Sunday, 31 July 2011

mountain walk.

Now is the ivy holding the tree up, or the tree the ivy???

After steadily tidying and de-cluttering, by 3pm I'd had ENOUGH!!
So by 3.30 I was on my way, with bag packed with food and drink, map and coat...and an old ice cream box just in case I did a spot of fruit picking!!

Up past Maes Derwen, the usual footpath underneath Rhyswg Fawr farmhouse and along beside Col's fields at Rhyswg Fawr Farm Excuse the power cable in this picture!
Twmbarlwm from halfway up- and plenty of people on the path to the top on a lovely afternoon
Out past Rhyswg Fawr stables and Rhyswg Ganol's top gate to the mountain gate and Comin Mynydd Maen Common.

From above Craig Furnace to Hafod Owen with the pylons in the background
Where sheep have scraped away for a scratching place and a shelter, the soil profile is revealed
Above Hafod Owen. Hafod, the summer farm. Possibly Owen, a name, or Ywen, a Yew- sounds similar.

I couldn't find a trace of the old buildings, despite them being marked on the map. It looked as if something had been here... which is where Col and two fellow workers had parked their landrover, when they were planting trees over forty years ago. It was a hot, sunny, still day, and they left the doors open as they sat and eat their lunch sitting out on the grass....and then the doors both slammed shut!! Col just laughed, but the others insisted on!!
Looking back towards Hafod Owen in the middle
A tidy dam and foal
The grey yearling on the right.
Those were the only ponies I saw today. It would have been good to see some of the others, but I had to turn to return to the village.

Ah, memories-we nearly got stuck in this one three years ago!!
Estate boundary marker.....this side...
and that side
Looking down from near the source of the Nant Carn to the Western slopes of Mynydd Henllys
The old road down towards Rhyswg Fach and Pen Pant (now ruins, the former an old dairy empty since 1954, the latter since the early 60s, afaik, and both demolished although not in bad condition, as soon as they were empty, by the Forestry Commission)
Pant Gwyn (now ruins) in the middle of the fields on the left, and car park two on the Forest Drive above in the middle, with the top of the Mountain Biking trail above that
Once a beech hedge....
logs from The Lappy
The Lappy.....or Craig Go fapi on the maps!! a new road built up and around then clear felled
An old road up to Rhyswg Ganol

That little walk took until 7.45pm!!

kiln unpacked

The platter survived!
I always photograph as I unpack, first in the kiln then out. The platter was on a half shelf at the top and back. Then these on the top full shelf
I like the seagull bowl, I want to make more of this shape. Just hope it sells!

Cone 9 was down nicely, the berry bowl is glazed with an iron red from Edouarde Bastarache
The bigger bowls are improving, the bolder rim helps keep them round, as well as being a good "full stop" for the shape. The David Leach Celadon has a beautiful feel, but crazes whether reduced or oxidised in the firing. I like both colours. I brushed a little red iron oxide on the impressed decoration before glazing, I could be a bit bolder and use more!
The bottom shelf.
The dark blue "sings" more with a little more heat!
but I possibly need a body that will also take a little more heat! Next time I'll put a cone 10 at the back of the bottom shelf!
Just three boards full.
Now to sort out what I put with the application form for Aberystwyth.....

Edouarde Bastarache's recipe....he has many blogs, this is where I started...
He has a Red Dust recipe (which equates to a steelworks by-product if I remember rightly) which is , for each 1%, Red Iron Oxide 0.82, Silica 0.050, Whiting 0.060, Dolomite 0.050, Zinc Oxide 0.020.

The recipe I tried is a Cornish Stone Iron Red.
Cornish Stone 22, Nepheline Syenite 20, Dolomite 13, Bone Ash 10, Talc 7, China clay 7, Silica 21, Bentonite 1, plus Red Dust 10%

I'm getting reds and greens on this, with blacks and browns. It all depends on the thickness and is very attractive. I'm looking forward to getting it in a reduced atmosphere firing, as that will possibly bring out the reds more

Saturday, 30 July 2011

hot pots!!

I think that the kiln reached the right temperature this time!

Looking good, but too hot to touch!

(No, I don't know why the first line of script was underlined...but I've found that the way to upload images in the order you want, at the moment until blogger sorts itself, is one at a time!!)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday firing

The kiln firing went steadily, not slow, until 1150C, and the last 100 plus degrees took their time- not a bad thing, and as good as a "soak" (holding at one temperature) in this kiln, usually.

I left the car keys with Spannerman, hopefully he can make a start on mending it.

New eggcup in my Etsy store

Then off to the velodrome by bike! Paperwork done, I left them training and was home before daylight had gone completely. I had the lights on for the last three miles (of 12 or so) initially for my confidence! At least it was a warm and dry ride, with mostly a tailwind home!

A late supper on the way and time to check the kiln,and leave the door and windows open!

It was decidedly toasty warm in there!! By ten o'clock the kiln was down to 510 C and I shut up the workshop for the night.

I posted an eggcup on Etsy. They are double ended!! Large and small, depending upon the size the bird provided, you choose which end to use!!

Spannerman and the Oily One found that I have the wrong size ball joint for the my car to be built at the time they were some bits are from the old style and some the new. It is a good thing that I didn't leave firing the kiln to Saturday. Now I'll have to hunt down the right parts tomorrow- I need the car on Monday......

many thanks

Worries placated, many thanks to those who know. Hoping that time will bring understanding.

and on the way

Today's firing is a little slower to start with, but over 500 C and picking up now. It started raining gently just after 8am, so a walk up the mountain after the firing could be off. Try again tomorrow.

I didn't sleep well last night. I was promised copies of photographs. Now I find out that they were afraid that I'd post them on here. You just don't post other peoples' images, and these would be so precious to me anyway. Looks like my only keepsakes will be our memories.

Why didn't they just ask, if they didn't understand and had doubts? They know well that I worry when I don't hear anything. Now it is yet another wait to hear if they will believe me.

He said to me, christmas before last..."don't contact them, they wouldn't understand Us or You"

Why did he have to be so right?

Another question is why did the person who told me skewed truths do so? Did they want to make sure that what he said was right?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

one out, one in....

It isn't as hot and muggy as some of you "over the pond".....but combined with kiln unpacking and packing, I know a little of how you're feeling!!!

The kiln wasn't a complete disaster. No grinding of kiln shelves!! I think the top got to about 1260- must get the pyro recalibrated, as it read 1240. The middle was almost 1280 and the bottom a little over.
You can see at bottom left the brick that should have a matching one on the right....

One green bowl was 'got' by flying segasaurus bits!! I might be able to grind it down and refire.

yeractual, this is the actual!! It looks bigger than it should, funny angle! It is a good half pint mug.
David Leach Celadon recipe (Cornish Stone 1, China Clay 1,Whiting 1,Quartz 1 plus 2 per cent red Iron Oxide) makes a very sensuous feeling glaze when oxidised. Apparently Celadon glazes were originally fired in oxidisation, not reduction .
I'd love a glaze that would give me amber tones. It is a lovely green when reduced, too.
This one should be a mix of dark amber and black, it could be that it needs reduction. I think I'll refire that in the salt kiln!!

Then repacked by 5pm. I had no desire to be firing until midnight, so it can wait until 5am or so!!

cake-as requested!

It looks better before it set!
This is a recipe that The Carpenter found in a thread on London Fixed Gear forum....
especially for the Australian forum members....and it comes from Dn Lepard, "Chrry Ripe"

With all that chocolate on top, it is lurking in the fridge....wont be there long though....

The other cake recipe for "Canadian Gingerbread", I was given many years ago
10 oz flour, 2 tsp spice (ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, whatever you like!)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda. Mix that lot in a large bowl. I use a slotted serving spoon for most of my cake mixing, folding or beating.
Melt together 6oz marg or butter, 6 oz golden syrup, 6oz black treacle/molasses and 4 oz soft brown sugar.
Add to the dry mix, then add 2 eggs, beaten, followed by 5 fluid ounces of hot water.
Yes, it will look runny, which is why you greased and lined a nine inch square tin....

In the oven at 180 C/ 350 F / gas 4. check after 40 minutes, could take an hour until a skewer comes out clean from the middle.

I have made this in triple quantities for a potters' a tin 10.5" x 13.5" x 3" deep. It disappeared completely!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I didn't dry the cone dinosaur out it blew up at about 450 C.

I take out a brick that is nearly four inches wide at the front of the bagwall by the side of the burner, so that the flue warms up and draws quicker. I forgot to replace it.

I've shut the damper down a bit extra to compensate for the latter, 1080 and still drawing ok.

For the former? I'm going by pyrometer and seat of pants! With the gas being late I couldn't abort the firing, as I need both firings through and out before Sunday night.

It seems to have almost reached that sticky point where it slows down for a while. I don't want to reduce fire it, as there are glazes in there that I need to be green not purple or pink!! I'm still learning, and wish I had a firing buddy. I read all about it and get confused!! Time to have a shared salt firing to learn more.

...and firing on!!

Baked two cakes while I was waiting, gas arrived at 12.45, kiln on at 1pm!!!!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Kiln packed and ready.....still no gas delivery.... I phoned at 4pm and they confirmed what I'd suspected....
This morning a lorry caught fire on the M4 motorway inside the Bryn Glas tunnels around Newport. Not the gas lorry, thankfully, a new lorry carrying rolls of steel. One wheel on fire and the air hose would have gone and the lorry stopped. So the M4 was closed from one side of Newport to the other, and everything had to go round the rather inadequate relief road with numerous small roundabouts that goes from single to dual and back again....or through Newport itself...
Gridlock!! On a hot sunny day too.

Delivery now scheduled by 1pm tomorrow. I'll have to fire as soon as it arrives, which means a late finish, which I do not like. I'd rather start very early! Then the second firing on Saturday.

All being well, that should give me enough choice to submit to Aberystwyth.

The car is being mended on Friday, I've had the parts for a week! Then get the new tyre put on and balanced and the tracking done and I'll be ready for a trip to Aberystwyth!!

steady progress

Kiln unpacked and all the bowls' feet are waxed now. Gas ordered too.

Not much else done, as a friend came to visit. We enjoyed a simple lunch with lots of nattering and I used a bowl to barter for something I needed!

Then The Carpenter needed a hand sorting we have a smaller coffee table that doesn't hem you in on the sofa, and I can get at the front windowsill to change the pot display!!

All the washing got dried and sorted as well- I hate having that hanging around! It was pleasant all day apart from some light showers late afternoon.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

kiln cooling

Now the firing has finished, the sun is out from the clouds!

The next job is stirring and sieving glazes and more waxing when the pots are cool enough.

I'll order more gas in the morning as two bottles are better than one for the last third of a glaze firing. I'm slowly building up enough in the bank to do a weekend event somewhere . Two steps forward, one step back as there are materials and gas to pay for, but I'm getting there.

I had a wander up to the garden for ten minutes weeding-enough to make a difference and say that I had done a bit. Enough to charge my batteries not to flatten them!!
It feels like a Summer's evening at last.

kiln firing again

Another bisque today, started on the apparently empty bottle and got it to nearly 300! Unfortunately I was caught by my neighbour for a restarted on the newer bottle at 115 degrees!! It needs a slower start anyway, as there are some larger pieces in that I wish to survive!! 350 and all is well so far.

It was forecast hot today, but we've been mostly overcast so far- mountain weather! It is apparently clearer only five miles away!!

My "slo-cooker" has developed a crack, and so is leaking wax...back to the pan of water and tin can of wax and paraffin, and waxing in the kitchen...with open windows!!!!

I had a better night's sleep last night, not so tired today.

Saturday, 23 July 2011


A combination of an evening out, so late supper and having to wait two hours for food to go down so that I can take the medicine, and two hour's gardening this morning= I'm tired!!
Still it is a bright sunny day and tidying two paths and lightly digging half a bed was needed! It looks a lot better too.

The sun is still hot at 4.30 pm, so no going back to the garden yet. I think I'll sow green manure on that freshly dug bed, possibly red clover. That wont take much effort.

The bowls can come out into the sun to finish drying, especially the bigger ones.
Next job is waxing pot feet and bottoms! That is a nice and quiet sitting at the wheel job, with the radio on, and a board over the wheeltray for a table.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Rhyswg walk

After this morning's kiln unpacking I cleaned and tidied while it rained outside.
By midday the weather was lifting and I'd had enough!!
The last scraggy bits of cloud were lifting from the top as I left the highest houses in the village

Stone ridges set across the old road, now a path, to divert rainwater and keep the surface from being washed away in heavy rain.

It climbs steadily , then the trees open out and you can see up the side valley, Cwm fapi, known as "the lappy" . They have begun, this year, harvesting trees planted by my Man and others, in his first job when he left school. Hard, cold work.

After the halfway breather on the fire road, up and up and up again.

The bracken is taking the path over now, without someone walking up and down every day.
Flat at last! The pony stallions shelter along this stretch, you can see how their hooves have cut up the sward.

up again, to the top of the old road by Ysgubor Ton (Meadow Barn)

Then along the old parish road and out along the mountain to the tree that you can see from nearly every part of the Mountain Common

As I arrived the clouds parted to reveal the sun!

Then I sat and had lunch, by Col's Tree. Finding peace and tranquility and companionship in spirit.