Latest out of the kiln

The following images are not actually the latest out of the kiln. The stoneware firing (cone 6) I did last week was the last thing out the kiln, for me, they were a disaster.  So much so that it makes me question why I do this pottery/ceramic thing. I am slowly getting past it and realise that I was trying too many new glazes on really well made work, not taking notice of the firing temperatures and the soak times, making them unsaleable and ugly. A stupid thing to do. I ought to know better.

One positive is that I think I made a grey glaze that I can live with. Using an adjusted recipe from ‘The Glaze Book’ by Stephen Murfitt:

  • Potash Feldspar         45
  • Dolomite                     22
  • Quartz                          16
  • Zirconium Silicate    11
  • China Clay                   6
  • Cobalt Carbonate       0.5
  • Nickel Oxide                2

Also bought Linda Bloomfields  ‘The Handbook of Glaze recipes’ . There are grey glaze recipes in there I am yet to try.

Some earthenware pieces that are out on display in  The Summerhouse The Corn Exchange Leeds. What do you think? (I don’t know why I ask.)

SAZi images March 2017 044


Building up stock

I am rubbish with this blogging thing. Just need accept that it is not part of my routine or habit.

I have been pretty busy in the studio making, making, making.  My stock, diminished to some rejected pots sitting idly, taunting me on the shelf, needs replenishing. I set off with great feats in mind. The cold and the damp stopped me in my tracks because nothing wants to dry in the winter and the studio is like the antarctic. Currently drying time is 9-10 days! Normally 2-3 days on non winter day. That’s a potters life.

Just realised that I have already written about drying pots and plates. How dull. Well they are still drying….. -_-


Bisqued and drying pots. Feb 2017.

Series Two – Great Pottery Throw Down

Did anyone see Episode 1 of the new series of The Great Pottery Throw Down shown on BBC 2 2nd Feb 2017? I did. Really enjoyed it but I know that there was so much more going on that was edited out. Meaning that the experience of my time as a contestant in series one taught me lots about TV and editing.

I enjoyed watching it and felt for the contestants. To make a 16 piece dinner set in 4.5hrs for the first task was a big ask. See an extract on the link.

Brought back happy and anxious memories.

I wondered about the judges choosing to kick out Carole over James. James’s throwing skills were dire whereas Carole’s were far superior. James had a huge hole in his plate! The favourites have already been identified. My guess as to who will get through to the semi finals are Clover, Elaine, Ryan, Freya or perhaps Richard. Some of my friends from the first show already know! I don’t want to know.

I started to make a dinner set last week Monday but the winter damp and the cold means that nothing will dry in a hurry. Will take about a month to finish. I am determined and I will finish it. Also added side plates, bowls, cups and saucers.  Using red earthenware with slip decoration. Will colour with underglaze and a transparent glaze. It is not what I had originally planned  but it is better than doing nothing. I will stick to my original plan in the next dinner set. Off to go and trim then start on the next thing.


Great Pottery Thrown Down – The Book

Looking through my Twitter feed I see there is a book; The Great Pottery Throw Down. Written by Elizabeth Wilhide and Susie Hodge. Pavillion Books

It will be released on 12th January 2017 in Hard back for £20! Is it bad that I will only buy it if I am in it someplace? I have possibly over 100 books on pottery/ceramics/art. Would this book enhance my practice? I don’t think it would. Do I think I should get a free complimentary copy? Yes I do.

I along with 9 other contestants helped a great deal in launching studio pottery as a renewed interest in the UK and it seems the world as the show has been shown in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. I am glad. I guess I wish that I could benefit more personally.  I did the show to promote my practice and to be a recognised part of the potters/ceramic/art world. That has been achieved a little but not as much as I would have hoped. I learnt  about television and editing. It is not something I would do again in the same way. I just have to keep on keeping on.

New work coming up this year. I am determined to spend quality time in my studio making and practicing.  Check in regularly to see the progress.




25th December 2016

Regular blogging is clearly not a thing I excel in but I’m sticking at it.

This is me procrastinating. Avoiding tidying the house for the guests who I am going to cook for later today. I will get a move on when I am done with this. Was going through my Pinterest, I haven’t engaged with it for ages. I have an inspiring collection of boards and saves. Pinterest is great for that.

I love this:

Cylinder vessels by Swedish ceramic artist Karin Bengtson. via pink pagoda studio:

Karin Bengston – Sweden. From my Board Ceramics – Function over form.

And these from the same board:

Stunning handmade pottery by Mt. Washington!:                                   ポンズボウル - 器と暮らしの道具 OLIOLI:

Beth Katz – Mt Washington Pottery USA (?)             Unkown maker. Chinese or Japanese?

Some of my favorites from my board ‘Ceramics – Form over Function’

Ute Grossmann |:                               Ken MIHARA, Japan

Ute Grosseman – Sweden                                         Ken Miharra – Japan

Petra Bittl:

Petra Bittl

Who am I kidding? I don’t have a favourite. I just love them all.

These artists and makers inspire me to be better at what I do. I have learned that nothing is original but I can make and stamp my own style that can be recognised. Originality is in the interpretation. Bring on 2017.



A successful day!


The hard work paid off. Open Studio at SAZi was a success financially and socially  I would say. People came and bought. I even sold a pottery workshop voucher and got a commission for a vase. Thank you everyone.

Food went down a treat. Always a useful lure to get people to come to an out of their way location in the cold. I bought some delicious vegan chocolate truffles from Abundance Foods (Leeds) to add to the banquet. They were gobbled up real quick.  I ate the raw food cheese cake I bought for the event. Wasn’t sharing that! It was only small. (that’s my excuse)

As I knew I would have visitors ( I estimate about 40 – 45 came through in total) I took the opportunity to get some feedback about the work on display. 15 feedback forms were filled out. Everyone said they liked what they saw. 7 people had not been to my open studio before. So I reached new audiences. I asked what items people would have liked to have seen in the studio. Answers included: African inspired; Japanese style and demonstrations; buttons; tableware; coasters; big cups; beads; earrings and more colour.


The dilemma of the artist studio potter-  is it better to meet the wants of the general public in order to sell and make a living or do you make and create what you want to satisfy your soul? I think there can be a compromise and  you as the artist studio potter can create a demand for your own work. I have at one time or another made all those things listed above. The list gives me a picture of how people view my work. Will I change it? Not really. The only thing I will do and I am doing anyway is experimenting with more colourful glazes which is testing my resolve I can tell you.




OPEN STUDIO – 3rd December 2016


Open Studios……. a way of showing off your talents, selling and clearing stock, engaging in conversation with visitors, getting your brand out in the world.

I do like having open studios. I can relax more and indulge my self. It is also an opportunity to clean, organise and tidy my studio before the public see it. I am an untidy maker…no apologies, it is what it is. Tidy is good though.

I hope to make some funds and to get commissions, workshop bookings and raise interest in what I do. Lots of delayed gratification in an open studio I think.

One set back for me is that 6 weeks ago I broke my wrist just at the point where I was starting to increase my end of year production. So in a nut shell I have not got any of the top selling more interesting pieces available this year.

I will go ahead anyway. I have advertised it on line all over the place and will do a final round of advertising on line this week. Looking forward to a tidy and clean studio and to begin next year with some new ideas and plans that should set my studio in a more prosperous direction.

Here’s looking at you kid.





Meet the Maker – 19th November


Had an interesting time on the 19th November for ‘Meet the Maker‘ at The Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery (LCCDG). A few people came to see me and and look at the work. It was good experience. Especially the bottle of wine given to me as a thank you from the LCCDG!

It was encouraging to see people come to support the event. A farmer came in especially to see me and talk about the Great Pottery Throw Down, which he and his wife enjoyed. He had a lot to say to me and was surprised that there wasn’t a crowd around me wanting to buy my work and to talk about the show.

He raised some interesting questions. He expected more from me as a potter. Why wasn’t I on TV? Where was my agent? Where were the all the people? Why are you not in demand? Why are you not shouting about your greatness from the hill tops?

These questions are very relevant. My decision to appear on the Great Pottery Throw Down was not taken lightly. I wanted to promote my visibility as a potter and as a Visual Artist and Maker. I wanted to boost my sales and increase my income and develop my brand (what ever that is). I think I have done that to some degree but it has not been to the degree I would have wished. I don’t know what I could have done, that I haven’t done already, to make myself or my work a sought after commodity.

I am on the main social networks such as Facebook  and Twitter and Instagram. The followers are not huge in numbers but I have some visibility. I post regularly, I like and comment and share follower posts. I don’t know what else to do. It makes me question whether the work I have chosen to do is the right choice or maybe I just haven’t been at the right place at the right time yet.

I make good quality well designed pieces that are  always evolving. I am constantly testing and experimenting with glazes, clays and surface designs. Currently trying to make grey glaze, nightmare.

One thing I have learnt is that when it comes to social media, popularity isn’t always about skill and talent. How one looks plays an enormous part and whether what you have to say sits well with the popular culture even if it is a load of rubbish. (At this point I could go into a discussion about age, gender, ethnicity and beauty standards but I will save that for some other time)

I will carry on making and marketing my products the best way I can and hope I can build a following that likes and supports what I say and do.

I can always go for the last option and show a nipple or two. That seems to get peoples attention. 🙂



Trump has been elected President of the USA!!

The re introduction to my blog post is at a time when Donald Trump, millionaire TV reality star, weird hair, has been elected President of the United States of America. This, for many of us, was not good news. This blog entry isn’t about him. The shock of it is still with me so wanted to express it.

It has been a year since the first series of The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC 2 was shown. It was a great experience and I hope those that watched were inspired. Met some lovely people who I am friends with still and I reckon we will remain so for many years.

I will be at the Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery on the 19th November at a  Meet The Maker event discussing my work and experience on the programme if anyone is interested. 1.30pm – 3pm.

Series 2 of the Great Pottery Throw Down will be on in February 2017. Totally looking forward to that.

See the Gallery  page of some of the work on display at the Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery.

Also check out The Velvet Easel in Portobello, Edinburgh to see some of my work on show.