Coffee

Coffee always tastes better in the right cup!  I’ve been working on this new series of coffee cups, adjusting the size for  the perfect Lungo and the handle to get the angle right for a comfortable feel.

I often use these two glazes which interact in interesting ways with each other and with iron in the clay. The results can be quite variable and this is a striking example of what they can achieve.

Wood Firing

Because of Covid I’m missing annual pilgrimage to Somerset to do some wood firing. Normally my pots are fired in an electric kiln, but wood firing is something special – not to be confused with low temperature “smoke firing” which produces black smokey patterns but is not at all food safe, high temperature wood firing goes to stoneware temperatures typically around 1280-1300°C.

Wood fired glazes can produce superb depth and complexity especially when the kiln is deliberately starved of oxygen at high temperature to create chemical “reduction”. Pots often show mottling where ash from the firing lands on them as it passes through the kiln and this can be tremendously variable depending on where the pots are staked in relation to the how the hot gasses from the firing flow past. This variability and unpredictability helps create the uniqueness of every pot.

Naked unglazed clay turns a wonderful toasty colour and ash landing on it melts forming a “natural” glaze in-situ as can be seen on the bare outer surface of this bowl.

Cumbria Magazine

There’s a nice article published in the April edition of Cumbria Magazine (Dalesman Publishing) about Ulverston Potters Collective. 

This was going to be a lead in to this year’s “Fired Up Furness” exhibition but sadly of course that has had to be cancelled.  We’ll be back to do it again so do look out for us this time next year.

Commissions

It’s always exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measures to get commissions. Here’s an example of some recent work – four unique small (10cm) dishes and, in a follow-up order, two noodle bowls to match.

Of course a key part is working out what your client wanted and how to achieve it. However the nerve-wracking part is balancing the variability of the glazing effects and yet controlling enough elements to keep a matching set. Artistically speaking, how far can one explore a theme without loosing the theme? Then there are the unknowns introduced by the kiln gods on firing day and the long wait for it to cool so you can finally see the results.

Another nail-biting moment is presenting the work to the client and hoping they’ll like it. A repeat order means you must have done something right, but even then you go through the same emotions.

I’m more than happy to take commissions, do contact me and discuss your ideas.

Tiny Wee Bowls

Here are some gorgeous tiny wee stoneware bowls. They are only 7 to 10cm diameter and were thrown “off the hump”. This is a technique where several are formed out of one lump of clay on the wheel, saving time and effort as you don’t need to center a new ball of clay for each one.