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.