August 23, 2009


Collected some succulents out walking today and popped them into pots. The pots don't have holes in the bottom, so will have to be careful not to over water. But succulents don't like too much water anyway.

They've found a home on the window sill at home

Along with my cup of tea. It's defnitely an inside cup of tea day, with that cold wind.

August 18, 2009

Small Pieces

Last weekend I dropped off a small selection of my cups at Small Pieces, a retail venture from the folks at Northcote Pottery.

Available are the white as well as the speckled cups for $20 each. Perfect for a cuppa!

Perils of International Shipping

A friend in the US, who does a bit of painting, asked me to make a set of small bowls for mixing paints etc. I've recently done a set of cups for his family (with stamps with the initials of each of the family members) and had complete success sending things by mail.

So with the little bowls complete I sent them off, bubble wrapped and stacked in a couple of packing tubes.

Whilst the cups travelled well, it seems the small bowls did not share the same robustness.

Sadly some bit the dust on the way over, arriving in various sized shards, a little like an archelogical dig.

Here are the casualities...

Happily some survived

But despite my little bowls now being on the other side of the planet... I've been put off international shipping for awhile... until I've found a failure proof method of packing!

June 21, 2009


Not a lot of action in the studio this weekend. Too many other things on - but hopefully next weekend.

With colds and chicken pox for the past few weeks, I'm just enjoying being out and about.

Here's Collin looking pensive...

June 12, 2009

Recycling Clay

Since i'm on a roll today I thought I might talk briefly about recycling clay.

When throwing there tends to be a lot of clay that ends up in your wheel trough, trimmings, failed pots etc. It collects up at the end of the day and you can't really throw it away as it will clog the plumbing and generally make a nasty mess.

So it collects. And after awhile you begin to collect quite a lot of it.

Big pottery's have a pugg mill. This is a machine you feed the reclaimed clay into and it pushes through a big tube and forces all the air out. I'm not working with those sort of quantities so I've had to come up with another solution.

I collect up all my reclaimed clay and leave it in a bucket in my work trough. I'm a little bit spoiled as this is an unusually large trough we picked up at a wreckers, and it is perfect for this job! The buckets of clay are topped up with water to help the clay break down.

What you are looking for is a nice, thick slurry and to help this along you have to get your hands in there occasionally and break the big bits up.

Once the clay is in a slurry then you simply dish it out onto your slab and leave over night. I
f the weather is fine and you have a lot of clay to reclaim then it goes into pillowcases and is left outside for a couple of days.

This way your waste clay isn't wasted but quickly finds a new home as a new pot.

laimed clay also has lots of little imperfections from bits of terracotta or other clay you might work with ending up in the mix. This gives it a lot more warmth and character.


I was looking through the rest of the pictures and came across a couple like this.

I've got no idea how these happened or what the camera did - but I like it.

It's kinda arty, but you still get all the information about the pot... now how to make the camera do it again......

White on White

I thought it was about time to take some "proper" photos.

The ones with the black background were okay, but i was wondering what they would look like on white, so here are the results.

Here's a pot by itself. It looks a little lonely, and i'm wondering whether there's too much white space. But I like that you can see the dance of the rim.

A couple of pairs of pots

And a little bowl. Jem uses these for painting medium. They have a stable bottom to stop them from falling over. I made him one recently with a little lid, to try and reduce the amount of volatiles and headaches.

I had envisaged the white background being super white with no shadows, but that didn't really happen. However I really quite like the grey's of the shadows. I guess it's just going to take some perfecting.

May 2, 2009

Black and White

I'm toying with setting up an Etsy shop and so have been taking some photos of my cups. My plans came undone when I got to the bit about shipping details. Pots are heavy, so working out shipping is a killer. Will have to make a trip to the post office and do some investigating.

But in the meantime, here's a cuddle mug, for mugs that like a cuddle.

April 17, 2009


Whilst the form of the cup is important, so's the bottom.

You'll notice potters tend to pick up pots and look at their bottoms.

A bottom tells you a lot. It tells you about how a potter handles clay and can give you an insight into their character.

Once upon a time my bottoms were very controlled. I turned feet on all my pots. They were very neat and precise.

But I've relaxed a lot since then and discovered that a loose, straight from the wheel bottom can be just as effective.

You can see in the picture the marks from the cutting wire. Once the pot is leather dry I then also "roll" the bottom of the pot on the bench to smooth down the sides from where it's been trimed and to soften the form, tucking it under.

Then it gets it's stamp, so you know it's one of mine!

April 15, 2009


Nothing beats a cup of budhas tears jasmine tea first thing in the morning.

Subtle, fragrant and warm.

April 13, 2009

Busy Easter

It was a busy weekend, lots of throwing!

I've finally settled on a style that I'm happy with which is a relief. Although no two pots are ever the same.

Here are the cups and the small bowls. It'll be off to the kilns again this weekend and then some serious glazing.


Well it's clearly autumn. The Boston Ivy (or is it Virginia Creeper) is putting on a great display of colour. Rusty reds, turning to yellows.

And Colin is soaking up the last rays of sunshine before winter comes along. Enjoying his little patch in the garden.

He's one happy dog!

little pots

I dropped my cups and gorgeous wooden display box off at St Lukes. It's my first foray into selling my cups. They asked if I could also make some small bowls for artists (after all, they are an art shop rather than a homewares shop).

So based on something similar that I'd made for Jem, I've made a small run of these little bowls. Perfect for holding medium whilst painting (and made to Jem's exacting specifications - flat bottom so they don't tip, not too big, and of course - simple!!)

here's an example (unfired and unglazed)

April 12, 2009


Decoration is one of those things i've struggled with for quite some time. It's a difficult thing to get right, but it's fundamental to the success of your pots!!

Originally I thought colour might be the answer, whack a bit of a colour on, and it's decorated. For me this didn't work. Aesthetically I like things to be simple. Colour just
made everything look busy and ugly. And it was difficult to see how the colour actually related to the pot. It always seemed like a very poor after thought.

The problem was that throwing, for me, is about the form, so I had to find something that complements the form rather than detracts from it.

For some time I've been using a small japanese stamp to "sign" the bottom of my pots.

It's simple and effective, and it got me to thinking, what about stamps...

So dad whipped up these wooden stamps for me and our I got out one of my lino cutting tools to give them a bit of a pattern. This worked.

Now I've evolved the idea a little more and made a collection of clay stamps (fired) that are considerably smaller, but still have a nice level of detail.

These give me a nice range of interesting indentations that I can use to give a little bit of interest, but without overwhelming the aesthetic of the pot. After all throwing is all about the form, making forms that are nice to hold and easy to use.

March 12, 2009

pot cemetery

Not all pots make it but I just can't bring myself to throw out the seconds. These pots have found a home in the garden, collecting the water that drips off the bonsai shelf. Beats being thrown away!

March 9, 2009

A Big Day of Throwing

Some throwing days can be a disaster and while others just work. I think it comes down to the mindset you have when you start out. Being calm and focussed. You need to have a kind of internal quietness, and if you don't have it, then it's like the clay just wants to jump around. It reminds me of what they say about dogs - they can smell fear - clay can smell when you're relaxed!!

Here's my wheel. It's an old Venco from a school that's decided to no longer teach pottery. Few places teach pottery now.

When I studied ceramics at art school 15 years ago pottery wasn't encouraged as the department tried to position itself as an art, not a craft. Now the department has gone completely!

If it keeps going like this, people wont know what it feels like to hold and use a cup or bowl that's made by hand rather than machine ...

February 19, 2009


I've got a few cups and bowls waiting to be fired. Hopefully this weekend I will be able to get down to the kilns and get them bisqued.
I've recently loosened up my throwing style. Loving the big loose throwing marks. They fit so well to your hand.
These are the cups waiting patiently to be fired ...


A hand made cup is different to any other type of cup you might have in your life. It changes the experience of drinking fundamentally!
A hand made cup fits to your hand, it wants to be craddled gently, embraced
A hand made cup encourages sipping and reflection, it's a little patch of quiet on a busy, noisy day

I make cups because I love them - and I like to share that with others. This blog is about that love affair