‘Tis but a bell-jar

crock 1crock 2 With thanks to Bath Potters: I’d run out of blue glaze and the clock was ticking on the order – my glaze powder arrived the next day. Excellent service as always, and probably the best stoneware glazes on the planet.

In use, the LH jar contains a little cool water, the RH jar is filled with butter. RH jar upside down in LH jar for cool storage, RH jar as shown for serving. Cool eh?

A Butter Carrillon

butter crocks -1I hadn’t heard of butter bell crocks ( I lead a quiet life) until Jean asked me to make one for her. The throwing is slightly technical (they will fit, it’s just the lens that makes them look too big).

Sharp readers will have noticed the change of blog name. The paddling posts will be moved to their own site in due course.

We Have the Technology

P1000456
Breakfast stop on the Chichester Canal

When Oscar Goldman murmurred these words prior to reconstructing Steve Austin he certainly wasn’t about to go for a paddle. But I was, and in searching for a title afterwards I first considered ‘As I Went Out One Morning’ (Bob Dylan), ‘Quite Early One Morning’ (Dylan Thomas), or or ‘As I Went Out One Mid-Summer Morning’ (Laurie Lee). Dylan won the Tom Paine Award for the song, which references Tom Paine, and Tom Paine had a strong link with Chichester, so it all goes round and round.

I wanted to post a video here, but it would cost me 60$ a year for the facility, so double click the following link to see the footage on YouTube:

As I Paddled Out One Mid-Summer Morning

The video is crudely edited – I’m still low on the learning curve – but things can only get better, as we once believed before TB cosied up to GWB.

Postscript: The video originally had  Dylan’s song, from the John Wesley Harding album, as a soundtrack. Due to understandable copyright restrictions, it was  blocked by YouTube. I have replaced it with a free-to-play track by Lunasa, but which carries a payload of adverts. Sorry!

Gnu Gnu

001 StrongbackThe new canoe is in the making, and one of my worst (?best) puns may yet become its name. The photo shows the strongback in the making, and on which the canoe proper will be built. The plans were bought from Bear Mountain Boats in Canada, and the Western Red Cedar for the planking will come from Canada too, via a timber yard in Southampton. The design is old-school ‘Prospector’, proven and pleasing.The construction is modern: strip-planking soaked in epoxy and protected with glassfibre mat. It won’t be a quick build.

Heraclitus – Patron Saint of Canoeists

258 L. Eishort, Cuillins from kayakThe Black Cuillin from Loch Eishort

The pottery, and therefore the blog, have been dormant for a year. I miss them both, but just now I’m paddling much more than potting. Of course, if you want to take your cue from the Moody Blues’ second hit single, I won’t be offended. For my part, I’m with Heraclitus, and further, browsing a new translation, I see that he actually wrote “You cannot paddle in the same river twice”. He was also a bit of a riddler…..

Flamingos, not pots, in the Desert

716HkvZ6CxL._SL1360_As all is largely quiet in the mud-shed, I thought I’d do a post about my good friend Kevin Borman’s latest book. I had the honour of helping with the proof-reading, and there is also a ceramic connection as I supplied a little information about bentonite for the book. On one level ‘Flamingos in the Desert’ is a guide book to the Almeria region of southern Spain, where Kevin lives with his partner Troy. On another, it is a wide ranging and quirky account of his exploration of the area: sleeping under the stars on mountain tops, multi-day hikes along the coast and along rivers, bird-watching, poking about in ruins,  tracing abandoned railways, water-mills and watchtowers, researching Moorish history, gardening in a semi-desert, spaghetti Westerns, goat-herding, pigeon-keeping, geology & geography – and much more, too much to list. It’s another well-crafted book by a knowledgeable and inquisitive writer. If you are still interested, Google it. Other Search Engines are of course available.

Procrastinatorium

rocket stoveSome days there are so many reasons for not getting stuck in that I despair of ever making another pot. This time I am excused. My old wood-burning stove has gone, replaced by this seemingly mundane slap-up of old bricks. Lurking behind the haphazard facade is my version of a rocket stove, no less, and it works a treat. The flue goes up 3′, back down to the floor, then up again, before joining the main stack. The mass of bricks warms up and becomes a radiator. Surprisingly it burns less wood, heat for heat, than the old stove. I’m still not making any pots though – it’s just too cosy sitting in front of this beast.