Thursday, 5 February 2015

Valentine's Day Ideas

It's been a busy 2015 already - mostly with finishing a spill-over of Christmas orders and re-stocking on some essential pots (bird bowls are back in stock btw!). The kiln has been bisque fired once and glaze fired twice already before January had a chance to put its feet up!

I think the kiln was wondering what on earth was going on - especially as it had to contend with some chilly temperatures out in the studio recently. As a precaution I brought all my bags of clay indoors from the outside store, just in case they froze. One day I switched on the electricity to the kiln and the themocouple plummeted immediately to zero. I'm sure if it could display any temperature below freezing then it would have...

Anyway, enough about the cold studio conditions! Here's some new items I managed to make in-between all the other pots in January: just a few ideas for Valentine's Day. I made some very cute little bottles with cork stoppers which you can see in the photos above, and I made some ceramic heart tags to go with them with 'love potion' written on them. 

These bottles are small enough to sit in the palm of your hand and make a lovely gift. They can be used as a bathroom accessory to hold oils and salts for instance and because the glazes are food safe and dishwasher safe, they can be used in the kitchen too. The glazing is plain white so they can even be used as little bud vases without the stopper and tag. They are available in both my Etsy and Folksy Shop.

In the process of bringing in all the stoneware clay out from the cold, I also found some porcelain - so I made this pair of love birds. These are hand shaped and left unglazed to show the pure white porcelain body, while their eyes were picked out by brushing on dots of blue/black oxide. This unique pair of love doves is available in my Etsy Shop. Enjoy!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Homes and Gardens Magazine Feature - Bird Tail Pouring Bowls

© Homes and Gardens Magazine December 2014

Recently I found out my 'bird tail' pouring bowls were featured in this month's Homes and Gardens Magazine (December 2014 issue). It was a complete surprise and I'm so pleased - especially as they look great too which is the most important thing!

I have two sizes of bird tail bowls - a small one that fits in the palm of your hand and a larger one about the size of a normal cereal bowl. Both have been featured in Homes and Gardens Gift Guide along with a selection of other Christmas gift ideas for budding chefs.

© Homes and Gardens Magazine December 2014

In the feature they used my blue and white bird bowls but I also make them using a contrasting brown and oatmeal glaze combination in the smaller size. All my bird bowls are available directly from me via my Etsy and Folksy Shops but in the feature they're also stocked by Aram Store in Covent Garden, London. 

It was such a lovely surprise and a great way to end a very busy year...!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Christmas Crafts at Quarr Abbey 2014

Next week I will be exhibiting in a group show called Christmas Crafts at Quarr Abbey with four other art and craft makers from the Isle of Wight. This will be our fifth Christmas show at the Abbey - our first was back in 2010 (which you can read about here) - so it's become something of an annual event for us!

This year we're joined by Peter Wright of Wright Turned who makes beautiful handmade wooden pieces on a lathe - some of which you can see in the image at the top of this post. It's always good to have a range of different craft disciplines to give people choice and variety in a show. This year I think we have a lovely mix of materials that complement each other well and have a wide appeal - ceramics, textiles and wood. So we're looking forward to it.

Here's the details of our show if you happen to be passing...!

Christmas Crafts at Quarr Abbey 2014

Thursday 20th November – Tuesday 25th November 2014

Open Daily 10.30am – 4.30pm

Quarr Abbey Gallery, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4ES

Free Admission


Jude Allman is a potter who makes hand thrown stoneware vases, bowls, jugs and homeware accessories decorated using simple glaze combinations in a modern rustic style.

Peter Wright of Wright Turned makes natural lathe turned wooden platters, bowls, cups and garden dibbers using wood from native Ash, Oak and Beech trees.

Lis Toft is a maker of intricately decorated porcelain vessels and jewellery with bronze and turquoise flowing glazes.

Sue Wright Handknits is a hand knitter, weaver and spinner who designs unique clothing and homeware accessories including scarves, socks, bags, rugs and runners in soft practical yarns.

Tim England is inspired by fragmented shadow and light, and combines abstract and figurative aspects in both his paintings and ceramics.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Coffee Set and Coffee Bowls

What a busy summer! Since my last post I've been potting away making lots of pots for wholesale orders and a few private commissions too. And it seems to be a quirk of making pots that sometimes different people ask for similar things. 

This past month the theme was coffee and I was asked to make a coffee set (as seen in the photos above). This included a coffee pot (complete with lid and pouring lip) a lidded sugar bowl and a set of four coffee mugs. Although I've made each of these items separately before this was the first time I've made them together as a matching coffee set. 

The most tricky thing to do was the coffee pot itself of course as it required so many composite elements. The body of the pot is essentially a big jug, but since it was a part of a set, I had to make it big enough to hold a liquid capacity that would pour out and fill at least four of the matching mugs' worth of coffee! Then it had to have a handle strong enough to hold the weight of it plus all that liquid, while at the same time being comfortable to use and pour. And finally it had to have a lid which not only fitted but allowed pouring through the lip or spout whilst in place. As you can see in the photo I also cleaned back the glaze from the rim of the coffee pot to leave a section of un-glazed bare clay. This makes sure the lid doesn't stick to the pot permanently when fired in the kiln.

In the end I was very pleased with the result because everything matched and all the elements worked: and most importantly my customer was happy too! The glaze I used for the coffee set was a new version of my wood ash glaze. This has proved such a popular glaze and works especially well with rustic style coffee themed items! Below is another wholesale order I finished recently: a batch of coffee bowls using another version of my wood ash glaze. I actually have two of these coffee bowls left spare - and both are available in my Folksy Shop now. I hope you enjoy the photos!