Sunday 21 November 2010

'Dark Skies'

I finished these two pieces a while back, but I have been saving them, plus keeping the images back, because they are for Zoe's 'Galloway Dark Skies' exhibition at the McGill Duncan Gallery, opening in a couple of weeks. Zoe used the images in her invitation leaflet and I see the Dark Skies vase is even in D and G Life magazine - thank you Zoe.

I called in to pick up some invitations yesterday but the McGill Duncan Gallery is a dangerous place. It is TOO tempting, with such beautiful things that I immediately become filled with lustful 'wants'. Of course Jill says this is exactly what they are there for! Recently aquired were some Paul Young pieces which looked particularly stunning, well displayed and beautifully lit. I simply had to stroke a few birds and sheep. In total contrast a were a pair of beakers and a teapot, made by Andrew Priestman. Quiet, simple, perfect in form, weight and finish. Uncluttered, and filled with a serene presence. In other words everything my own work is not and I loved them!

This tree bark had such a beautiful natural spiral, some sort of damage like whirling railway lines, it might well feed into a yet-to-be-made table, a far off floating idea which will have to wait until after the New Year.

Right now I still have plenty of slip decorated orders to finish. I never know at what point to say, 'Too late now for Christmas', but I hate to disappoint and will no doubt end up in a total last minute panic. Think the cut of is definitely next week though.

Yesterday I ended up doing a small glaze test as the new mix, a big batch of 10,000gms looked and behaved in such an odd way I didn't have the confidence to proceed. It was a new batch of ingredients, possibly the lead bisilicate (which has doubled in price), is from an entirely different source. I have a small and invaluable test kiln, and all seems to be ok, so even though the mix is white instead of cream in colour it seems to be behaving. Phew!

Today became filled with Sunday things, such as making a Christmas cake, and a lovely cliff walk. (Actually it was a cliff hobble, I had a 'Capoeira' beginners class the day before, great fun, sort of Tai Chi meets samba, but I think I over did it)! I also spent an hour trying to get my mobile phone monthly contract changed over to Pay as you Go. Four 'advisers' and queuing systems later I actually spoke to a human being with a soul.....

But ho ho, such a warm workshop awaits me tomorrow. Rodger had been on a mission to insulate and now we have underfloor polystyrene in place, plus double glazing - perspex sheeting held in place with magnetic tape. The windows look amazing because they have never been so clean and spider free in years. Roof insulation still to come. The only thing is that I am USED to dressing like 'Michelin Man' in the winter and now I keep getting too HOT!

Wednesday 17 November 2010


A good friend from art school Stephen Jon, who has just come back from Kurdistan where he has been working on an arts project with masks and puppets, sent me this photograph. It is an improvised water trough which a herdsman had made for his cows and goats. Well spotted Stephen. of course I recognised and loved it immediately!

What has been happening in the land of Barnbarroch Pottery? I see it is three weeks since I last caught up on blogland. I've been busy, very busy, catching up and pressing on with with plenty of Christmas orders. Some have been going more successfully than others.

How easy it is to forget to vent an enclosed runner. Never done it before and I hope that I won't be so dozy again.... Disaster at bisc, and it was no small vessel! Oh the joys of pottery....

I hadn't really relished the idea of making Christmas mugs for an order, I thought that they could turn out a bit 'naff', but in the end I quite liked them! Think I might even make a few more 'reindeer on Criffel' ones.

I felt rather smug when managed to fit three of these in this kiln, (plus pots around of course), as I had been rather expecting another slanting kiln shelf escapade. The solution to long dishes and a tight kiln fit is to give them asymmetric handles it seems.

Lots of runners to wax, and I quite like them upside down. Hmmm...!

What a beautiful example of repeating patterns which repeat themselves. It's called a 'Romanesco' and when I found it in the Castle Douglas vegetable shop I just had to buy it. Way too lovely to eat though.