Tuesday 29 May 2012


I've been ill- now I'm back and going to convalesce with my Pirate...see you all soon.

All is Well  :-)

Friday 25 May 2012


Just very happy.....and busy!!
and the weather has turned hot.

We're off to the allotment any minute, to plan greenhouse extending, possibly.

Then it will be down to the Velodrome for the Cycling Club Cardiff session tonight.

No pictures until I find the lead...but I've been a bit pre-occupied, so who knows where it has gone!!

Oh, by the way RDG, not dragon but hare...and that is very good (for a serpent)!!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

More cycling!

This time I got a lift into Cardiff first!!  Which meant a nice five mile ride to St Ffagan and I was then nicely warmed up for work!

The sun has come out even brighter and hotter today- and I was riding home from 1.15 to 3.15.
I walked up the steep bit on this hill....

which is the bit in the distance- there is downhill and flat before it.

I arrived at the garage just as my car was being tested...it took all of 15 seconds to diagnose as it dumped water in the pit!!    Unfortunately Pug have discontinued the heater hoses at the rear...scrapyard time...a job for The Oily One who knows where there are two diesel 405s!!
I know the car is 15 years old, and the last time they put this engine in a car was 10 years ago...but they do have a reputation for longevity!! 

Now I'm getting a lift to Abergavenny to The Grand Kiln Opening!!

Monday 21 May 2012

definitely Monday...

The water leak from the car has increased- so it should be easier to locate.   Unfortunately (?) that meant that I had to commute by bike. I chose the road bike, it being a lighter beast.

I found that I was limited...I couldn't use the two bottom gears...so down dale was fine, but uphill was a slow pedal followed by a slower walk.  At least Spring is now giving us proper May weather!!

Sheep  heads made,  gears slipping and jumping, I slowly  made my way the three miles to where The Oily One works. It is called Cardiff Pedal Power!! They hire all sorts of bikes there and he is, not surprisingly, the mechanic there....

My bike had a twist in the gear hanger, as well as cable outers showing their age.

Hopefully things are now running true and the gear and brake cables have had attention.   

I thought of riding another twenty miles...another two hours with my lack of fitness....
and wimped out!!   I had flapjacks and real coffee, a sit in the sun on the bench, and a nice natter with The  O.O.    Funny how you only realize how tired you are when you stop!

Then a lift home...bliss!! 

Unfortunately I forgot that I was supposed to go out to a meeting this evening...but talking on the phone to a friend did me much more good!

Sunday 20 May 2012

weekend saltglaze firing

All in!!

Cones, draw rings and one of my boxes
Francis Drake coming to check!

Draw ring being taken out to check firing progress

All twelve out by the end of adding salt....now we wait until Tuesday evening, hopefully, for the Grand Opening

Thursday 17 May 2012

curate's egg...

as he said to the bishop when asked how was his egg...."good, in parts"...

All the slip decorated pots have problems...ones I haven't had in thirty years of decorating with slip, either earthenware or stoneware.
However the rest are quite nice.

then there are lots of jugs
and at the back of the bottom shelf I put two bowls to re-fire.  I wasn't too worried if they spoilt or got over cooked.....

but they turned out well!   (glaze, "old yeller")

The kiln is looking a bit sicker too- I've photographed the movement in the arch/roof, to compare it with last time, but I think it might have to be re-built inside very soon.


In between kiln checking and tweaking, yesterday's sunshine got me inspired...as well as the lack of housework help getting me riled....

The kitchen is mostly de-cluttered although still waiting for some electrickery and carpentry.
The hall and stairs have been painted Incarnidine Red...that was chosen just over a year ago after much pachwork painting of test pots!

I ran out of time to take a load to the local recycling centre, even though it closes at 7pm....

I've peeked in the kiln-

and it looks good...but is too hot to touch!

I'm pleased with this little dragon jar- I hope the lid isn't stuck!   If it is ok when it comes out of the kiln, this one is going to a friend who loves dragons although he isn't Welsh or Chinese...I'm not sure, but he might be a Dragon himself!

Wednesday 16 May 2012

getting fired up!

"Ne'er cast a clout 'til the May is out"...yes well....it is....and it is STILL chilly!!

Today is the best weather forecast for this week- it is chilly, clear and sunny. I've been on the go since before six this morning!!

Surprising what a good night's sleep will do :-)

Today will have more de-cluttering, cleaning, washing....


the kiln has been packed and lit since 7.30.


Monday 14 May 2012

tired and more to do

By the time I'd reached St. Ffagans this morning, the rain had eased.

Back home by 3pm in the sunshine, but I'm finding commuting very tiring, even with jam avoiding tactics.

This little lot are now cooling a little more before I unpack them...ok, just an excuse as I'm tired! Then I'll re-mix the glazes as they cool properly. The clear glaze especially, needs to be not too thick on the pots otherwise it crazes, and warm pots soak up more glaze.

The Commission is looking good, I've cut the door and windows, and the roof is ready to be finished.  I know I should have discovered the dimensions of the lamp to be put in it before starting to make.....
I've made feet for it, but will not attach them. They will be fired in situ, which should allow the pot to shrink and move instead of sticking and cracking. I could just use placing sand, but the idea of fine silica dust about the place just does not seem very good.

Now it is just after 4.30pm, I've had a leisurely mug of coffee and a rest so here we go!!

Sunday 13 May 2012


Rain tomorrow?

The scraggy peach coloured clouds were lower and travelling quite fast, compared to the others.  I know the direction can change in different altitudes too, but the difference was quite striking.

a day alone

The weather is almost Summery here today.

Look, shadows!

and more...

The sun is picking out the colours on the slopes of Mynydd y Llan

but that  light does show that there is rain in the offing.

I'm reading others writing of rain and gales , looking at the forecast and thinking "not again"...I could do with a week of this, not a weekend!!

The kiln is gaining temperature well, not too fast as it is a well packed bisque and I want it fired evenly.  
With luck I'll have light enough for a good walk when it is done.

I'd love to have company to go up the mountain again, but it looks like I'll be by myself, just like the rest of this busy Springcleaning day.

a good shared day

Yesterday was very productive.

The kiln was spruced up by C and L including cleaning up the burners.  I sorted the wadding and re-mixed glazes for the firing. We all four of us made and finished work .

The Blacksmith was there carrying on with the VW restoration and there was more help in the garden clearing a rampant bamboo patch .
The grass got mown before it got jungly with the combination of a good month of rain and a fine few days!  Yet another row of potatoes is showing above ground and he salads in the polytunnel are looking lush.

A simple lunch of soup and bread shared in the sunshine on the patio was better than any feast.   We could have sat and talked for hours, but there were  still things to do.
We were all so busy that no photography was done!!

Yet more friends visited at teabreak time.    It is a house that welcomes you all, where you can talk or just find a corner to work and think.   A cat or four will come and check you out in passing or stay and keep you company if you need it.

All praise and thanks go to M for feeding and putting up with us all!

Seven pm came too quickly then it was time to head home for a curry with The Carpenter with fresh eggs brought home from The Garden.

Today is still fine.  I awoke at five am and felt good.
Now lets make the most of it before the weather turns again..washing, gardening, kiln packing...but all at home this time.

Saturday 12 May 2012

what is it?

When it is tall enough, it gets a roof, then a doorway and windows, possibly feet as well.

It is a shelter for a lamp, a beacon to lead one home. 

There is kiln mending in a walled garden today on this beautiful sunny day.

Meals will be shared.

 There will possibly be gardening too, all in the company of friends.

I can think of friends past, present and future as I share all this, and be happy.

Friday 11 May 2012

getting bigger!

The Big Pot grew by another couple of inches just now.....

I'm not sure that it might be going out a little too much.  That wont be difficult to change, just a little cut and shut!   

The next question is how tall.   I think possibly a hand-span taller, then add the "roof" which will be slab built.   I could do a slate roof, but that would start to get complicated....the next one, perhaps?
I've wrapped the base so that it doesn't get too dry to cut and model/carve, and the top inch to keep that damp ready to add more coils.

 That can sit nicely for a day, as tomorrow we might be working on the salt kiln to get it ready for the next firing.

blue sky!

Not a lot....but enough!!
Down to the Gwent hospital in Newport today and The Carpenter was fortunate that A&E wasn't busy...within half an hour they had xrayed his hand and wrist,  and given him a wrist support...no breakages apparent, even when they zoomed in on the xray image.   There is still a small amount of swelling, but not enough to warrant how much it hurts. Now he waits to hear from them after the consultant has had a look at the image.  
A bit of shopping on the way back, a leisurely lunch and next I must prick out some lettuce seedlings in the greenhouse.

The Commission is drying slowly...which is as it should be...I should be able to add another coil or two this afternoon.
   All the other work is also drying slowly....which is not as I'd like!  If it is still dry when I return from the allotment I'll risk putting them outside for a while, and that should do the trick!!

The drawing book turned up....in a very obvious place....where nothing had been moved.   OK, it must be happy now I've started the next one! 
I've tidied the shelves right by my bed, and the three latest ones now live there.

I probably ought to do a lot more tidying and sorting but somehow that doesn't feel an attractive proposition!

Thursday 10 May 2012

working hard

For most of today we have had heavy showers..with rain in between!!

A home workshop day was the best therefore and I haven't even been up to the allotment!!

First came finishing the jars...

Next, after lunch, I had intended to start packing the kiln for a bisque with what was ready.   I started fettling lightly and realised....nothing is dry enough yet.
At least all the jugs , jars and tankards and bowls have all been fettled, all (all?!!) they have to do is dry!!

I started on The Commission... a few ideas have gone down on paper, but nothing satisfactory.
I just "went for it"     The base was paddled out, not rolled, then I started coil and throw, using two wooden rib tools- this is in Crank, a heavily grogged clay. We're talking about far coarser than coarse sandpaper here!!

I didn't want to risk going any further.

The top inch has been wrapped so that I can work on it again when the walls have stiffened.

I'm really enjoying this!

As I finished, a knock came on the window.....

She is a softy really....even if she does prefer men!!

thinking and hoping

Thyme...or Time.

Anniversaries rushing in, making one sit and think.   It feels like yesterday, but also like ten years.
Yesterday a year ago, My Man chose to go into hospital.   At least it was a positive decision that he made himself.    It was funny peculiar weather then too.

I worked all day by myself in the workshop near Abergavenny, going in for breaks and cuppas!

I worked in silence apart from the quiet running of the kick wheel as I turned then handled mugs.   The blackbirds were shouting loudly outside, so I knew that the rain tapping on the roof was only showers, until mid-afternoon when they fell quiet..and the rain fell steadily.

I've mislaid...probably lost....my drawing book.....two and a half year's work.

Perhaps it is a sign of new beginnings, as there are some shoots of hope peeking through.
     I've just opened a new drawing book......

New techniques are certainly a challenge. 

I must "go with the flow" more and stop trying too hard in everything I do.
When you relax and get on with it life is much better.  It scares other people less too!!

The rain has eased off a little this morning, but everything is exceedingly wet and I can only just see the wooded slopes of Cefn Rhyswg from my window.

Time to drink the rest of my coffee then go out to my workshop.
There are jars that need turning and knobs and handles....perhaps a dragon or two...
I've had an idea for a one-person  teapot shape, not made one in years .
There is also a lantern shelter to be made from Crank clay....the idea is nearly there.

I can sit and work and think and hope....and smile.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

berry bowls

Waiting to be finished.     These are selling steadily, thankfully!

These are 'my' shelves at St.Ffagan's pottery.

My work is on the three shelves and the "worktop".  With this much on show, it is selling well.

Gareth Lloyd (the potter who runs the business) makes the lamps and plaques.

The other pottery is Ewenny pottery ware. That has been run for 401 years and the 10th generation of Jenkinses is making now!  These designs have been made since 1912.

Monday 7 May 2012

an exceedingly wet day

So wet that I decided to go to work!  There was practically no traffic on the roads as I drove to St. Ffagan,  leaving at about a quarter to eight.

This old man greeted me, and this is where  he works...
The fire in the bread oven has been lit by 5am at least
The rain fell steadily most of the day
and even the rams stayed indoors!!
The Carpenter made the doors for this building when he was on Work Experience from school.  (about 2004)

On the way home after 2pm the motorway and dual carriageway roads were full of spray and cars on their way home from holiday,  so I kept to the old main roads.

Sunday 6 May 2012

MD to the rescue!

I now have half a usable greenhouse, three large bags of rubbish AND I can get at the bags of compost!!!!     THANKYOU!!!!!  xxxx

I trimmed the green manure (clover) back around the new rhubarb row- the rest I'm leaving to grow for ground cover and bee food.

The new enclosures for pony manure and the windbreak for the plastic compost bin need painting, but they are doing their job, and haven't moved in the recent winds!!

The Oily One has put the bit onto my car that will hopefully cure the last of the leaks, thanks to him too.

Also thankyou for the virtual hugs....they do help.

Now for a cuppa and some bowl finishing.


It is a beautiful morning....so what have I been doing?

Washing clothes and dishes, vaccuuming and mopping floors, re-tidying the house.....

Trying to get it to look like it should always look....not perfect, just decent.

I want to be finishing pots,  the greenhouse needs sorting, there is paperwork that should be done,  I need excercise.

Perhaps I just want someone else to organise and I can just do!!

Rant over!!

A nice 'bearhug' would be good too.  I'm missing those. Not easy to be strong without them.

Saturday 5 May 2012


Despite the sunshine this morning, many peoples' sales were down today at Usk Farmers Market. It was quite chilly, but still pleasant.    You just cannot predict this, as I have had  very good sales on the worst of days.  I'd hoped that the good day last month would carry on.

At least I did sell something, to a returning customer!   I suppose I have to look upon it as a morning out.  It is leading to sales in the Court Cupboard which is encouraging.

At least I had a good afternoon in great company.  I made ten more porcelain mugs.
Unfortunately I forgot to wrap the last batch to make them dry slowly and even out the amount of dampness in handle and mug body....oops!  I wont forget that again!!

The Carpenter has gone back to the Emergency department of the hospital as his hand is still not right.    I told him not to go on Saturday.....he has been waiting two and a half hours so far....and he isn't urgent...!!

Friday 4 May 2012


Everything is just cold and damp....pots not drying, clothes just hanging on the line. 
The fact that it isn't raining doesn't seem to have improved things!

The tankards have been decorated, one berry bowl turned, cut and pierced and one spoiled.     They need to be a little more dry to have a crisp finish to the work.
You can't hurry these things.

Ho hum....get ready for the farmers market tomorrow in Usk.    Prepare for even colder weather.

new shapes

Here are the new beer tankard and honey pot.   I needed to use flash to get a half decent picture, it is so dull.

The darker colour is a band of blue clay  slip on the white clay body.   The lettering is cut out and placed on the body before brushing over with slip . Then when the slip loses its wet shininess it is time to lift the lettering off before it dries hard, otherwise you could lose the clean edge.

Today I'll be finishing the rest of the batch of jars, possibly putting some interesting knobs or handles on them! There are a few small bowls to turn and cut the feet and pierce to make berry bowls.

So far I haven't been very constructive...taken The Carpenter to the next village to catch the 7am train, sort clean washing, ironed,mopped and vacced floors,  done yet more washing (found two full washes on The Oily One's floor...I know, I shouldn't, but better done before the clothes  walk out themselves!!)  Opened windows to air the house as it has stopped raining for a while.....    and breathe!!     

On the other hand it easier to think with a cleaner, tidier house.   We just need action from the OO as well!!

Teigar cat is being a little more sociable, accepting stroking and giving a little head-butt ..and Mrreeowing from downstairs when I'm up.   You can have quite a conversation with her now!!

I've worked out that putting pictures on with the new blogging system is easier..instead of putting the pictures on in reverse then writing, I just fire away and add the image where I want it....much easier!

Thursday 3 May 2012

day out...but not day off

Typical...I have a day out, and it rains!!!!   Low cloud, rain, cold......

Driving past Abertillery listening to a discussion programme about Voltaire. He was living in the 1700s, and putting that in context, my house in Garn Dolbenmaen was built in 1750.  He published his work simultaneously in several countries. Then when it was banned in one, it was still "out there".

1755 was the date of a devastating earthquake in Lisbon, when seven to twelve thousand people died.     There were others in the world much worse, eg. Chile only a few years before. Because of the beginnings of the mass media-newspapers- firstly the death toll was exaggerated and secondly the news of it was spread around Europe within a couple of days, a week at the most.

The rain fell steadily and the hills were shrouded in low cloud  until suddenly by Pengenffordd the sun broke through, the clouds lifted and there was sun...for less than half a mile!   Then the clouds descended again and I made my way past Talgarth and on to Hay, past a swollen muddy River Wye and large patches of water on the fields where they had been flooded a couple of days ago.

Hay was fairly busy, but not as busy as it should have been on a market day. They needed yesterday's weather today!   I acquired a galvanised mop bucket (secondhand)- that wont melt or split easily!! also saw friends in the market. It is tempting to go back to having a stall, but I don't think I have the time or the energy, plus the increase in fuel price makes it uneconomical.
I collected a bag of clay from Brook Street Pottery  before heading for Longtown via the Golden Valley , an easier drive than straight over the pass by Hay Bluff.

The roads and lanes were mainly clear of water and those places still under water were passable with care.  On Sunday many had been impassable.
I visited Monnow Arts Centre and had a quick look round the sculpture garden.
Then stayed talking with the resident artist and my friend who works there...we must have been talking for a couple of hours, but the time just went.   Not gossiping, but discussing art, life, work....exhilarating!!

On to collect the cheque for March sales at the Court Cupboard, then to the workshop in the walled garden......and as requested, a picture of work in progress....