Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Hare and the tortoise or the Aeronautical engineer and the Craft Potter


Funny thing to have an aeronautical engineer coming to ask a craft potter for her advice as to the suitability of clay to make a 'tool' (mould) over which to form softened titanium. But that is indeed what happened this week. At one point I was envisaging being asked to extrude an aircraft wing, and had wonderful visions of flappy Boeing aeroplanes with ripply-dish type edges. Explanations of shrinkage, warpage etc. put paid to this, as there did have to be an un-Christine like degree of accuracy, well at least to a couple of millimetres...

What an interesting thought though, and I think what with Rodger's knowledge of moulds and casting from his bronze casting days, and a crash course in clay types we MAY have helped a little. He went on his way seemingly happy to have been pointed in the right direction.

I am now in possession of some lovely flat aluminium sheets, offcuts from the aeronautical industry, which will keep me in die making materials for a fair few up-and-coming projects. Thank you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Flat as a Mermaid

It seems to have taken me ages to have got anywhere this last few weeks. There seems to have been a lot of STUFF to do which isn't directly making, so never feels exactly productive.

Besides which after a non stop year I think I have been feeling as flat and washed out as this mermaid!

Unpacking the kiln, pricing the work, packing up orders, delivering the prizes, re- stocking the showroom (and finding that it was full of spiders and dust), and wasting a morning taking a batch of pretty poor photographs. But today I finally finished off the name plaques, mug and plate orders which I had thrown and put in the damp cupboard just before Rodger and I took off on a short camping break.

The teapots turned out well, and seem to pour fine, apart from the fact that I slightly overdid the angle of the spout. This is to counter the natural twist which 'uncurls' slightly with a thrown spout. I think 25 past was a bit too generous.


Meanwhile the workshop clearance continues. We are trying to fill a dustbin of RUBBISH every week for the next month. After all 33 years is a long time to fill up a studio space. If we can empty enough cupboards to lift some of them out of the way, we are hoping to replace some of the dangerously worn, torn and dangerously trippy-uppity lino.


A very nice book arrived this week. Compiled and edited by Alice Leach it is a catalogue type record of some of the artists who passed through Dartington Hall school.

Here are a few pages:


Bernie, (Bernard Forrester) taught Pottery at the school and made exquisite pots himself. By the time I went there Bernie had semi retired but he continued to teach jewellery at weekends. In the two years I was lucky enough to have been at the school I never missed one of his classes. He was the most gentle, patient and sincere teacher one could have wished for.

Bernard Leach had a lot to do with the school, also teaching there part time at one point when he was working at Shinners Bridge Pottery.

The book is laid out in date order, so jumping on here are my good friends Nicky Scott on one side and Jonny Nance on the other, both in my year and my fellow family in Sicily.

...and here is my page. So very humbling to be in such good company!


Last page to show is Alice Leach, the dynamo behind the idea of the 'Power of Place exhibition', and the editor of the book 'Portfolio'. I am regretting a little that I didn't manage to get down to Devon to the Last-Ever-Re-union, and meet Alice, she is some tenacious dynamo and her paintings and drawings are an inspiration.