Category Archives: Inspiration

Potters Block…..?

After a pot free month, a few disasters in the kiln, some glimmers of hope, but mostly pots worthy of the bin, I have diagnosed myself with ‘Potters Block’.  I am also shocked to see that my last blog post was a month ago.  It’s not that there has been no activity, just that it has not been pottery related.  I will share my pickling and preserving delights with you later…..

One person has described it as a ‘Creative Slump’……a term I can relate to, but reassuringly goes on to say he came out the other side of it a better painter (maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel?)

Some research puts forward the following (non-exhaustive) suggestions as offerings of help:

  • Do something entirely different for a while (doesn’t say how long!….there is only so much jam one can make….)
  • Try to remember that it’s just a pot and nothing more. The world will not end if your pot comes out badly….am used to this…..
  • Whisky?  (again doesn’t say how long for…..)
  • Doodle….
  • Imagine the pot in your mind without touching a piece of clay.
  • Start with something small and simple
  • Work in a group (tried this, but ended up chatting and eating cake….made nothing! – (had nice time though)
  • Be reassured that it is normal and the drought will come to an end
  • Clean up your studio…..(not that desperate yet!)
  • Copy the work of someone you like….tried this….funnily enough…did not end up with a replica Picasso : (
  • Indulge yourself in other work that appeals to you

I particularly like this website which gives tips for helping with creative block.  Press F5 each time for a new tip. http://creativeblock.monomoda.com/

Someone else suggest that his creative blocks usually occur when there is “nothing to feel down about or he feels happy with life”. Well maybe this is true, where does that leave you when the only thing that is getting you down….is the lack of pot production……

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Filed under Inspiration, Pots

Maryport Docks Turquoise

Loved the colour of this boat moored at Maryport docks.  Mixed a turquoise, barium based glaze, which is opaque.  It worked particularly well over the iron rich slip, which emulated the rust leaching through on the hull.

Turquoise Barium Glaze with the iron rich Maryport slag slip underneath

Turquoise is good, but vessels is too plain and needs more work (a second firing I think at least)

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Filed under Experiments, Glazes, Inspiration

Maryport Slag!

Just got round to writing a post on visit to Maryport.  The trip was primarily to walk the dog, but it turned out to be an interesting find.  The waste from the blast furnaces (built in 1784) was clearly visible along the stretch of coast, where the slag was poured directly onto the beach.  Research into the specific blast furnaces has proved unfruitful as they were overshadowed by the industry at Workington and also the ship building in Maryport, however I did discover that they used limestone (a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite or calcium carbonate, CaCO3), as a flux (lowers melting point), a constituent in some glaze recipes.  I will have to investigate this further…

Picked up some interesting pieces of slag with iron and coke in them, which at some point I will try to incorporate into a pot/glaze

Layers of slag waste from the blast furnace

Remains of a fire brick from the blast furnace embedded in the slag. From what I can make out it was made at Broughton brick works.

More layers...

Nice little hut on at the port, where we just caught a fishing boat unloading it's catch, lots of skate, prawns and a few unfortunate lobsters.

Liked this turquoise.....boat was on its last legs, but at least it was a nice colour...

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Filed under Inspiration, Out and About

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…..is life too short?  It does seem a shame to waste them…..

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‘Ugly Ducklings’

Walking down the canal lately, the male swan has been ferociously on-guard as the lady swan sat patiently on her nest.  To be fair, I don’t think he took too kindly to Flo launching herself in the pond, but at one point, all the spitting and hissing was so aggressive, I thought it best we leg it….quick.  They can have your arm off…..apparently!

Anyway great to see today that the signets (or ugly ducklings) have hatched, 6 I think, and they are now parading around on the canal.

Not the best picture, taken on my phone……but look at his tail feathers…..I wonder where the idea for ‘duck bum bowls’ came from?

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Filed under Inspiration, Out and About

British Summer Time

Ooopss, totally forgot we lost an hour today.  It was 11 o clock before I realised that it was actually almost lunch time.  Decided to go out for a walk from home as already running well behind time.  Down to the canal, over Broad Oak bridge and then into a quagmire of mud, up to our knees, smelling of a farmyard.  Julian in a mood…clearly in the wrong shoes, me smug….in my wellies.

Saw some fabulous gnarled oak trees.  The bark is amazing and the trees are so majestic, solid, wise and honest. Wondering how I can incorporate that texture into some pots.  Brought back some bark to attempt some imprints, but it maybe more effective if I make some plastercast moulds.  Need to find a source of plaster of paris.

Got back just in time to turn the bottoms of the pots I threw last weekend, may have to bring them inside to dry as the temperature of the potting shed is still chilly.  Hope it warms up in there soon.  Need to get them biscuit fired ready for the inaugural firing of the gas kiln at Easter.

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Plants have brains too….

Lovely walk around Rotherwick on Sunday afternoon.  Plenty of mud for big hairy doggie, it won’t matter next week after she’s had a spring hair cut.  Julian collecting holly for his lessons today.  Did you know that holly only has spiky leaves at the height it could be eaten by deer?  Further up the tree the leaves are smooth…no spikes!  Amazing, who says plants don’t have brains!

Why does the moss in this wood only grow a foot high I wonder?

This sawn trunk would make a fabulous bowl. Smooth on the inside, great chunky texural rim.

Great rip and texture down the trunk of this tree

Lovely texture. From reading up this weekend, I think the best way of trying to achieve this texture is multiple slip and glaze applications and multiple firings too.

Looks like a slug, or that funny creature from 'Willow the Wisp'....but I'm thinking rim for bowl

Oh...don't leave me.....As if!

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Filed under Inspiration, Out and About