Monday, 16 May 2011

More from Cape Cod and stuff from today in the workshop.

Howdy Folks, here's the next installment.
Here are Hannah and Hollis, enjoying a brew in Hollis' favorite coffee shop. We went there most mornings - it was a lovely way to start the day. Hollis would meet up with a few of his friends, before they all headed off to work for the day. What a civilized start to the day.
This is lovely Janet, who brought in the most beautiful baked goods...........and this stinky durian, a fruit, so pungent, it's banned from hotels and hospitals in Bangkok. I tasted better that it smelled - but that's not saying much!

We visited a number of local potters. This is Ron Geering's showroom. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet Ron as he was in the UK at the time, but it was great to see his pots.
This is Gail Turner who had much to do with organizing our trip to the US, thank you so much Gail
Tessa Morgan.

And this is Kimberly Sheerin Madeiros.

The workshop was held in the local High School. It was interesting to see inside an American school - I was reminded of a show my boys used to watch, called Saved by the Bell. We were absolutely terrified! We were presented with Falmouth High School sweatshirts which we're wearing in this photo.

So to the demo. We each showed short films about our lives at home, then a brief slideshow of historical pots and then on to the clay. This is a puzzle jug I made, blasted with a gas burner to make it tough enough to assemble, then blasted again to a stage where it could be decorated.

Hannah did her magic with the slip trailer, which wowed the folks at each of the workshops.

I think that the finished piece is to be auctioned to raise funds to help the potters of Japan who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

The Cape Cod Potters. These were lovely people, really good fun to be with.

And afterwards, on to an 'English' pub, which was quite authentic - it could almost have been beside the sea in Exmouth - there was even English beer. Hannah and I were both greatly relieved at this stage - we'd been terrified, but we'd done it! Beeeeer :-)

The birds were amazing - huge Ospreys, nesting on a platform beside a lake.
And some kind of strange wading bird.

So more pictures of the trip to follow in subsequent posts, but now on to current stuff that's happening in the workshop. I'm making pots now for Earth & Fire at Rufford and trying to catch up on a number of orders that I meant to get made before I went away, but ran out of time.

Oak and ash, leaf resist jug
Some jugs with applied decoration upturned to dry their bases.
I didn't quite get my timing right on this large harvest jug - oops, try again.
8.5lb low-bellied 'medieval' jug. It's curious, I wondered how the trip would influence the pots I make. I think rather than showing American influence, they're more 'English' than ever - perhaps I have a much stronger sense of my own identity?
A crazy experiment
This is a collaborative pot, made by me, then stunningly decorated by my friend Andrew Grundon.
It's going to an exhibition in the Imagine Gallery, Long Melford, Suffolk, the subject, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
We're enjoying doing these pieces together. This is a puzzle jug commemorating the recent Royal Wedding.
He's a clever boy.....
...with a sweet smile

He came up from Cornwall to deliver the pots on Thursday, then stayed for the day and we cracked on with finishing construction of the workshop.
Here's the latest addition, belted together with big nails and made entirely from salvaged materials. It looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but a lick of paint and it'll look sweet.
That's all for the moment - are you still awake?! More soon, bye for now

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Hello everybody

Well I made it home! It's been long time since I blogged, I've been feeling pretty odd since getting back to the UK and I've been laying low. I'm only just starting to get back into making pots again, it's a good feeling.

The States are amazing- so much space, so much beautiful countryside and so many great people that I didn't get to spend enough time with. I love the place and can't wait to go back there. I made some great friends out there, some of whom I've known for years in this virtual world, it was so cool to meet them for real. The USA was nothing like I'd imagined it would be - I grew up thinking that the whole of America was like it is on Starsky and Hutch - how wrong I was.

It's difficult to blog retrospectively, but I'll share a few pictures and see how it goes, starting at the very beginning

Here we are with Hollis and Dee,who were our first hosts in Cape Cod. It seems such a long time ago since we arrived there, tired and excited. Hollis introduced me to baseball and gave me his Boston Red Sox cap, so they are now my team. I try and follow them on the internet, although I don't entirely understand the game.
This is Hollis and Dee's house. Hollis' workshop is at the extreme left, my bedroom was above it. I'd forgotten how cold it was on the Cape when we arrived, the trees were bare and every night there was a frost. In the mornings I awoke early, to beautiful dawn chorus, the bird's songs, very different from those back at home. The unusual types of bird continued to be a fascination to me throughout the visit, Cardinals, Bluebirds and a Robin that is much, much bigger than ours. Dee is a great gardener, I was sorry not to see the garden in full bloom, it was still fairly dormant, a few shoots just beginning to show - maybe I'll get to see it next time.

This sweet little building is Hollis's showroom

And this is the inside

These are the pots that Hannah and I brought home. It was a brilliant time. Here's Hollis' account.

And this is back home. The lanes have filled out with wonderful spring flora.
The trees in the orchard are full of blossom
And the workshop is hidden behind roses and hollyhocks, which look like they're going to provide a wonderful display this year.

And some pots at long last.

A bit of a disjointed blog post, but it's a start and now I've got started again, I intend to carry on, so please don't give up on me and check back soon.

Bye for now