Spark: twenty seven

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Pauline Prior-Pitt, abstract seascape, acrylic, 2013

I’ve mentioned previously that we visit North Uist each year for a family holiday. We nearly always miss the open studios, and sadly we did again this year. Luckily I bought this small painting a few years ago when Pauline was taking part in a local exhibition. She is most well know for her poetry, but I feel that her paintings capture everything that I love about the breathtaking beaches and ever changing weather that belong to the island.



I spent last weekend at Potfest in the Pens. This was my second time at this wonderful show and marked the end of my first year of trading. It was a real pleasure to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. It’s been a great year with some real highlights…

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I’m slowly increasing the number of fairs I do. The year has seen two Potfests (Scotland and Pens) and my first NEOS (North East Open Studios). I’ll be taking part in NEOS again this autumn and hopefully some local events nearer Christmas.

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I’m delighted to have received some direct sales and gallery orders throughout the year, and I’m becoming good friends with our local postmaster! I’m looking forward to increasing my production levels once my youngest heads to school later this month.


At the beginning of June I discovered that I’d been awarded a Made In Aberdeen artists’ bursary. This brilliant award will help me get some much needed tuition, and apply for a London show next year.

Over the last six months I have been testing some new colours and shapes. The feedback so far has been really positive and having the chance to experiment has been very enjoyable.

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We are just back from our annual fortnight in the Western Isles. My husband’s family come from North Uist and it is a treat to visit this breathtakingly beautiful place. We had mixed weather this year but we still had time for beaching, fishing, rock pooling, sketching, walking, camping and the highland games.

Thanks to the Made in Aberdeen bursary I will be visiting Tortus Copenhagen for a week’s workshop this November. I am beyond excited. Eric Landon is a master potter with over 25 years experience. He is renowned for throwing large and tall pieces – something that I need help with.

And finally there is a new addition…
Mij the Border Terrier puppy now keeps me company in the studio.


Giveaway #2

Wow what a fantastic response to the giveaway.

My littlest helper and I put all the names in the bowl…


She drew one out this morning…


And the winner is…


…Roberta Hopkins Jewellery (who entered via my Facebook page). Could you please message me with your address details and the bowl will be on its way to you.

Thank you to everyone for taking part, and for supporting my blog. It is much appreciated.


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Sorry for the lack of posts recently… I don’t know where the time has gone… and now suddenly we’re in Autumn. This summer has been great with a few milestones passed during it. I’ve sold my first pots, done my first show, first open studios and now I’m fulfilling my first orders. Also I’ve been writing this blog for a year and a half. I’d like to give away this bowl to mark all of these, and to thank you all for your support and kind advice.

Please leave a comment below, or like and perhaps share the equivalent post from my Facebook page (whichever one is easiest for you). The giveaway will close on 12 November and I’ll be drawing the winner out of a pot shortly after.

Magpie {32}

Thrown porcelain dish with volcanic glaze and inscribed text, by Carys Davies

This beautiful sample arrived in yesterday’s post.

I’ve been following Carys’ blog for some time and particularly admire her ‘on the horizon’ pots… beautiful combinations of smooth and rough glazes, meeting and merging along a horizon line and often accompanied with words from the Shipping Forecast. I was interested to read that she is progressing some new work inspired by thorn trees in grassland, but has been having a few glaze issues with some pieces sticking to the kiln shelves. I left a comment and because of that she sent me one of the ‘faulty’ pots. It may not be perfect, but it’s still truly beautiful. Lucky me!


I’ve been trying to finish my logo for months, but at last here it is. As a graphic designer I think I’m probably my most difficult client and I’ve been tinkering with it for ages. I wanted something that is simple, but expresses the organic nature of what I do.



Now I’ve just got to get business cards done for Potfest in the Pens
and photography…
price lists…
more throwing…



A fortnight ago I was lucky enough to spend the weekend on Speyside. We were spoiled with spectacular weather and I managed to squeeze in something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time… To pay a visit to Thomas Gough at the Speyside Pottery. Thomas has very kindly agreed to let me witness one of his wood firings. So far I’ve been unable to take him up on it, but it was a treat to finally meet him in person after a few months of exchanged emails.

Once a Chemistry teacher, Thomas was taught pottery in Argyll, by Joe Finch. It was fascinating to be shown round his gallery, studio and kiln room; and to learn about his process. Thomas single fires his pots, a process believed to give a greater depth to glazes, but often it carries more risk. It is amazing how in spending a relatively short time with another potter you can learn so much. From simple tips to do with wiring off thrown pieces from the bat, to ideas on clay storage (an old freezer), and mixing (an ancient industrial dough mixer) – just brilliant. Things that could take a lifetime to work out, but take seconds to pass on.

I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by different potters’ studios and workshops, maybe because I am dreaming of working in my new one soon.

Thomas Gough’s studio

Ludie Rie’s studio (photo: Wikimedia Commons, by Andreas Praefcke)

The Leach Pottery (photo: Wikimedia Commons, by Jordanhill School D&T Dept)