Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Pottery Lessons for Beginners in 2017

We are Very Excited to be Launching our 2017
Pottery Taster Session
Full Day Pottery Lesson
Open Vouchers for 2017.
Each year we are amazed at just how popular these Vouchers are!
They make a great Christmas Present.

How many times have you heard someone say
" I'd love to have a go on the Potters Wheel"
Well now they can.
Our Two Voucher Options have remained at the same price
for the past 3 years, so they are excellent value as well.

We offer a Full Day Lesson which includes a Buffet style lunch
with Wine,
Tea & Coffee to start the morning, a short introduction to 
Slipware pottery including a throwing demonstration
by Potter Paul Jessop

Then you have your own wheel to learn upon

followed by Lunch

Then in the afternoon Paul will demonstrate again any points that you would like to see again
while you spend more time on the wheel
before stopping for afternoon Tea with Cake
followed by your final hour on the wheel,

at the end of the day you choose your best 5 pots that will be finished off
and fired and glazed by Marion
for you to collect around 4 -5 weeks later

Our pottery workshop is in the old stable barn
at Barrington Court the National Trust property in Somerset
post code TA19 0NQ

Or why not look at the two hour taster session option.

If You live a distance away then why not make a weekend of it
with accommodation available in the Village of Barrington Somerset
at the Local Pub the Barrington Boar.

Or in the next village you could try the excellent Duke of York Pub we Love them Both.

Monday, 10 October 2016

As Winter approaches we step up a gear!

At this time of Year our minds have been turning to Winter
and all that that entails.
The start of Winter is our busiest time of year.
We have been planning our production to make sure
we can make the most of this busy period.
I'm determined to have a fully stocked showroom.
full of wonderful pots for people to buy.
The National Trust have decided not to continue with the Mistletoe Fayre
this Year.
But instead they are incorporating an event in with the 
Workshop event we hold each year.
The other workshops will all be open late
but we always seem to be the last to close, one year we were pushing people 
out of the door at 9.30pm
only to join them in the pub for the rest of the evening. 

This Year will be the best event we have ever laid on!
We simplified our Leaflet but once again we have
kept well away from the standard local leaflet design.
We are what we are and not one of the pack!

as the nights draw in it's time to put away the garden furniture
for another Year.
But the good weather just keeps coming
so we are making the most with short darts to the coast!

Finding the balance between making orders and making my 
signature pieces has been easier this time.
as I have changed my approach to certain aspects of my working day.

It's a rare event to see the kiln empty at the moment
and I finally feel as though it's doing what I want it too!
( I probably shouldn't say that ).

The second batch of these mugs came out of the kiln yesterday
and one sold whilst still warm!
The same with these Soup Bowls
I still love the Pancheons especially when the sun catches them
whilst still in the kiln.

The Bread Pancheons make great presents for people who 
love to make their own bread.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

"Fall seven times stand up eight" - Japanese Proverb

This Year feels like it's been the hardest one of all
this is my eighth as a full time potter!

Retail sales seemed to have fallen off a cliff earlier this year
not just for us but for all of our friends in business as well.
It's at times like these that you have to re asses what is going on around you.

We decided we needed to play to our strengths and concentrate
on what we do best.

the run up to the Earth and Fire show at Rufford Abbey showed us all of the signs
that we should have pulled out, The small kiln failed
so I replaced the elements, it failed again,
Then the big kiln went bang mid firing, 
I called the electrician, only to find he had died suddenly four 
months earlier, I called our kiln engineer, only to find
he has cancer and is only working two days a week
but he dropped everything and came and fixed it.
so we carried on.
We worked until late in the night and I was up at 5am the next day sorting the big kiln out.
"The view at the workshop was stunning at 5am"

We then set off at 4.30am the next day to make it to the show on time.
on the way up the radio said the country had voted
out of Europe
we couldn't believe it how ridiculous!

we took some new pots
all with a bit more decoration than usual. 

I was very happy with the pots we took, some of my best yet.

But we had the worst show we had ever had, 
and we were both Totally Exhausted.
So Luckily the show was quickly followed by a weeks holiday in Spain.
What did we do in Spain?
Absolutely Nothing!
we didn't even talk about the pottery for the first 4 day's
what we needed was time out. 

Then we focused on the pottery and how we were going to
make things happen but still find time for a life outside of it.
Here is a good time to introduce Steve
Steve worked for Johnny Leach for a couple of years
some time ago.

and he comes in to help us out with our National Trust orders
he only comes in a few hours a week
but it takes some of the pressure off my shoulders.
We also have two people Les and Anne who will look after the showroom
for us when we are not in the workshop.
Turned out the first event we were invited to that we decided we would go to
Les and Ann had also been invited
I think you can put that one down to
"sods law"
But it gave us a chance to make that work life balance
and we loved it.

So we think we are now starting to find the right balance
between working hard but not letting life slip us by in the process.

above is what 300 Devon jugs look like all packed up
waiting for collection.
and the link below shows them now available
on the National Trust web site.

This was my favorite picture of a kiln just been unloaded
ready to be glazed and re loaded.

Here is the latest delivery of clay another tonne always feels good.

and we still find time to enjoy our life.
The moral of the story is
"just keep getting back up."

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Inspiring the next generation at Barrington Pottery.

Each Year for the past Five Years
Marion has been running 
"Play with Clay"
during the summer holidays,
a chance for children and parents to get their hands
on and explore the joys of clay.
She has just finished for this year.

It takes a lot of planning and preparation, not least as we are 
a full production pottery that uses Red Earthenware clay, and we continue
with full production whilst Marion runs the sessions
in the school room attached to the main workshop & showroom.
This year we have used over half a tonne of grey air drying clay
in only a period of five weeks for 4 days per week.
We chose to use the grey for a number of reasons, first of all it is easier for the kids to paint
their creations once they have dried, secondly it washes of the cloths without staining.
Although it costs slightly more it does mean we are sure none gets mixed
in with our red clay used for the production of pots. 

 Marion provides a board to work on, rolling pins, shape cutters, 
pencils, small pots of water, brushes and a plastic apron,
and if stuck for ideas a few printed sheets of ideas and creations of her own. 
The children love it with many of them returning a number of times over the weeks.
This year the kids have been especially creative and the atmosphere in the room
has been great on a daily basis.
While all of this is going on

 I'm still making pots in the main barn,
 I love the sound of the hustle and bustle and watching the kids faces
as they proudly come to show me what they have made.

 Marion say's that for her one of the nicest things is watching the adults and kids
interacting with each other, bouncing ideas of each other
and getting really creative is a joy to watch.

 Pencil holders have proved to be a big hit this year.

 along with Dinosaurs! 

 Allowing the kids to make what ever they want allows for their creative mind
to take flight, and that is what we like.
 It's a nice way to introduce the kids to the craft world
as well has having a go themselves they can also see
a professional potter at work in his own environment. 
They each get to take their creations home on the day
to finish off or paint at a later date.
This Year Marion had over 700 kids being creative
and that meant dealing with parents and grandparents.
That averaged out at 33 Children per day.

 Marion does all of this on her own for the five weeks
I personally think that takes one very special person.

She deserves a medal or some kind of recognition from the Crafts Council
to put so much effort into making sure kids have a great time exploring
the joys of clay.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Barrington Pottery - Cadbury 2005 - 2016

First of all I have to tell you that we have lost Cadbury our beloved Chocolate Labrador.
He was coming up to 11 years of age and his heart was playing up
in the end we had to make what we felt was the best decision for him but not us!
We had had him from a 9 week old Puppy and he was just a fantastic dog.
So I just wanted to thank him for enriching our lives in so many ways
for the past 11 years.
Here are a selection of my favorite pictures of him over the years.

 RIP Cadbury you old bugger
you are sorely missed.