Magpie {53}


Blue Owl Bowl: hand-built, gas fired stoneware, by Chiu-i Wu

I’ve seen Chiu-i’s work on a number of occasions and have always been captivated by the whimsical imagination of her pieces. At Potfest Scotland last year I fell in love with a particular piece, but hesitated in buying it until I had reached my own sales target. Big mistake… unsurprisingly by the Sunday it had already been bought.

This year I was determined not to make the same error, so I visited her stand early last Friday to take a look. I wasn’t disappointed, and this gorgeous little bowl has come home with me.

Work space

Three years ago this summer my new shed studio was finally finished. It was two months late and I was desperate to get back to work, already having taken four months off to project manage alterations to our home. My previous work space was our tiny scullery which I shared with the boiler, sink, washing machine and fridge freezer.

I rushed moving in without paying great attention to layout, and it worked fine for a time. I bought flexible metal shelving and a table that I could move around the limited space as I needed. However, as months passed I began to realise various shortcomings… no sturdy workbench, no possibility of another wheel, the kiln taking up a huge proportion of the space. The interior is lined in very industrial orange OSB board. I painted the ceiling and one wall white a year ago and this added some much needed light, but the space still felt very functional.

     

I admit to having total studio envy when I see photographs of other people’s workshops on social media. In particular Pip Wilcox’s serene environment, and Tasja Pulowska’s multifunctional space. I knew I wanted a little of both.

Following much thought, discussion and deliberation about what improvements to make, a joiner fitted some bespoke shelving (inspired entirely by Tasja’s), and a workbench with additional storage. I then spent two weeks painting, and slowly moving everything back in a much more considered way. I now have a compact space that works better on so many levels; it’s a beautiful environment to be in, it works as a studio and gallery, and it’s flexible.

I’m glad that I took time before making the investment to upgrade. It’s good to know how you use a space, what the faults are, and how they could be improved.

So here it is… my new place of work.
I’m now really looking forward to open studios in September.


Much more storage and display space


Less cramped wheel space (spot the dog)


The kiln is now on wheels so it can be moved back when not in use


Standing height workbench to help my back, with storage for all my beach treasures

 

Magpie {52}


Earthenware slipware mug decorated with cobalt and iron oxide, by Adrift Pottery

A few weeks ago we went on a mad whistle stop tour of the South West. We made a fairly large detour into West Wales to catch up with old friends, and realised that we were only a few miles away from Karen and Andy’s pottery. We’ve been following each other for years on Instagram, and it was a delight to finally meet face-to-face. I came away with this gorgeous Chrysanthemum mug, but deciding was very difficult as there was so much to choose from…

Magpie {51}

DUNCAN2bjulietmacleod2016
DUNCAN2ajulietmacleod2016
High-fired, medium stoneware bowl, by Susan Duncan

I mentioned a while ago that I bought two things from Susan Duncan last summer when I visited her studio in Lochcarron, on the west coast of Scotland. This is the second bowl, and it is difficult to do it justice in a photograph. The way the deep blue glaze breaks to black over the rim and throwing lines is spectacular. I’m now wishing I bought two of them.

Magpie {50}

iihoshijulietmacleod2017
Porcelain wheel-thrown cup with matt white glaze and oxide rim, by Yumiko Iihoshi

A short while ago I spent an action packed weekend in London. I asked friends on Instagram where I should visit during my stay and I managed to fit in some fantastic things following their advice.

One particular highlight was discovering Gallery Eclectic, which houses a wonderfully curated selection of Japanese pottery by makers such as Shinobu Hashimoto and Makoto Kagoshima. I could have bought so many things *if only* but I finally selected this understated beauty made by Kyoto Saga University of Arts graduate Yumiko Iihoshi. This was one of her series of ‘Hand Works’, each with a slightly different profile… some straighter and some more curved. It is lovely to drink from.

Magpie {49}

gadsbyjulietmacleod2016
Small gas-fired stoneware bowl with feldspathic green crackle glaze, by Florian Gadsby

This is a tiny thing but it’s very special to me. It is made by Florian Gadsby who has been working with Lisa Hammond at Maze Hill Pottery for the last two years. I have two pots made by him, the first being a piece of the standard ware produced by the apprentices, and this bowl in his own style which marks the completion of his apprenticeship. He has decided to remain at Maze Hill but working part-time for Lisa, which will allow him to devote more time to making his own beautiful work. 

As a self-taught potter reading Florian’s Instagram feed has been enlightening. He writes detailed and absorbing posts filled with information which have made me look more closely at every element of the potting process.

This bowl is hand thrown with a high iron stoneware body. Some of the iron flecks can be drawn out through the clay and into the crackle glaze when the piece is reduction fired, particularly around the rim. One large speck has blossomed on the inside of the bowl, rather like a beauty spot. Stunning.

Capital

standjulietmacleod2016

A while ago I mentioned that I had received an artist’s bursary from Aberdeen City Council. The first installment allowed me to go to Copenhagen to participate in a week’s workshop with Eric Landon, and the second was to fund my application to a London Craft and Design fair called Made London. The application was successful, and after spending over a month in busy preparation, I set off the week before last on a thousand-mile round trip to the South, with my car laden with pots and a display stand.

Over the last three years of being in business I have exhibited at a few fairs, but limited to Scotland and the borders. I found the prospect of such a prestigious event very unnerving, and having a mishap with my kiln the week before didn’t help my nerves. However, any anxiety was quickly dissipated when I arrived at the stunning One Marylebone and found Jon and Anne Marie from Tutton and Young, and an army of porters to help me unload and find my stand.

One Marylebone is a grade one listed de-consecrated church in the centre of the capital, designed by Sir John Soane and built in the early 19th Century. It is packed with beautiful design features including endless chandeliers, floor to ceiling arched windows, winding staircases, mosaics and stained glass. I was lucky to have my spot in the first floor Galleries with a wonderful tree top view across to the new Regents Place development.

candelabra3julietmacleod2016

Setting up was a bit frantic. I had needed to incorporate a lot of storage into my stand and there was a fair amount of building to be done in the allotted four hours. Luckily we were allowed early entry the following morning, before opening, to make final adjustments etc.

pegsjulietmacleod2016 portraitjulietmacleod2016

With over 120 selected exhibitors the quality of work on show was simply spectacular… from ceramics, jewellery and textiles, to glass, furniture and leatherwork. I’m amazed I came away with any money left at all as there was temptation everywhere.

I only photographed the ceramics on show, purely because of time restraints. It is difficult when you are exhibiting on your own to even get to the bathroom, let alone take time out to peruse everyone else’s glorious wares. Luckily I had some very kind neighbours who watched my stand during a couple of quieter moments to allow me to take a few shots.

The fair ran from Thursday 20, with a packed private view during the evening, to Sunday 23 October. Then after a hasty take down and a delicious Sunday dinner at my friend’s house I set off the Monday morning for the long drive home to Aberdeen. All in all it was a tremendous experience, and I loved meeting new customers, catching up with old and making new friends. It’s a big distance for me to travel, but so many things made it worth it.

Very many thanks to Aberdeen City Council for making this possible and giving me the opportunity to get my work seen by a wider audience. Huge thanks also to all my friends and family who seized this chance and came to visit me during one of my rare trips south of the border.

adamsjulietmacleod2016
Spontaneous throwing lines by Kirsty Adams

allison3julietmacleod2016
Exquisite, fine porcelain by Justine Allison

arrowsmithbrownjulietmacleod2016
Hand-painted mark-making by Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown

beardjulietmacleod2016
Charming illustrations by Helen Beard

bloomfieldjulietmacleod2016
Stunning glazes by Linda Bloomfield

coetser2julietmacleod2016
Landscape inspired porcelain by Candice Coetser

cooperjulietmacleod2016
Microscopic translucency by Amy Cooper

dawesjulietmacleod2016
Nostalgic slipware by Victoria Claire Dawes

gomezjulietmacleod2016
Pieces with inlaid jewels by Tamara Gomez

iwamoto2julietmacleod2016
Intricately patterned porcelain by Ikuko Iwamoto

jineuikimjulietmacleod2016
Hypnotic illusions by Jin Eui Kim

klug2julietmacleod2016
Graphic mark-making by Katharina Klug

laceyjulietmacleod2016
One hundred cups by Emma Lacey

mayojulietmacleod2016
Layered textures by Hilary Mayo

ramp3julietmacleod2016
Lively layered slipware by RAMP – Roop and Al Make Pots

rentonjulietmacleod2016
Contemporary tableware by Elizabeth Renton

segawajulietmacleod2016
Japanese miniatures by Yuta Segawa

tomlin2julietmacleod2016
Marks, lines and texture by Ali Tomlin

vrinsjulietmacleod2016
Artisan craftsmanship by Jeannine Vrins

wearingjulietmacleod2016
Complex glazed landscapes by Paul Wearing

westjulietmacleod2016
Pared down forms by Pottery West

yamashita
Calm patterns by Mizuyo Yamashita
(image by Mizuyo Yamashita)