Monthly Archives: July 2010

Sloppy Seconds

Have tried throwing with the reclaimed clay from the pugmill and have decided it is far to soft.  I just got to the point of making a nice large bowl and then the whole thing collapsed….more than a few times.  On the plus side, I now have some nice large plates!

I am going to leave it on the plaster bat overnight and see if I can wedge it into something more useable tomorrow.

I did manage to throw my largest (and tallest ever) 2 component vase today though…with the reclaimed clay left on the plaster bat all day yesterday, so I am hoping for even better productivity tomorrow when I have more clay to play with.

I am trying my hand at classic shapes, I want to master the technique of throwing properly….then I can go back to bizarre creations……

Sloppy clay on plaster bat to dry out

Vase...something is wrong...this looks like it might be useful!!


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Filed under Clay, Pots

Courgette Flowers

The courgettes in the garden have the most amazing flowers on them at the moment.  These pictures don’t truely capture their intense , florescent orange colour.

There are lots of recipes for stuffed, deep fried courgette flowers… life too short?  It does seem a shame to waste them…..

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Captain Pugmill

“Blistering Barnacles!”  We managed to reclaim about 35Kg of clay today using Desmond’s pugmill, great result.

Having never used a pugmill before, or even seen one in actions, we weren’t quite sure what to expect….but you just put all your old potting disasters, turning shavings and wet sloppy stuff in the top, pull the handle…..and lovely ‘brand new’ clay spurts out of the end in a big sausage….brilliant!

Yes, I've checked can start now!

In with the sloppy stuff....

Down with the handle....

Out comes the clay 'sausage'


"Shiver me timbers" .....It keeps coming.....filling up the third bag now.

"Coddling catfish!"

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Blimey….and the lid fits….

I thought I would try and reproduce the principles of a storage jar by Michael Cardew featured on the front cover of Ceramic Review in 1982.

It is thrown in three parts: 1. the main body (allow to dry for a while….or use blow torch!), 2. throw the neck as a separate component. Put the main body back on the wheel and attach the neck. 3. the lid.

I surprised myself by how relatively simple it was to do….and more amazingly the lid fits.  I just need to attach some handles now.  Admitedly the shape isn’t quite the same, his has a more rounded body, but the elements are there.

This is a definite throwing breakthrough.  Some of these pots might even be useful!

Michael Cardew Pot

Rachel Dance Pot!

Lid.....fits like a glove!

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Filed under Pots, Throwing

Tagine (1st attempt)

One of the butchers at the farm shop asked me if I would make him a tagine.  Then there was Jamie Oliver’s TV programme from Marrakesh that focused heavily on cooking with Tagines (although not the ones with fluted lids)….so have been meaning to have a go at making one for a while.  Now I seem to be getting somewhere with the throwing, there is no time like the present.

On the design front, the cone shaped cover is supposed to act like an oven and the entire lid is totally sealed to retain heat and moisture.  The aim is not only to prevent it from drying out during the long cooking process, but also allows the slow infusion of flavours throughout the dish. The lid has an extended knob at the top which is designed to remain cooler and thereby act as a handle.

Originally it would have been made from earthenware, but I used grogged stoneware….because that is what I had to hand.

I think the rim of the cooking pot could have been thicker and maybe the whole think could have been wider or maybe the lid should be shallower with a smaller knob.  Not bad for first attempt though, at least the lid fits on.  Am getting some mileage out of my new galleried rim technique….how did I manage without it?!

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Glazed over…..

Probably the most pleasing firing to date, but still some dodgy looking glazes.  Not sure if  they are failing to flourish because of the firing, which seemed to be spot on this time, or because of the preparation.  I followed the recipe to the letter, so can only assume it is the firing, or the application.  It’s all so unpredicatable.  That’s why when you do get a lovely piece like the large celedon bowl it is so rewarding.

Have another shed full of large bowls, so we keep practicing… day we will get a glaze that we love…….

'The Pack'

Heavy reduction going on

Cones - perfectly fired. Learnt good the cones diagonally.....then you can see them all through spy hole....doh!

The Opening. It takes a while for what you are presented with to sink it any good????

Large bowl. Black slip and David Leach Celedon

Buckets. The glaze on the one on the left was called 'white brain crawl'....I like it, but totally the opposite of what expected. Didn't check it was suitable for reduction firing.

Copper Red Glaze

Supposed to be pale Celedon glaze on porcelain beakers. It has worked on the front left one which was close to the burner in the kiln, which makes me think the others are under fired. Will take them to Farnham and refire.

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The ‘Elixir of Eternal Youth’

The Rhubarb Schnaps is finally ready……….no further comment required!!!!

Decanting....the long waited the six week wait is up

This stuff is 'devine'. As an old friend Bill used to say....this beauty is 'The Elixir of Eternal Youth'. A rhubarb masterpiece still with me????

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