Magpie {43}

Small glazed beaker, wheel thrown rough red stoneware, by Eric Landon, Tortus Copenhagen

This is the last of the three pieces I bought whist on my trip to Denmark in November. Eric Landon was my teacher during a workshop at his studio in Copenhagen. He is normally associated with tall, vase-like forms but he also occasionally makes domestic pieces. It is difficult to take a photograph that does the glazing justice.

Associated posts:
Magpie {42}
Magpie {41}
Good return #2
Good return




I’ve been looking forward to progressing my work and in the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to sneak in a few experiments. It’s been a wonderful combination – the methodical repetition of making established pieces interspersed with the odd opportunity to tinker.

Various threads keep coming back to me… things I have noticed; colours that spark; ideas that have been fermenting in the back of my mind. I’ve already mentioned the desire to expand my palette to allow for different seas – blues, greens and greys. There’s also my fascination with the flashes of colour that you find on the beach – the acid colours of lichens and seaweeds – yellow, green and orange.


Then there is reflection: light on waves, the shine of quartz, water on sand, the gleam of shell. I’ve been trying to think of ways to combine all these strands and these are the first results.


I’m looking forward to experimenting further.

Happy glaze

Sea dapple large dish (approx 28cm dia)

A few posts back I mentioned… ‘I’m just looking forward to the day when I open my new kiln and I’m delighted with everything. Does that ever happen?’

Well, I opened up Bertha after her maiden glaze firing and I’m really, officially delighted. OK not everything is quite right, and there are still some issues to be sorted to do with the clay colour, but I’m so relieved. I feel like I’ve made a massive step towards being able to sell things. Just a little bit more road testing, clay research and throwing practice…

Roll on the New Year.

Magpie {24}

Stoneware mug by David Worsley, The Dove Street Pottery

I mentioned in my previous post that I had visited Handmade in Britain when I was in London last weekend. It’s held in the glorious Chelsea Old Town Hall which I haven’t visited for fifteen years at least. Many moons ago they used to hold the Crafts Council’s Chelsea Crafts Fair there, before it metamorphosed into Origin at Somerset House. I spent a wonderful child-free morning wandering the aisles, pootling about and taking in the beautiful pieces on show, however one of my main reasons for going was to meet David Worsley (The Hopeful Potter). I found his blog very soon after starting out on this venture, and I found it a fascinating and inspiring read. David has been extremely generous with his time and advice so it was a treat to meet him face to face, and finally buy one of his beautiful pots.

Magpie {23}

Salt glazed stoneware cup with porcelain details, by Alistair Young

This is an exception to the rule in my Magpie series as I do not own this cup… but do I covet it (which after all is just as magpie-like). It belongs to a friend of ours and I see it every time we go and stay in her lovely cottage in Wester Ross. Essentially this beautiful glossy sheen is achieved by throwing salt into a kiln during the hottest part of the firing process. Salt glazing is a traditional technique that dates back to the 15th Century, first used to make domestic pottery durable and easy to clean.

Magpie {19}

DEVONMUGjulietmacleod2013 DEVONJUGjulietmacleod2013
Woodfired stoneware mug and jug, with tenmoku glaze; by David Gundry

We were given two of these mugs and the matching jug as a wedding present by some kind Devon friends. I’ve discovered this week that they were made by David Gundry, a retired GP who lives on the edge of Dartmoor. The mug shape is really comfortable in the hand, and the glaze is one of those whose beauty increases the more you look at it. I’ve been thinking about kilns more than a little this week and David’s is something else (take a look at these three videos #1, #2 and #3). If anyone out there would ever like some help with a wood firing, please let me know. I’d love to witness the process first hand.


Magpie {16}

Earthenware fish jug by Dartmouth Pottery

All through my childhood there was one of these jugs on the kitchen table at mealtimes. My parents had two of them, one green and one white. So when I saw this one for sale at a car boot sale in Devon, I couldn’t resist it. For the uninitiated, the thing that makes it special is that when you pour water from the fish’s mouth the jug makes a very satisfying gurgling sound… very entertaining when you are little.