Monthly Archives: November 2009

Desmond’s Kiln Firing

Assisted Desmond with firing his gas kiln today.  Interesting to learn the techniques of reduction firing – especially from the Master! I was amazing that the firing was complete within 5 hours, even I have the patience for that.  Desmond has generously now given me this kiln and I can assure him that it is coming to a good home, where it will have plenty of use.  Just need to send Julian over next weekend to pick it up. 

Here is Desmond checking to see if the pyrometric cones have bent over yet.  The photo is only amusing if you know that at the time he wearing a huge pair of tortoise shell sunglasses…..I tried to get a picture of him wearing them, rather than the kiln, but for once he appeared a little shy.

The Mad Potter


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Raku – A beginners guide…. July 2009

We got up early on Wednesday 29th July… was a Raku firing day! It was forecast to rain in the afternoon and there was quite a queue of pots ready to be fired. It is possible to raku in the rain….but it’s not as much fun. A raku firing is more of an event, there is lots to do, lots of anticipation and lots and lots of smoke. Two of the pots to be fired were wedding presents and having left making them until the last minute (one week before the wedding) there was also a bit of pressure for them turn out well.

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In Search of a Signature – Puttenham Common

Some helpful advice at pottery class last week…..”your pottery doesn’t have a theme”.  I could put all my work on display and no-one would make the connection that is was made by the same potter.  It is true, I jump from one thing to the next without focus and without exploring the potential of a particular clay/glaze/firing technique.  In the last year I have made work from terracotta earthenware, stoneware, crank, chunky black stoneware, heavily grogged raku clay. I’ve tried raku, low-fired, high-fired, reduced and oxidised firings, smoke firing.  Pieces have ranged from Cornish Tin Mines, delicate colanders, Maureen (full sized bust), Raku fruit, bowls with duck feet, trumpet vases…the egg horn!!  I won’t go on, but it was a well made point that my pottery lacks a theme.

The trouble is I enjoy making anything out of clay, it is the idea that usually grabs me and then I work out how to make it, which clay/glaze etc.  So, I will have to turn this way of thinking on it’s head.  Stick with a clay, a theme, a direction …..and explore the potential……But first, lets try and capture what inspires me, what textures, colours and shapes make me smile.  What is it that tickles the brain into the realms of possibility…..

Here starts my self guided tour… search of ‘A Signature’……

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First entry into the new world of Blogging……

Ok, this is all new.  I am entering into the unknown (to me) world of blogging. 

Having hung up my editiorial hat for the Village News this month, I thought I better find another outlet for my pottery ramblings.  The ‘View from the Potting Shed’, is looking a bit bleak at present as the shed had to be dismantled and moved into storage as part of our move out of the pub, and all my pottery stuff is currently squashed into Alan’s garage (thanks Al).  However, there will be a new and improved Pottery Shed on the scene at the end of November, so watch this space for a ramp up in production….just need to sort out some heating, bbbrrrrrgghh!!

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