This Barge Vase has a Royal King penguin salute.

The load of boat, vase and sea bits were abandoned for a few weeks while other things took priority.

It feels good to get this batch of work finished at last. 

Do come along to the McGill Duncan Gallery's Winter exhibition where you will find  some of these new creations.

Unfortunately I had yet another kiln fiasco last week. Whether it was another element going (seems the kiln is getting as old as I am), or the second contactor in the control box, the result was a kiln which refused to reach temperature. Eventually the top zone cones went down, 4 hours later than expected. 

We had a long planned treat, which was trip to the Sage Concert hall to hear the 'Songlines World Music Award Winners' concert that evening, so it all got a bit late and scrambled. It took a while to unwind, but it was a great evening of music and luckily impossible to carry on fretting about kilns when aborbed in all that exuberant musical energy. It was and lovely to stay over and see Tim Foxell's wonderful spatula workshop, humming with creativity, and Sue Dunne's ceramic workshop. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Order complete

The plate order is complete and they are now winging their way to No 16 Restaurant in Glasgow's Byers Road.

The brief was a small creature in each.

Some small creatures were more complicated to trail than others.

Some were from designs already tested, but in different colours.

And some were quite unwelcome in Galloway.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cardboard and Cake

 Last Friday the workshop turned into a seagull making factory!

What a great time you can have with cardboard, coat hangers and paint.

All in aid of the ceilidh at the weekend.

My friend Jolanda and I decided we should organise a joint ceilidh to celebrate both our birthdays. Everyone brought a dish and the food was Galloway's finest with a special mention to Annette's chocolate ganache cake and strawberry cake which were fit for a queen! Thanks so much to 'The Other Band' for the great music and dances. 

What a joy to share the evening with so many lovely people!

I have here to mention the SURPRISE CAKE! Anyone who follows this blog will recognise the boat and gannet theme. This time Jolanda is on the bow and your truly is at the oars! Thank you dear Jools for this incredible surprise! 

Potter friend Sue Dunne and Tim played us a tune and Donald Adamson read us a witty and apt poem (with the Scottish referendum looming), entitled 'Sitting on the Fence'!

All on the kindest September evening that Scotland can offer.