Saturday, 28 August 2010

Toad Homes

The latest bowls coming off my wheel are all upsidown. Toad houses. I'm making them as part of a range of wood and frost proof ceramic wildlife feeders and habitats. I've not discovered a passion for working with wood but am collaborating with my friend in the workshop next door, Mark.
I liked the first toad houses we did, but after spotting this late night visitor to the workshop on route to put a bung in the kiln (me, not the toad) I decided that he is what was

called for!

What do you think? I hope they go down well as you can see I got carried away and made a few- they're destined for our Folksy shop Check it out, its Marks and mine online shop. Only got a few pieces on there so far, but as soon as these houses are fired they'll be on there as well.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

...more yarning

Back at my workshop I have been making another batch of yarn bowls for Shiela. These ones are a new style for 2010. These are simpler than the last design but I have been trying out a new decoration that I have applied to them. Also I have fell in love with a glaze, recipe courtesy of my good friend and potter 'Martin the pot'. (Check out his blog So thanks for your generosity Mart, I will use it wisely.
Anyway, this is the most gorgeous glaze I have come across in a long time (although the photo does not do it justice, even enlarged, sorry!), and feel it greatly enhances the Yarn bowls, which this time are thrown from a lovely smooth red earthenware. I have recently changed the smooth red that I stocked at the shop for a much smoother version of it. Its sooo beautifully smooth it feels like throwing molten milk chocolate!
Not sure if I like them more than last years, but they certainly are very different (would be interested to hear any comments)
Check them out at Shielas website

Urning a living

This year so far has seen me spending a bit of time each week with Brain doing a bit more restoration work on some pretty old lead. The size of this job has dictated that it be done at Brians workshop, (unlike the apple seller statue that we worked on last year which dangled from a hoist at my workshop for a while) and its been nice to spend some time out and about and in the real world!
This one is Big Urn, he's upside down and about 3ft, the bit we've got here.(the next job on the bench in Little Urn) Big urn has gone the way of much ancient lead statuary, he has collapsed under his own weight, and caved in. My job is to rebuild whats missing or distorted and then make a mould, so that we can make new replacement parts using lost wax. Brain will cut out the old useless bits and add in the new stronger parts, which make the piece a useable functioning piece of lead ornament again for the next 300 years rather than a pile of scrap lead!
While we are at it we may also take a pattern of the rest of the detail so that Brian can make copies in future.
Little urn is less that 12'' tall but has gone the same way as big urn, possibly a bit too far, so we may just be using it to make a copy. Watch this space to see that one in progress.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Can you tell what it is yet?

Asked last week to create a Meercat sculpture- little did I know what a popular little beasty they have become. Not being a slave to the goggle box I was unaware of the popularity of the 'Meercat Diaries' and more recently 'Compare the Meercat' adverts. Since starting this piece however I have heard every silly accent and more detail than necessary regarding what now must be the nations favourite creature.

So- not at all 'jumping on the band wagon' and to encourage Martin to 'have a go'- here is my 'Meercat Diary'!

Its a measure of its popularity that as soon as I got this far with the Meercat sculpture every visitor to the workshop was having a go at the Meercat accent.

Hes progressing well though,in fact, I'm really enjoying it. In fact, I think I can feel a family of them coming on....

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Clay Day

We had a great time at the Spring Spectacular last month, the day was fine and the clay workshop well attended. The results are now out of the kiln and many have found their way back to the makers. These are some pictures of the work produced, we started everyone off with pinch pots...... .......and some of them turned into birds, or in one case a fish!

Due to popular demand (and having lots of fun doing the last pottery day) we are now hosting a potters wheel afternoon on a regular basis throughout the Summer months. Currently we are running it on the 21st June and then possibly every Sunday afternoon if its wanted. Wheel see how it goes (geddit?)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Free Clay Workshop

This Saturday I will be hosting a free pottery workshop at Alby Craft Centre (Norfolk). Every 6 months we put on an event at the Craft Centre and this spring we realised that as craftspeople we have the means to entertain people ourselves. After much talk of wodturning competitions and other things that challenged health and safety regulations, we settled for more sedate Spinning, flower arranging, card, fabric doll and clock making and pottery.
Thats were my bit comes in. Having set up Anglia Clay Supplies last year I have a little clay about the place! If you have ever wanted to have a go at making 'Pinch Pots' and 'Coil Pots' now is your chance. Pop over on Saturday 16th May between 12 & 5 and have some fun with us. As well as the demos I have already mentioned, we will also have chainsaw carving, flying birds of prey, beekeeping displays, live music and face painting.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Romantic Garden Nursery

After morning downpours that threatened to turn my sculpture soggy, the day brightened and warmed to a really pleasant afternoon. As I sculpted detail into my pinecone and chatted to visitors to the nursery I was surrounded by some beautiful plants. The Bottle brush tree with its unusual flowers and seed pods caught my attention and got my mind dreaming up potential sculptural forms.

Pictured below is Brian Turner looking rightly proud of his display of lead sculpture, fountains and planters.

Beside him is the pinecone design we were working on for last years Chelsea Flower Show. Behind him in the picture is a statue we have been making a mould of in order to repair and reproduce it.
The statue is 300 years old and despite damage and general distortion from bearing its own weight for all that time, it has the most amazing detail I have ever seen in lead, down to stitching on the shoes and dress and individual hairs carved into gorgeous curls.

Lets hope the weather is as good tomorrow as it ended up being today.