Monday, 13 August 2012

Chilly February

This lovely line of prints were left all the way from the roadside down to the back field, making a perfect picture to greet me on a chilly Monday morning, they are from a Muntjack deer.
The temperature inside the workshop was struggling to get up to 1 Degree. So I decided to light the woodburner and walk down to the Broad while it warmed the place up a bit.
Seeing it half frozen reminds me of the old photographs that I have been shown from the 1920's and 30's depicting hundreds of people ice skating on Salhouse broad. maybe not today, eh!

Getting ready for Harrogate.

  Little bowls with slip decoration, sunning themselves gently. 
Finished bowls with shino glaze. 
Little bottles, semi porcelain with Norfolk reed ash glaze.
Little bottles, semi porcelain,Turkish turquoise glaze.
Grateful for a few days sunshine after the recent cold snap it's full speed ahead at Cosseys Yard.
 A sudden rush of orders (hurrah!) of my little bowls from a gallery in Cumbria means I need to build up stocks and have some lovelies to take to The British Craft Trade Fair in April.
I want to take work that has been glazed in my Norfolk Reed glaze.
 I'm keen to give the work a sense of place, so this particular batch will all be green.
Bringing together Japanese inspirations and local materials sums up my attitudes to my work and background.
There is a saying "Clay is of the first importance, clay is of the second importance, clay is of the third importance"
This was brought home to me while I was in Tokoname in 2009. Since then I have experimented with changing clays, rather than changing glazes. I have to say, it's much easier.

The reed ash glaze is quite dark on my usual Spencroft fleck clay, the added iron gives it a peppery look which I like. By using a semi porcelain glaze I can lighten the glaze, to the point where I have been complemented on my celadons!
Not sure why, but all of the lighter colours have been proving more popular recently.

Where did the time go?

Just realised quite what a sloppy blogger I am. With profuse apologies to the three people that read this, obviously you are desparate for news!

I was lucky enought to be selected for quite a few shows for 2012 and making started with a vengeance, early in the new year,  despite the bleak conditions at "Cosseys Yard" here in Norfolk.

The first event of the year was "Fireworks" Ceramics and Glass. This was also the first time for this show. It was a nice location, only an hour or so away from me in " Furrin' " Suffolk. I had packed my passport, just in case.
This was also the first outing for the Kangoo as a replacement tent. The plan seemed to come together, a few refinements to be made for next time, but all in all, not too bad, and much better than putting/packing up a wet tent. Why does it always seem to rain at set up and pull down at shows?
Anyway, back to the show.  There were some nice pots by some familiar, and not so familiar faces, what a pity that the advertising hadn't seemed to have had any effect. Not many people came and a slightly bleak weekend was had by all.
Bored and cold,  by Saturday afternoon my nice neibhour and I were manufacturing ourselves fetching skirts from bubblewrap.

Moving swiftly on, the next event was Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios which seemed to be in a bit of a decline this year, no doubt high fuel prices as well as the  recession are having an effect. People still came, but it was a more local  audience, apart from the serious collectors. It's not much consolation to know that everyone else was having a rotten time of it as well, but at least it staunches the paranoia about my work.
Shortly after N.O.S came the Jubilee celebrations and this saw me at an event at "The Assembly Rooms" in central Norwich. This was a bit of a  mixed do, but sales proved suprisingly brisk and we enjoyed the free Pimms!
During a solid three weeks of rain (still having a drought here in Norfolk!) my next event was very local, just a couple of miles down the road at "Fairhaven Garden Trust" in South Walsham. Another damp one, but again, with some suprising connections and commissions made.

After lots more rain, along came "Art in Clay" at Hatfield House in Herts. ( Where hurricanes hardly ever happen) Again I was grateful for the lovely Kangoo, my mobile bedroom proving suprisingly comfy as I lay in bed listening to the thunderstorm lashing down outside. Snug and dry with the essentials of life: radio, phone, my kindle and a tin of cider.
The Friday was a washout, with young student helpers gamely mopping the grass INSIDE the marquees. But potheads are made of sterner stuff and the serious came and bought. Saturday proved to be nearly as wet, and ith crowds down by a few thousand we could all do nothing but go with the flow ;-) The Sunday was wet as well and again numbers were down, such a shame for such a well organised show. Still, it's a testament to the quality of the work there that virtually everyone left reasonably happy.
Driving back to Norfolk, I left Hatfield in the rain and the weather just got better and better as I headed East, typical!

Rumblings in the classroom jungle of Adult Education have prompted me to think seriously about teaching a small class from my workshop. I had many questions and many potential problems. I left for "Potfest in the Pens" with my mind full of ideas and more questions.

Packing for Potfest in the Pens, apart from being an alliterative nightmare was very stressful. many times I pored over images from previous show to work out the best use of space and methods of covering up those erm, lovely rustic, pens.
A mere 7 hrs, and a Little Chef early starter later ( that does sound odd!) I was "Nearing my destination"  and was being instructed to turn left right on the roundabout. Not being able to achieve this feat I continued in the hope of a forthcoming left turn. Alas, the next sign I saw was mentioning Scotand. Bugger. Underterred, I again sought the advice of Sally Satnag and managed to turn round and had another go at the roundabout. This time I established that it probably was the place that I wanted, but it was impossible to access it. Sailing merrily past my destination for the second time I was now heading back in the opposite direction.
Sobbing gently with frustration I attempted the roundabout for a third go. Sucess.
Tell you more next time, have now run out of space.........................