Thursday, 31 December 2009


Defeated - by a birds nest! I found this birds' nest in a climbing passion flower right outside our front door. I was so taken with its delicacy and intricacy that I thought I would record it. But it has proved very difficult to capture its complexity.
I've also recorded a few fragments from the garden.
A couple of days ago we made a trip to the British Museum again. Here's the new Chinese Ceramics gallery.
They certainly do embody it with a sense of the sacred and inspire an atmosphere of awe and preciousness. I don't think anyone spoke in more than a whisper. The shere number of wonderful glass cases and dimmed lighting are very effective.
What happens to the old fashioned glass cases with wooden frames that every museum had when I was a child. There should be a museum for old museums!
As wondreful as this gallery was it wasn't attracting the number of visitor the rest of the galleries were commanding. I don't ever remember seeing so many people in a museum. Have they become the destination for everyone on a Sunday afternoon?

A few objects from the Medieval gallery. The aquamaniles facinate me and although I would like to make one I don't suppose they would be saleable.

These two jugs only just made it to their new homes before Christmas as we were snowed in. There is quite a steep hill out of Merstham and it was impassable. The jug on the left had shimmering on the top rim which was a shame. They were made with the Kent clay with all its grit and bits.
Hope everyone has a good new year. I am looking forward to all the new pots to come in 2010!!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Glazing today

I have been working with the Kent clay again. These jugs are thrown from the clay with out any processing. It's got all sorts of bits in it- some of them quite large. (When they sliced the clay up at Babylon tiles they took out a lizard! That would have given me quite a surprise when I was throwing!) Of course this makes the finished pots quite rough and robust.
Nevertheless it throws beautifully and is a joy to work with.
I still have another batch of the clay left which I slatted down and sieved. It was a lot of work to yield a fairly small batch of clay. I kneaded it up today and it's a wonderful amber, gold colour and completely smooth. I'm looking forward to throwing it. I may be able to throw much thinner.
I tried to get a medieval feel into the top two pots, but I think the thumbing looks a bit as though the jug's wearing a skirt! The medieval jugs in the V and A had sprung bases, I think that the bases may have been added later. Anyone got any ideas about that?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Another pot!

With all the pots in the ceramics gallery of the V and A I always feel like a child in a toy shop and almost want to run from one glass case to another! But this big pot attracted my attention, partly because Godstone is very near to where I live, though I don't know what Pear water is!
I was drawn by that wonderful flowing script.
Where do all the old pots end up? They must have turned these out by the score, possibly in Fulham for various manufacturers in the area. Surely this cann't be the only one to survive?

Monday, 7 December 2009

The V and A

Yesterday we spent the day at The Temple of the Applied Arts (so named by Claudia Clare ). I was keen to see the new Medieval and Renaissance galleries.It is a homage of polished marble and shiney glass cabinets. It's a theatrical display of some of the most precious and ornate objects from this period. I had not imagined the galleries would be nearly so extensive.
Given that many of the objects had religious significance and may once have been thought of as sacrosanct there was a general air of holiday jollity.
The galleries were thronging with chattering Sunday visitors. They seemed incongruous in the vaulted spaces. I almost expected a sacred silence and people filing through as in a religious procession as they venerated the objects of devotion.
But no, not at all- children played hide and seek around the tryiptytchs, a granny was fast asleep on a bench and a child or two were splashing in a fountain. there was a bubbling of voices as people chatted and laughed and babies cried.
I would like to go again soon but perhaps when it's not so busy. There was a set a round stained glass windows that were too high to photograph that I would like to work into some plates.

I had not intended to visit the ceramics galleries but couldn't resist By this time the boys had gone off in search of the Comics' Museum and the British Museum so I had another tour of the ceramics galleries. The bottom picture is of one of the figarines in the gallery but the picture below is a piece by David Cleverly in the museum shop. I thought it was good to see someone still working in that genre - fun.

Monday, 23 November 2009

I'm just catching my breath this morning before launching into today's tasks.It's been a busy week-end in Farnham. I had intended to take lots of photographs of people's work but I must have been chatting too much and only took the few above. The ones at the top are of Nichola and Tony Theakston's animal sculptures.
My son helped me man the stall on Saturday and did a great job. I think I need to take him to all the shows with me. As ever all the work was of a high standard and very diverse. It was good to meet lots of new people and catch up with some old friends.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Something fishy

Here are some plates out of the kiln this week. I enjoyed playing around with these. I've used dots of wax resist on the bottom one which has produced a fun texture.
Today I packed a glaze firing with some test pieces. I am trying out some Spencroft clay so it will be interesting to see how it compares to my usual clay. Will be able to open it on Thursday.
Tonight I have been kneading clay from the clay pit in Kent. If I've got time I may throw some tomorrow but I've got quite a few chores to do ready for Farnham at the week-end.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Half-term break

Here are some pots from the last firing. I really enjoyed making the caseroles. They provide a good vertical surface to work on. I like having writing on the pots but I couldn't think what to put on the jugs - milk seemed a bit obvious!

We did a quick dash to Wales at the end of half-term. There was an exhibition at Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthen by Edwina Bridgeman. It was a fun, inventive and whimsical orchard. It was created from charity shop finds. Made me want to scour charity shops and create my own world.
Unfortunately my photographs don't do the work justice.

It was great to get the boys away from their computers and games into the fresh air. I told them we were going to visit a castle (Castle Carreg Cennen) but when they saw it they said 'that's just a heap of stones!' The veiws were wonderful and it was a warm autumn day with glowing colours.
Had to finish early today to get the car after it's MOT. I haven't had the bill yet but I need it for Art in Clay at Farnham in a few weeks.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Come to dinner- the table's laid and the food prepared. Friday evening is always a time to relax and unwind. I started the day with a swim. (Have to be in and out before the school children come for their lessons). A quick dash to the bank and the shops for some food shopping and home to decorate some pots.
I use a mixture of sources to find the images I want. Some from books others from my sketch books. These pots always take much longer than I expect but I do enjoy doing them. I was surprised to find that I'm down to my last bag of clay!! So I'm off to my supplier first thing in the morning armed with a long shopping list.

Friday, 2 October 2009


As much of my imagery in my current work has included bees and beetles I thought I would keep a look out for the images on other products. I thought it would be easy to find a number of items. I did find a beetle set in resin which has the most lustrous colours when the sun catches it but apart from that the only other use of a bee I found on a bottle of beer! Of course I had to buy some to add to my meager collection and obviously I had to sample the contents. (I call it research and dedication to the cause).
Has any one out there found bugs and beetles on any art work or products?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Brampton pots!

My creation
Originally uploaded by sgraffito2003
Thought I'd post these images that I have been using this year because I need to create a new set for the coming years applications.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Sunday Ceramics

Sunday was a beautiful soft, warm Autumnal day. Perfect for a trip to London. First stop The Victoria and Albert Museum to see the newly re-opened ceramics galleries. It was a very quick visit so we only got the flavour of it. The two pots above are from Cyprus and really got my attention.
I will take a day off at some stage for a return visit to have a good look.
I've put the two pictures in below just to give you an idea of just how many pots were crowded together. There were displays where pots were given more space and prominence but many were in close proximity.
I think that there are more galleries to be opened one featuring British pottery maybe later in the year.

From the V and A we dashed to Brick Lane for some lunch and on to the Geffrye Museum. Our main objective was to see Hannah. Her display looked good and it was good to catch up with a fellow blogger. Although our work looks different we both work with slipware and it's all ways good to compare notes. By the time we got home I was exhausted but it was a fun day out.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Still working

I'm having a late start this morning as a clean up operation was needed in the pottery. The boys are on an inset day (when they were small they used to call it an insect day!) I've had the vacuum out there to make sure there isn't too much build up of dust. The little bowls are all tests for ideas. Don't know if the lustre on the insects will show up in the pictures. Thy are quite dark so I will try omitting the oxide painting underneath. At first I wasn't at all impressed and felt totally underwhelmed but then I carried one outside to put tomatoes in. As the sunlight caught the lustre it looked glorious. So I will try a few more tests.

Packed the kiln for a biscuit this morning but these are the pots that wouldn't fit in! There are a few more on the shelves too so I'd over estimated the capacity of the kiln. I think I need 2 kilns!!
Son number 1 has just put his music on the whole house is pounding so I must get back to the pottery quickly!!!