Sunday, 29 January 2012

Back to Basics

Whilst sorting out some papers at the workshop I came across some of my 2D work from college. These three photo's show the different perspectives that I am interested in.
When marks are viewed at any size and from any distance they become abstracted and form their own patterns.
I clearly remember taking this first photograph, it's in Upton and the field was freshly ploughed ready for planting with potatoes. To get the shot at this angle I was virtually laying down on the road, with a five yr old daughter in the car screaming because I had moved out of sight.
The silk screen print on the left came from a mash up of macro photographs taken from the tyre tracks of many different farm vehicles.
The background was originally made from many layers of ripped, torn and generally distressed tissue paper.
At one time I was making a lot of these prints and was almost at the point of combining printing with ceramics.
As my work is based on the marks made by man on the land around me, and to see those more clearly I decided that I needed a different viewpoint, to be above the fields. After contacting Norfolk Flying Club I was offerred a 30min. flight in a twin seater airoplane. I'm not especially scared of flying, but this plane was tiny! The door was up and over the roof and there was rather too much Gaffer tape in the cockpit for my liking.
However, after we had got up to around 700ft. and started to travel away from the Airport, past the houses and go out over the fields I soon lost all fear, well, some of it anyway.
I became so absorbed in looking at the patchwork of fields and Broads beneath me that the half an hour passed very quickly.
The photographs, drawings and print work that I made over a decade ago now still inform my work on almost a daily basis and I am retrospectivly grateful for being hassled into producing so much of it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday afternoon

Grey skies and a keen wind made for a brisk walk down to Salhouse Broad this afternoon.

Bit of a flock frenzy, probably scared by the lonely hire boat.................
Back at the workshop the wood burner had been warming the place up nicely while I was off admiring the view. On Thursday I threw a dozen small platters and some bowls on Friday. I am willing them to be firm enough to turn soon. What with the big platters and a whole load of other work drying, I'm seriously in danger of running out of room.
Using soggy pots as my excuse for a cuppa and a sit down, my thoughts turn to The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate from April 15th -17th.
I learnt a lot last year, both from my own display and a looking at those of others. Some people went to an immense amount of trouble, others just plonked themselves down on a chair with their work next to them. I will remember the chair this year though! Eleven hours of standing on the first day left me hobbling to the pub for my evening meal.
I looked at some prices for hotels and B&B in Harrogate, but they were dreadfully expensive, Harrogate is quite posh. Looks like I will be staying onsite at Cell Block H again, a bargain at £18 per night. All mod cons not provided, bring your own bedding and towel, no electric socket in the roooms and a gents urinal in the Ladies Toilet. .. No one told me it was going to be this glamourous as a Craftsperson!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Now available online!

I've just ventured into the world of online sales. Like a true luddite, about 10yrs after everyone else, but never mind, I get there in the end.
At present, due to the frequency with which I can wood fire, the work that I have available for sale fired in this way is limited.
I am only selling my woodfired work either direct from my workshop, at selected ceramics and pottery shows in the U.K. or from this site
Pictured right is a white stoneware clay with a Japanese "Hi-Iro" or fire mark glaze. Fired in my "fast freda " Wood Fired Kiln from Northern Kilns.
This was fired for 5hrs on recycled pallets.
Other work featured at www.theonlinegallery has been fired in kilns hat lasted considerably longer than the five hours of my "Fast Freda"
A couple of the pieces available online were fired in a communal Anagama in the summer of 2011.
It was great, if
a little daunting,
to be one half of the kiln packing team responsible for the work of around 70 potters.
As I was deemed by those present to be experienced in matters woodfiring
I was leading most of the 2hr shifts throughout the firing.
- 2hr shifts, good grief! Having been toughened up by our I.W.C.A.T. Japanese woodfiring shifts of 4hrs in ludicrous temperatures in the summer of 2009 , these were an absolute stroll!

Monday, 16 January 2012

A frosty morning

An early start this morning, 7.45am as I set off down to the workshop. This field is about half way there, I love it when we get these spooky floating mists. I usually only see them late at night when coming back from Norwich, when they hang like soggy blankets over the sugar beet fields.

As part of my New Years resolutions I have decided to walk down to Salhouse Broad at least three times each week before I start work. My workshop is next to the car park of this very peaceful part of the Norfolk Broads and although I quite often go for a walk when I get stuck with what I'm doing, or I'm waiting for my kiln to cool down, I really don't go down there often enough. Sometimes when we live as part of such a beautiful landscape as the Norfolk Broads we take it for granted, despite its' status as a National Park
My large platters are still drying slowly in my somewhat damp workshop, but rather that than warping from too much direct heat.
A few days ago I heard that I had been selected to show my work at "Art in Clay" at Hatfield House in Hertfortshire this summer. I am really pleased, I have shown there for the last two years and had a brilliant time. Further details later.................
In the meantime I am trying to pre guess what will be ordered at the B.C.T.F. in Harrogate in April and what people will want to see as part of Norfolk Open Studios later in the year.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Big One.

The other five large platters have now been turned and decorated with slip and glaze. The last platter was the biggest and I turned it yesterday.
I thought that I had better double check the measurements, but it's o.k. The platter is 17" in diameter and the of inside of my kiln is 18"- result, happiness.

This is the biggest diameter piece I have ever made, usually when I go big, it's cylindrical, and very tall. Turning it was fine, but coming to decorate it got me a little scared. The others were big, but I think because there were five of them together I relaxed a bit more.
So I thought that I would clear my mind and clean my work surface and all my brushes.
They are a motley selection, some barely worthy of the title. The largest is perhaps the most interesting. I'm not sure of it's original use, but I can see from the marks on it that it was made by a prisoner in Wandsworth Prison in 1962. he has also carved his initials on the handle as well.
I bought it, new, from a car boot sale here in Norfolk. How it got there, who knows?
All of the twiggy ones came from Japan, from 100 Yen shops, if I'm honest. I think their original usage was supposed to be for brushing crumbs from the table. They make a lovely mark with slip or glaze though, pity it's such a long way to get replacements!
I haven't found any plants that work as well here.
The long handled radiator brush is fun to use, it reminds me of being back at college and life classes with the terrifying Val Toft.
- The excercise where you have to put the A1 paper on the floor and draw with a stick dipped in ink ? - that's what using this brush feels like.
Anyway, like this morning I am putting it off! After a few brushstrokes of slip on my desktop to practice the wrist movement, well,I just went for it.
There it is, done.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

January Sunshine 2012

I have lots of shows coming up in the Spring so, despite the cold, I'm starting on some very big slip decorated platters. I want to have one of these as my exhibition piece at the taster exhibition of Norwich Open Studios
N.O.S. are very efficient and I have to determine the exact piece that I will be showing in May, by early Febuary, hence the attempt at efficiency!
Prior to Open Studios though, I am showing for a second time at "The British Craft Trade Fair " - from the 15th -17th of April. Looking forward to a return trip, and I won't forget a kettle this time.
Next up is "Fireworks- Ceramics and Glass" from the 11th -13th of May at Blackthorpe Barns in Rougham, Suffolk. see for more details.
Rougham holds many happy (if slightly fuzzy) memories of fairs from yesteryear.
I wonder if there is anything on youtube from those times?
Hmmm. - Anyway, moving swiftly on...........
Potfest in the pens comes up next from the 4th -5th of August.
Further details at :
This is my first time showing here, I'm really looking forward to it and to catching up with an old friend from Tokyo, Steve Tootell, whom I havn't seen since 2007 at the "Fantastic Fire " workshop that he organised in Mashiko, Japan, with Euan Craig, Steve Mills, Masakasu Kusakabe and Wali Hawes.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Art in Clay, Hatfield House August 2011

This being my second time at "Art in Clay" at Hatfield House I was a lot more relaxed than last year. Having learnt my lesson last year, I pitched my tent first, thus ensuring a good spot. Not too near the noisy students, but not too far away from the loos and showers either.

Domestics settled, I was really pleased to see that I was in almost the same spot as last year, opposite David and Margaret Frith www.frithpottery, - and just up the row from fellow East Anglian potter Robin Welsh, - not too shabby for a temporary address!

It was also great to catch up with my I.W.C.A.T. - http:/
Japanese friends who had come from Tokoname, Tomoko Okuda and Peter Seabridge.
Again it was a good weekend, with the good old British weather showing it's range of skills, from tipping it down when we were setting up to absolutely broiling the very next afternoon.

Norfolk Open Studios/ Early Summer

Norfolk Open Studios.
A bit of an odd one this year, what with Burgh Apton on consecutivly. Perhaps not enough people to go round, there is only so much free time and petrol money available in these straightened times.
However, having said that, those that came to see me at the workshop were those that were specifically interested in my work and the processes involved and sales were actually up on last year, so all credit to the team at Norfolk Open Studios
Looking forward to NOS12

Spring at Salhouse.

Spring came as a welcome warmth here on the Broads, until I sat at my wheel on the 11th of March and my blood chilled as I listened to the events unfolding in Japan. My thoughts immediatly went to all of my friends in various parts around the Country.
Nature, as it will, continues regardless and I was pleased to discover that I had a birds nest in the lean-to at the back of my workshop. Eventually the eggs hatched and it was hopefully the beginning of a new nest site in a new location. I have posted some pictures.
Eventually, my human friends are now safely settled in their new home and I wish them many generations of secure nesting too.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone, it was a quiet one this year at "Cosseys Yard Ceramics". Rather more so than last new year, when I found a sleeping gentleman in my workshop on New Years morning.
However, every cloud has a silver lining, as they say, and I now have new windows that can't be kicked in by a passing drunk!
I had a busy year last year as far as shows were concerned. First up was my virgin appearance at
"The British Craft Trade Fair" in Harrogate, Yorkshire.
A good friend offerred to drive and provide moral and physical assistance so off we went. I hadn't really realised what the set up was, it was exactly like The Royal Norfolk Showground, here in Norfolk.
I had selected to stay in the on-site accommodation, which was um, a bargain price. Upon arrival, it was obvious as to quite see why- it was the stockmans accommodation when they came to show their cows. It's the only "Ladies" toilets and showers that I have ever visited that boasted a urinal!
The three days were tiring, but very rewarding and resulted in my work being available at several new gallery outlets around the Country. See my website for full details.
The evenings provided further entertainment in the form of scaling 9ft high gates to get back from the Pub!
Older and, I hope, wiser( I shall return this year. But this time I will bring my own kettle!