Sunday, 27 May 2012

May 2012

May 22nd
What was I saying about interuptions .....
Someone dropped off some mature clumps of ornamental grasses this morning so I had to get them a home promptly. Fortunately this border was new and empty. Now I have just to find the time to gravel it at some stage. At least the sun is driving me into the cool of the studio more often now, so that's a good thing.

Yes they do look like a set of 'Gonks', do you remember them?

May 21st
More wood arrived today, as has the sun. and customers from the canal at last. Possibly summer will arrive this year after all. I am doing an hour in the garden an hour in the studio and so on now in a bid to keep a balance on things. I am determined to make it work, problem is you forget that customers take time to serve and friends call round. But it all makes for enoyable times.

I really don't know when I will get this lot logged up and stored.

May 20th
A quite enjoyable day at Loughborough. A Potters Market organised by David and Louise Salbury as part of British Ceramics Week and the Craft & Design Month sponsored by the Magazine Craft & Design. It was a damn cold day but I had decent sales and hope to have some new visitors to the studio from there. Unfortunately the battery on my camera ran out after one photo. I was good to see old friends, and yes we are all getting older.

 Market stands provided cover but not shelter from the cold breeze.

May 14th
Raising the boards to increase the depth of the last veg plot, more compost and soil to be dug in and still waiting for seeds to start showing in the green house. It has been just too cold for germination.
At least some of the plant splitting has been successful. I am getting plenty of pots made and the rack for kiln firing is filling up well.

 Yes the seats in the garden are essential!

Problem is having divided up the plants I know I have to plant them at some stage.That means more work out of the studio. Good or bad thing?

May 12th
Well a few days grafting in the studio and the weather is getting a tiny bit warmer more gardening tasks have been tackled and I am hoping the honeysuckle I trained around the hazel frame will thicken and make sitting atop the septic tank in the sun for breakfast a more pleasurable experience than it sounds.

 There really is no odour from the working tanks.

Four fat Blackbirds nesting in one of the conifers in the garden.

There are a other blackbirds nest in the garden and I discovered the nest of a pair of Yellow Wagtails in the top of an empty propane bottle at the side of the studio.

May 3rd
Teapots glazed yesterday and medium plates thrown, I have to get my head down and work through the list of stock needed for the year. With all the wet weather drying times are long but I just know that as soon as it warms up I will be chasing to keep up with catching pots at the right condition for handling and glazing.

Plates low down turned awaiting glazing, more plates to turn and teapots lids to hole and fit.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

April 2012

End of the month and a 3 day show at Capesthorne Hall Craft, Gift & Food Fair in Cheshire. Spent the first two tedious days hoping it wouldn't rain on packing up day. The last day passed quick and overall pulled the show into something reasonable sales wise. May is coming and I fear it will go faster than I need.

Sunday 22nd
Studio production is now in full swing. A couple of batches of teapots begun and plates in the pipeline. Still managing to spend plenty of time in the garden though.

Teapots on the go, spouts in the damp boxes lids to turn and handles to pull.

Tuesday 17th
Back home and can't believe how cold it is still. Burning logs at a rate to heat the studio and work has started. Clay balled up for tomorrows throwing, a glaze sieved and all put ready to go in the morning.
It was a week of mixed weather. Mornings cold with several frosty starts. A couple of days with torrential rain and wind that put a real chill in the air. Luckily most of the evenings were dry and quite sunny, and as you can see some great days for a bracing wander at the coast.
Places to sit and unwind before more lazing about.
Monday 9th
Showery weather warm enough until the wind got up. Went for a wander along a river, found these old wrecks then came back to Le Pouldu and there was a tall sailing shipmaking its way to Lorient.
The old style sailing ship.
Now the serious part of why go to France
The joys off being in such a relaxed environment. I really enjoy cooking but enjoy the eating more. Here are a few examples of my efforts.

Beer battered squid and courgette slices, sat out in the evening sun.
 Tuna, Haddock and Scallop, now that was a nice fish platter.
Barnsley chop - Lamb, and beer battered onion
Friday 6th

The sun goes down with a decent colour boding well for the next day. I was sat outside on the decking taking an essential drop of libation.
Well there is snow back at home so this seems a much better place to be.
It was warm enough to sit in shorts and shirt sleeves in this small sheltered cove, but no paddling.
Tuesday 3rd
Off to France, night time ferry so will be in Le Pouldu by tomorrow lunchtime.

Friday, 2 March 2012

March 2012

Saturday 31st

First event of the year. The Artist's & Designer's Fair in Buxton Derbyshire. Suprisingly good sales there considering the number of visitors were poor.

That's why I had time to take this photo without passers by in the way.

Monday 26th
So March is coming to an end already.

Well as they say the best laid plans of man. Spent a day at A&E with kidney stones. Then 2 days drinking as much liquid as possible while letting the pain killers keep me dopier than usual. Not enough hours in the day to get all I want done now before a holiday. But I won't give in!

Tuesday 20th
I started laying the hawthorn hedge, not the best job for my hands.

Job done!

Then another distraction from potting ..... creating a new border and somewhere for a cold frame. I do get in the studio from time to time.

This is actually on top of the second chamber of a working septic tank.

I did get the teapots finished. Eleven in all, with different solutions for the handles. Sales in the studio have been heartening. Especially as I was back to thegarden most of the time.

Sunday 11th
Well the idea of e-mailing customers has been worthwhile. Spent the morning answering mails and packing pots. The showroom actually feels like a showroom again. Spring sale organised and is going alright so far. Made a nice change from mauling lumps of tree. I have developed 'tennis elbow' from using the chainsaw and log splitter so much.
But .......Yet another tree had to be felled before it decided to flatten a car etc.
Four loads like that fetched out yesterday, shame the dog can't pull the trolley.

Friday 9th
 At last I have begun to make pots again.
 Some small teapot bodies thrown and dried off enough outside in the breeze to glaze the insides.
Spouts made too and lids to make tomorrow, then its the fun of assembling.


Wednesday 7th
Took Saturday off for a change, met the 'kids' for a meal for my birthday, good fun but suffered an attack of gout on Sunday and Monday for my indulgences.
After a nice day in the garden yesterday it's back into the studio. Once all the paperwork is dealt with it will be good to get my hands into clay and making pots. I have got myself sorted, almost, to open the Sale at the weekend lets hope the weather is decent. It snowed here on Sunday and sleet this afternoon.
Just a few more shots of the displays.

A selection of 'Liths', sculptural playtime for me.

Friday 2nd
Another week passes. The showroom renovation is all but completed. Its been a good week weatherwise, some lovely warm days, but the last two mornings have seen a frost here in the valley.

Some shots of the current showroom display.

Decided it was time for a clear out of odds and sods. The teapots here are ones that have been pushed to the back of boxes and ignored. Some good value purchases to be had.


Spring Sale during March to get the coffers topped up.

Posters to print and put up, a trip to the pub and the visitor centre of the Nature Reserve.
I managed to get direction signs up along the canal path and footpaths this week. Customers are beginning to find me again. Shows for the year are booked, mostly local ones. Jobs like mail-shots and clearing orders are next now I have a fairly organised studio and showroom space.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

February 2012

Monday 27th
First sales of the year yesterday, I think I had better get the place organised.

I need to get signage sorted and flyers printed. At least I have made a start.

 The new sign I made for the towpath.
When it's got about 50kgs of scrap clay, some concrete in the base and is sunk a few inches into the ground it might be almost theft proof.
In a few weeks time with some soil in there planted with nasturtiums etc it will look a bit more in keeping.

I spent some of the day clearing debris from the garden. It's amazing what you can see when the vegetation hasn't started to grow and cover things. Planted 5 new fruit trees - three apples, a pear and a cherry.

I thought I would put some pots outside the front of the studio.

These are some sculptural pieces I made for one of the 'Potfest' competitions.

With a bit of luck I will have the place looking like a pottery studio again, and open properly for this weekend.

Sunday 19th
The showroom renovation finished. Shelves will be filled with a decent display in a few days. I think maybe its time for a sale of some description.

I have just finished using up all the laminate flooring that was left over from the house. There was enough to floor a decent amount of the studio area .
 I don't think my studio has ever been so tidy.

In the pre-xmas rush I omitted to empty the boxes from the last show. While I was sorting stock I found this delightful bowl of tomatoes.

Monday 13th
All the flooring is laid in the showroom now. Shelving repaired, walls and cieling painted. In the next few days its polishing, window cleaning and spotting the fixing jobs missed first time around. Then at long last the stock and display can be sorted.
 No I am not fitting skirting!
Let the boxes hide the edges, seems sensible enough to me.

Thursday 9th
Order is beginning to appear out of the choas. At the end of the day it was quite rewarding to look back at a tidy area for a change.
It's amazing how different the place feels now. All the legs extended and the shelves are now level again. I hope to be have all back to what passes for normal in the studio and showroom by March. Then it will be time to make some pots.

All that lot and more to be moved then some painting. With a bit of luck I might get the floor cleared off by the end of tomorrow. Its just started to rain fingers crossed it won't turn to snow.

Wednesday 8th
At last the concrete has dried and I can get the flooring started, I have been giving the place a lick of paint too, have to keep that bit quiet or I'll get roped into some decorating in the house.


 Tuesday 7th
Spoke too soon, big freeze this morning and the frozen snow in the middle of the track is making driving noisy and treacherous. I hope the exhaust pipe holds up, MOT due today.

Sunday 5th
The arrival of 5 inches of snow, very picturesque but a pain to get anything done in the studio, Brrrrr!!!
Outside its just so wet under foot with the thaw already started.
Beyond the studio in the opposite direction.

The way out, one vehicle made it. 

Part of the garden.

First days of February
Spent a few days acquiring more fire-wood from various sources. Now that's all cut, split and stacked for next years burning. Plenty more timber identified for felling but it can wait, unless trees fall across the track.