Ok, where do I begin? I have a feeling this will be a bit of a rambling disjointed entry so please bear with me.
The salt glaze weekend was great, I really enjoyed it. I was in a crazy B&B which was lovely, very welcoming people and the whole place was virtually taken over with “potty people” as the owner called us. I was with a group of four women who are doing the part time course at Derby who took me under their wing and looked after me and told me stories about Doug’s partying and band playing while they were down firing Nic Collin’s kiln last summer I think it was.
The demos were good, as it always is to see people who do their thing so well. I wasn’t aware of Mark Griffiths’ pots until the weekend, not there is a lovely jug of his sitting on my table. (On a slightly different though connected note I counted the pots in our house yesterday, not including mine. I got to 170. I’m beginning to wonder whether I may need some sort of counselling.) Mark’s pots have very strong forms that he decorates only subtly with impressed marks to work with the salt. Phil Rogers was talking about the idea of variation on a theme and working with slight alterations of mark within a form. Ian Gregory showed us his modular gas kiln construction. Square sheets of fibre blanket attached to a mesh back and then clipped together with crocodile clips and gas fired. The chimney is formed by slightly off setting the top of the cube. You can then add as many sections as you need to make any size of kiln. This is how he fires his life size pieces in situ.
I really want to have a go at some salt glaze at some point. I was hoping to build a little kiln to play with this summer but the way things are heading at the moment that will not be happening this year. I’ve had the kiln man, Adrian from Northern Kilns, up from Lancaster, he was here for hours. The kiln apparently is not getting enough electric anymore. When I moved into this workshop the electrician came round to tell me how much capacity I could have. There was 11 or 12 KW spare so the kiln was built to use 10KW. It appears to only be getting 8KW now. So the last two firings have been a mess with it working longer because it knew it wasn’t getting to temperature but of course work done is having the effect of being at a higher temperature. Hence glaze shimmering off and Hannah getting very stressed and worried. So I now have new elements that Adrian has made to cope with less power, still worried about firing it because I really can’t afford to lose any more pots either financially or time wise. So I spent all day making plant pots to fill the kiln so that at least I can fire it and get the cones in to test it at glaze temperature without risking anything too precious. My coming couple of months are going to be insane, the set up is as follows:
Oh and there’s the orders I took at Harrogate to finish and a couple of places to get pots for group shows to. I think my head is about to explode if I think about it all too much. If anyone has a spare sonic screwdriver or magic wand I would be grateful if you’d let me borrow it for a little while. I had such plans for organisation and preparedness this year. It started off pretty well too but now look what’s happened.
In between all that I have a couple of tons of kiln bricks to shift from Jason Shackleton’s place over to mine as I am going to build myself a wood kiln, probably a brilliant idea bearing in mind the grief the electric kiln is giving me. At least if / when my firing goes wrong with that it’ll be all my fault. I am looking forward to that, but a bit daunted by the idea, Jason I think is going to help me out a lot thankfully. I’ve gotten a place up near my workshop where my fab landlords have said I can build it. They are a great pair, ever helpful and very enthusiastic and just lovely lovely people. I wonder if they’ll blush when they read this? They are Hazel and Alan Campbell.
Hazel’s paintings are really something worth seeing.
“Good pots grow like trees.” Hamada apparently. I like it.
If you get the chance have a look at the new images on Amanda’s blog, they are of the pieces she took to Harrogate. Boy she can take some very tasty pictures. I’m not really a glass fan, I’m sure I’ve said this before but there is something about her work that hooks me.
It was odd being back at Whichford Pottery last weekend. I had been there in 2001 for interview for their apprenticeship scheme. After spending a couple of days working with them it was all going well. Apparently though the girl who was leaving I think decided not to and it was also Foot and Mouth year and Jim Keeling was unsure how it was going to affect the pottery business so they couldn’t take me on. Then I met Jason and moved up here to Scotland. A year or so later Whichford wrote to say they had a vacancy and would I like it but by that time I was pretty settled here and so didn’t go. I sat there wondering how things would have been oh so different had I gone there. Anyway I think it worked out for the best in the end as these things have a habit of doing.
Crikey and I’ve writen all that waffle and I can’t get it to put my pics up. They’ll have to wait, I’m shattered. Sorry folks.