Wednesday 31 March 2010


The buds on the "Concorde" pear were swelling fit to burst a couple of days ago
Now the weather has changed again. This is going up to Mynydd Maen from the south, yesterday.
and looking over the valley at home to Spiteful at the foot of Sychpant (not so much of a "dry hollow" today!)
On the mountain this morning it was trying to snow and the wind is still strong and cold.

Busy Busy

Making pots, mixing slip and dodging the rain as I bring pots into the house to dry.

The Oily One, The Carpenter and The Geek are destructing the bathroom and toilet.
Having taken down the dividing wall they stopped and looked...and we all thought wow....a nice big room, easy to move in, lots of light!!
So one room it will be, and IF they do change their minds it will be easy to build a wall.

Meanwhile the weather is busy trying to be winter again and I'm glad I haven't planted the spuds yet!

Friday 26 March 2010

A day of bits

Yet another funny old day doing a bit of this and a bit of that- finishing off jobs, mainly.

Yesterday I finished this year's marmalade making with Blood Orange Marmalade- a nice colour!

Today the larder got a spring clean and loads of housework was done by 10 am- then it rained again!

I re-sieved two colours of slip and must make more. I was sure I had black slip somewhere...
Having sorted out my small workshop you'd reckon it would not be possible to lose a tub of slip...

After lunch it was demolition time!
Half a toilet ceiling later...!! Then sweep, bag and mop and the Oily One and the Carpenter took the debris down to the Recycling Centre. Now we are ready for roof insulation and a new ceiling. They are busy topping up the main roof insulation - well they say we will be back to snow on Monday or Tuesday.

All this and my head is saying Must Make Pots!!!!

Apart from a bigger workshop, I need a Housekeeper to give me Time and a Sponsor to give me Money!!!

Monday 22 March 2010

Vernal Equinox

The first day of Spring, and it is really beginning to feel like it, despite the chilly breeze.

The lambs are arriving on the Mountain and unfortunately the foxes have been busy too, despite all vigilance.

Fellow gardeners are asking "got the spuds in yet?" (No, not yet!)

That was yesterday, now today we are back to rain, so I am thankful for my greenhouse.
The staging is steadily filling up with seed trays so I will be glad when the greenhouse extension is complete!

Housework done, bread started, now the gardening then lunch and workshop to finish those handles and get the slip ready.

It's All Go!!

Saturday 20 March 2010

Brecon Market Hall

This is the main entrance from the street , although Market Street is at the other end of the building, one level down!
going in....
to the Arcade where there are permanent shops- The Butcher, The Fishmonger, The Greengrocer (fruit and veg), Gents' Outfitters, Haberdashers (and sundries) and Tools.
Entrance to the main market hall , with clock.

The first monthly craft market of 2010
Back wall above the stage
List of tolls that were levied in the market when it first opened.

Thursday 18 March 2010


Many people seem to be feeling tired and 'down' at present. It is the Hungry Gap in the garden too, and everyone and everything is feeling stretched thin.

The log jam of inertia has been broken, hopefully. I managed a board of 'pouter' milk jugs then a board of bellied mugs and finished off with a foot and a five pound bowl.

Unfortunately after two hours throwing then wedging up a load of reclaim I remembered the rising bread dough in the tins.....

hopefully this will be marvelous bread after an extra rise, although smaller as I had to discard the crusts!!



Monday 15 March 2010


At last!!
The powers that be have got their act together- and have realized a) that I exist b) that they owe me a LOT of money-which should be landing in the bank this afternoon! website is launched!!

Saturday 13 March 2010

Abergavenny Market

My pitch was right at the market entrance, so it was like standing in a wind tunnel all day!
On the other hand I was clearly visible to both those coming into (and leaving ) the market and those just passing by on the pavement. It was worth being in this windy corner!!

I have been invited to another monthly Craft Market next week and a two day annual one that is part of a Steam Fair at the end of May. Incentive to make even more pots!!
Hanging Sheep in the Market Hall
The Market Hall from the entrance. I think that it is a 19th century building, built as a market.

throwing day

Teigar's Number One and Two favourite Humans having gone out, I made the mistake (?) of sitting down with coffee and drawing book for five minutes....
I was definitely settled on.
It was comfortable and warm for both of us, BUT there were pots to make...
Next door's young cat..."don't you DARE get ideas!!"

The New Shape jugs- made small. I think this shape is the Pouter Pigeon!!

Thursday 11 March 2010

the cones!!

Problem solved-well the first step anyway!
Furthest away, top shelf, nearest, bottom shelf. Front cones on the left, back cones on the right.

Now to learn the mysteries of getting the right length flame and using the damper to even out the temperature in the kiln.....

Wednesday 10 March 2010

first bisque firing

On the left, cones and beaker from the first test firing.
On the right, cone and mug from this bisque firing, both cone 06. Despite the pyro showing 25 degrees too high on the second one, the cone has only just begun to soften.
This makes it rather a soft bisque, but it will do-just have to make the glaze little thinner!!

I wonder if I can re-use the cones and take it to the right temperature in the next bisque firing?
Worth putting one in by a fresh cone just to see what happens!!

Monday 8 March 2010

Trees at the Museum

sun through a nicely laid hedge
A sheltered corner in the sun
Hazel hedging
The sun is bringing the smell of Spring out
Kennixton Farmhouse from Gower, with the barn being reconstructed. I would love a home like this!
The exhibition in Oriel1/Gallery1
At present the first part of the gallery contains exhibits and videos and slides about Italians in Wales, until May. Last year there were Indian Potters building statues in clay of gods and goddesses for a festival, held in Cardiff afterwards. Different nationalities that have moved here and helped to make Wales what she is today take turns here.
The remainder of the gallery is about heritage, culture, religion and education in Wales

Sunday 7 March 2010

Test firing results

I don't think that I will be firing THAT fast again!! All the clay pads that held the cones had disintegrated.
However that is cone 06 on the left, so the two pyrometers (one through a hole above the spyhole where these cones were, one down through the middle of the kiln roof) that read 1000 degrees C weren't far out
spyhole level
going down
bottom shelf and bagwall ends
Cone Corpses!!

I need to find my old kiln logs from the late 70s and 80s. I'm sure I did bisque firings at 900 degrees or so.
There has been discussion on the Clayart forum lately as to the merits or otherwise of bisque firings varying from cone 05 to 07.

Perhaps all the arguments are why I ended up raw glazing my slipware back then!! I would like to do so again, but I've heard that it isn't possible with a white earthenware body. Now that I'm using porcelain at times, and a white stoneware body, the thought of having red clay as well in a small workshop brings nightmares!!

All I need now is a white stoneware body that will withstand the rigours of a salt firing as well as doing fine in 'ordinary' stoneware firings!! I know, asking the Earth!!

Saturday 6 March 2010

Tintern Walk

Old bridge over the River Wye at Tintern, looking South
Seat at the Abbey Mill

Tintern Abbey. Built for the Cistercian Order of Monks- Y Brodyr Gwynion/The White Brothers, so called because of their habits made of unbleached woven sheeps' wool

Looking down the Wye again from the bank- you can see the mud level is right up to...and over...the flood plain
going back over
the bridge


Tree House in the Spiteful.

The Spiteful is so named because one industrialist didn't want the other to build a rival railway he built a short terrace of houses in the way!!

Friday 5 March 2010

kiln firing!!

At long last!!!!
I packed the kiln with shelves and bits of HTI brick as it hasn't been fired for about six years.

This was justified as it steamed and dripped a bit to start with!!

I was grateful to be nannied through the process by Mel Brown , so very many thanks go to her for nudging me forwards.
We logged everything, and got it up to 1000 Centigrade in under two and a half hours!! This is some kiln!!
Obviously I wont be firing a bisque or a once-fire so fast.

Looking forward to unpacking it and mapping all the cones we put in to check for hot/cold spots.
This will have to wait until after tomorrow's Farmers' Mart.

Even more good news, I have been accepted for a stall at Abergavenny's monthly Craft Market on the second Saturday of every month....starting this month!!

Backing up your blog!!

With many thanks to

"Amid complaints that things are disappearing from Facebook -- of course they are; Facebook is again in the process of "improving" the site -- there have been admissions that some of you-all don't back up your blogs. Mercy forfend! Back up NOW and regularly thereafter!

I don't know the procedure for all blogs, but here are a couple I do know, and the other services probably have something similar:

BLOGGER: Go to Settings/basic, blog tools and click on “export blog” then click on “download blog” button.

WORDPRESS: Go to Tools (lefthand column in dashboard), click on “export” then click on “download export file” button.

Right now -- backup yer dern blog!"

Tuesday 2 March 2010

homecoming (update)

For all the apologies, and it was great to hear them, I have to go back to square one and fill in ALL the forms again, government and council.

About £500 will be nice when it arrives....