Category Archives: New work

New work

I guess everyone who makes things is looking for new ideas.   We certainly are always trying to push forwards with what we make. This is partly to keep the brains and creative impulse challenged, but, admittedly, partly due to both having a low boredom threshhold.

Sometimes it is something completely different. Often, it is using something that we do already, and taking off in a slightly new direction with it.

Richard has a serious ebay and car boot sale habit – which brings up interesting objects that need to be incorporated somehow………………….

steampunk chickens on antique garden sprayer and wood

After a clear out of the attic, I had a few interesting objects, too.

‘Hooter on a hooter’ Owl on antique brass car horn and wood

Tessa and Nigel’s Wedding

I had a delightful commission before Christmas. Close friends Tessa and Nigel got married in January 2018 and I was asked to make something for the table decorations. The colour scheme was white and navy.

Tessa and I put our heads together and came up with hearts impressed with lace that could be tied around the napkins with some blue ribbon.

Here’s one in the wedding photographs……

porcelain heart with lace imprint for wedding napkins. photography

Bucks Open Studios with Roger Longdin and Richard Ballantyne

Bucks Open Studios starts on June 10th and runs until June 25th. We’ll be opening the doors at beautiful Broomfield Farm, Rignall Road, Great Missenden, HP16 9PE at 10.30 on that Saturday.  Roger will be showing new and old favourites from his amazing landscape photography.  Richard and I will be bringing Raku animals with quirky character, thrown functional pottery, and sculpture.

We are open on June 10th,11th,16th,17th,18th from 10.30-5.30. It is the tenth year that Roger and I have taken part in Bucks Open Studios- seems hard to believe. So, it will be a bit of a celebration. We are thinking of taking a break next year, so possibly a farewell, too.

Near us in Rignall Road are Wendy Johnson and friends in Broomfield Hill and Fin Orrom Carr at Rignall Lodge.

We are looking forward to seeing you.

female figure on wood, approx 75cm


small porcelain bowls with glass, approx 6cm diameter.

Agate thrown porcelain bowls, various sizes.

Summer events

We have got to that busy time of year. Exhibitions  currently taking place are at the Odney Club in Cookham – Sculpture in the Garden. It is organised by Lucy Irvine of the Barn Galleries. See previous post for dates and times. We have several pieces on display around the garden. It is an amazing space with some gorgeous sculptures on display.

New figurative work. Stoneware clay, glazes, oxides and stains. Approx 50cm high.

The Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead is on this weekend- May 11-14.  See the Doorway Gallery stand at H2.  We are also massively excited to be heading to Dublin in August to exhibit at the Doorway Gallery. Heidi Wickham will be showing her paintings at the same time.

Bucks Open Studios is fast approaching. It starts on June 10th. We will be exhibiting at Roger’s lovely studio in Great Missenden. It is the 10th year that Roger and I have done Bucks Open Studios together and feels a bit of a landmark. I think we may be taking a break next year. We will be open on June 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th. Richard and I also have work at Obsidian Art and Claydon House. It is also a year since I stopped nursing to do the ceramics full time. It has been such an amazing year and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to follow a dream.

Agate ware bowls, porcelain and porcelain with cobalt oxide.

New year events

Here we are in February already. There are various projects on the go. It has been so cold, it takes a big effort to get out to the studio.

the view from the studio

the view from the studio

Events coming in the next couple of months.

February 16-22nd. Prince and Pilgrim pop up gallery  32, Seymour Place, Marylebone.

March 8th-12th  Affordable Art Fair, Battersea with Doorway Gallery.

March 18-19th. Art on the Hill, Brill

March 27-April 15th  Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamsted.

Figure in progress

This figure is part way through being made. I am thinking of adding a head or face………


We have been working hard to get things made for all the up coming events.

A strange commission. Dung beetle

A strange commission. This is a dung beetle with its dung ball. It was interesting to work out the construction.




A day of glazing and firing, glazing and firing. Crazy effort to keep up the work for our best selling galleries ready for -dare I say it- Christmas and Edinburgh Art Fair.

glazed work ready for the kiln.

glazed work ready for the kiln.

The brilliant sunny days have helped, although it is now back to thermals!!

kiln just opened at 1000 degrees

kiln just opened at 1000 degrees

Fired Ace pigs now into the sawdust bin. They will be covered in sawdust and left for 30 minutes.

Fired Ace pigs now into the sawdust bin. They will be covered in sawdust and left for 30 minutes.

Obvara Firing

Obvara Firing is an Eastern European technique. The bisque fired pots are fired  in a Raku kiln. As they are removed they are dipped in  mixture of flour, yeast, sugar and water and then plunged in to water to stop the changes. The longer the pot stays in the flour mixture, the darker the effect. It is a rapid process, so literally seconds in the mixture makes the changes.

Obvara technique

Obvara technique

The pots work well if they are burnished at the leatherhard stage. They also work well with texture on the outside as the colours of the technique really highlight the marks.

The recipe ( if you can call it that) is: 2.2 lb of flour/ 1-2 packets of yeast/ 1tbsp sugar/ 2.6 gallons of water. Mix together 2-3 days before use to allow to ferment.

Warning: it is quite smelly and if you are transporting the mixture put the pot in a plastic bag to protect the car! If you look up Baltic Raku or Obvara Raku on the internet you will find videos and other examples of the firing technique.

detail of obvara fired pot

detail of obvara fired pot

Bucks Open Studios 2016

Male figure. Crank clay with oxide and glaze. Approximately 65 cm high.

Male figure. Crank clay with oxide and glaze. Approximately 65 cm high.

Bucks Open Studios is rapidly approaching. We are opening on June 17th from 11am at Broomfield Farm, Rignall Road, Great Missenden, HP16 9PE. We are exhibiting with Roger Longdin who takes large format photographs and prints in both colour and monochrome in his home studio. Open Studios starts from this Saturday June 11th and there are over 300 entries in the directory.

At the same time as Open Studios, Richard and I are taking part in the Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead June 16-19th . The kiln is working very hard to keep up.

We love working with the Doorway Gallery and hope to be at the private view next Wednesday evening.

Chris took this photograph of one of the male figures I have made. It will go to one of the exhibitions. They are high fired so can be in the garden or house. Emerging from the greenery seems to be an effective way to display the garden sculpture.

Porcelain bowls

small porcelain bowl with red, black and blue glazes. Approximately 5-7 cm diameter.

small porcelain bowl with red, black and blue glazes. Approximately 5-7 cm diameter.

A collection of small porcelain bowls.

A collection of small porcelain bowls.

Put the flags out! I am now officially a full time ceramicist/potter. After 19 years nursing locally, of which, nearly 13 years with Bpas.

My leaving do was last night. I made some little porcelain bowls for the great team I have worked with.


I have been experimenting with a different way of glazing. They have just splashes and brushes of three different glazes and the rest of the clay is left unglazed. These have been fired to 1240 degrees celsius ( I may fire them higher next time).

I am making more now in different sizes as well as these little ones.

New mugs

These mugs are a commission.  The shape was described with hand gestures to suggest cradling a warm cup of tea.

Not much to go on, but I understood the concept. I then just made shapes on the wheel to fit my imaginings of what was wanted.

Black and white glaze was requested. I don’t use a glossy black, but I do use a  warm black/brown on my figurative sculptures and so decided to try that.

The client was really happy. That is a big relief and also a real pleasure to have got it right.

new mugs