Spark: three

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Norman Ackroyd, Stac an Armin – Evening. Etching, 2010

During my second job as a graphic designer, I was asked to create a brochure for the Royal Academy Schools. As part of the project I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Norman Ackroyd, a phenomenally talented landscape artist. His atmospheric etchings of Scotland capture the essence of everything I love about this part of the world.


Magpie {1}

unknown  unknownBase
Porcelain vessel with blue incised lines (bought from Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, Devon)

Whilst musing on my slow progress in becoming a potter I have come to realise that I have, somehow, managed to collect quite a number of beautiful pots over the years. Can anyone tell me who made this lovely one as I can’t for the life of me remember. It has a maker’s mark on the bottom which looks something like (o).

Please see 19 June 2013 update for further details

Up, up and away


The ware shelves are up – thanks to a sneaky trip to a certain Swedish store in Glasgow last weekend. Now I just have to fill them! I have a few technical challenges to sort out over the coming weeks, and I feel a little like I’m treading water at the moment. Here’s hoping I make some proper progress soon.

Spark: two

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Poster designed by FHK Henrion, 1943

When I was in my late teens a family friend offered me the chance to meet F H K Henrion (1914-1990). I didn’t understand the importance of the offer and never took them up on it. Later, not long after his death, I came to discover what I had missed out on.

A dunting task

On Friday, with a certain amount of trepidation, I opened the kiln after my first glaze firing.


All looked well; but on closer inspection all the porcelain pieces, bar one, have spiral cracks. After a bit of research I now understand this to be dunting, and is a result of the kiln cooling too fast through two critical points at 573°C and 226°C. I thought I had been careful not to open the kiln too soon, so it appears that I may need to look into a way of slowing the cooling process… By overriding the kiln sitter after it has shut off I should be able to hold it at a medium heat for a while. I hope this may help things. The stoneware pieces have fared better.

Luckily all the things in the kiln were just test pieces – I’m still sad though.


At least my test tiles have survived – before firing (l) and after (r).

glazing2  testTiles

Fire when ready

So, the bisque firing went ok… no explosions. Now on to the glaze firing.

drying clay  bowl wash  kiln wash  glazing3  glazebucket  glazing1

Todays tasks were:
– put out clay scraps for drying ready to make paper joining slip (recipe from Martha Grover)
– make kiln wash
– kiln wash shelves
– sieve and mix transparent glaze
– glaze pieces
– put pieces in the kiln ready to fire tomorrow morning.

Spark: one

I wanted to start a series about people that have influenced my creative path.
So here is the first…

Cover designed by Abram Games 1951; published by HMSO

Whilst I was at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art & Design, doing my foundation course, I went to an evening lecture. Abram Games (1914-1996) was the speaker. What he said and the work that he showed us was so inspirational it was to cement the course of my creative path for the next 25 years.