I’m just back from another amazing Scottish Potters Association weekend at Kindrogan. When I was wending my way there through the stunning Perthshire countryside I was thinking that there was no way that it could be as good as last year’s. How wrong could I be – not only were there excellent demonstrators once again, but as I was no longer a novice I knew more folk and I relaxed and enjoyed it far more this time.

The workshops were given by Patricia Shone, David Roberts and Ronnie Fulton. I spent most of my time flitting between Patricia and David’s rooms. Patricia gave us an insight into how she makes her incredible textured pieces both by using the wheel and through hand building techniques. She is inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Skye and as a result I feel a real kinship with her, although the style of our work is poles apart. David is a raku potter whose large-scale work I have admired for a long time. It was a treat to discover more about his process. He very kindly let us bring pieces to fire over the weekend, using his own barrier slip and glazes with some great end results. I’m now inspired to try further raku firings of this type in the summer.

I came away with a wealth of ideas relating to surface… burnishing for raku firing; adding terra sigillata for a fine patina; using unusual tools to create strata, roughness and waves, applying sodium silicate to obtain coarse volcanic structures; stretching and moulding to achieve organic character… more scribbles in my sketchbook. I wonder when I’ll have a chance to try them out. Until then here are a few tastes of what I saw…


11 thoughts on “Surface

  1. Hi Juliet Your Scottish trip sounds awesome! Scotland is my very favourite place in the UK. Hope you don’t mind me asking how you moved from novice to where you are now? I have been attending pottery eve classes for 30 weeks now and am itching to progress with my pottery skills ( I have a long way to go!) recently I started looking at residential week courses held at a potters house aswell as trying to locate city and guild courses.(can’t find one,). I would really like some specific instruction and more experience and understanding of glazing/recipes / firing. As well as developing my throwing skills. I have limited funds which makes it harder but I will keep going just don’t know what I am doing..

    Any advice or tips greatly appreciated

    Samantha. Learner potter!

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Samantha, how lovely to hear from you. If you have a chance read some of my early posts about how I got going (if you’ve not already). I’d really recommend joining your local pottery association if there is one. They’ll be a great source of support and information and membership is usually very reasonable. Also they’re a good way of finding second hand equipment.

      Just this weekend someone suggested a good tip, which was to get a small kiln first, before a wheel. There are a lot of 13amp ones that you can just plug in and use – often pretty cheap as they last forever. With a kiln you can handbuild on your kitchen table and fire and finish pieces. When it comes to throwing the best thing is practice… once you find a wheel you only need a few bags of clay to practice with. You can throw lots of pots, recycle the clay and start again.I found my confidence and skill really improved by repeating the same form over and over again. I’m continually learning and have so much still to master. The internet is pretty brilliant for all kinds of pottery information… Simon Leach and Hsin-Chuen Lin have a wealth of videos on youtube with all sorts of tips.

      Hope that helps. Please let me know how you get on.

  2. Magic Juliet, I was there, and loved the workshops you mention too – even signed up for David Roberts in Italy already, but still really impressed with the images you have posted and clarity of presentation also the speed with which you have organised everything .

  3. Hi Juliet,
    As you know I’m a big fan of both these Raku potters. I went to a very inspiring talk given by David Roberts a couple of years ago. His pots have a real presence don’t they. I haven’t met Patricia but she has a short film on her website in which she talks about her work and influence and ever since I have longed for a piece of her work. I also found her approach fascinating. You are so lucky, what an amazing experience.

    • I was so happy when they announced that they were both going to be demonstrating! David brought a couple of his large pieces with him. I’d never seen them in the flesh before (only photos), just amazing and incredibly finely made. I’ve met Patricia a few times now, and we’ll be exhibiting at Potfest Scotland together. Will have to sell lots of pots so I can buy something else. Hope all well with you.

    • Thanks Anser, but these images aren’t of my work but of the two potters I went to see at the workshop… Patricia Shone and David Roberts. I only wish I could produce the same. If you click on their names in the text above it will take you to their websites so you can see more of their work.

  4. Pingback: Magpie {55} | The Cloud Pottery

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