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Looking back...and forward

When your year is ruled by the school time-table, August is a time to recharge the batteries, reflect on the last year and make plans for the next. Although now retired, it is still ingrained - in many ways my year begins in September.

Having borrowed an electric wheel from a friend, this month it makes sense to focus on improving my throwing skills, so last week I set out to throw a bag and a half of clay...but not all in one lump!

It went like this:

Sunday: tidy up the workspace, prepare balls of clay in various weights, label, wrap in plastic.

Monday: throw, throw, throw.... starting with 400g funnels and working up to 1500g vases.

Tuesday: turn and trim...... some pots are a bit wonky but I can be inventive with them!

Wednesday: apply base-coats of white slip over the buff clay.

Thursday: brush on more slip: red, black, green and of course my favourite bright blue!

Friday and Saturday were busy in other ways (see below)

Sunday: sgraffito day - several twisting vines, some birds and butterflies, lots of landscapes...

Now the pots are all scattered around the house drying: I am quite pleased with the decoration.

However, the throwing is far from satisfactory: I would like to be more consistent.

With this in mind.....had a great day out at Hatfield House on Friday for Art in Clay and spent several happy hours browsing the stalls, meeting the potters, asking questions, picking up useful tips....and buying a few beauties!

Other potters are wonderfully generous with advice: I really appreciated some in-depth discussions about throwing and drawing in particular.

Have returned with several "New Year" resolutions:

1. Don't buy quite so many pots next time... there were so many beautiful pieces...!

2. Devote one session a week to "throw and throw away" - in other words don't keep anything from that session of throwing. The idea is to free up my technique: if you don't care whether or not it's "perfect" then you learn more. The thought of throwiing a lot of pots back into the recycling bin is potentially heart-breaking, but I'll give it a go.

3. Draw regularly from real life. We are lucky to have both wildlife and farm animals close by and in the past I have taken endless photos of cattle, sheep, deer, garden birds....

Images generally lurk in the digital box-room and are never looked at again. From now on I will have a sketch-book and pencils at hand - resulting in a fresher approach to my decorating.

4. Simplify my display when selling. At Hatfield my favourite displays were simple and used natural materials to enhance the pottery. Some de-cluttering is required... Watch this space!


Meanwhile it's back to work: I have some bisque pieces to glaze and a commission to complete.


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