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.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Barrington Pottery New Products and Showroom revamp.

Things have been so busy at the pottery
over the past few months that somethings had to give
and I'm afraid the Blog fell by the wayside.
But the pressure of a big order has now gone away
with over 1,000 pots collected from the workshop.
So I've now got back into making stock for the showroom
and I have time to bring you up to date with the goings on.

I have been Making some new design serving dishes
These dishes are about 7" wide

Far more colour and pattern than my usual work. 
I found it hard to do so much design work 
So just to please me I slipped in a number of plainer one's. 
The idea behind these dishes is that they are made to mix and match
as serving dishes.

This was a mock up of our stall at  Earth & Fire at Rufford Abbey.

This platter is 15" wide and has a nice rustic look.

This large Lidded jar has now sold.


These New lidded jars are a treat to make and I love the
simplicity that slipware affords.

These Jugs are one of my favorites to make.

We have been making a large order for the National Trust
here are some of the 300 Devon Jugs in production. 

Our Showroom revamp has proved a great success 
this Giant A Frame was found in a skip
and I transformed it into a display area for my Signed pieces.

 We have kept the Country feel that I love. 
 It works well to set the work apart from our standard wares.
We have been working some long hours to get our orders
out on time, this picture of the sun rise at the workshop
was taken at around 5am. 
 This picture of the jugs before being loaded into
the kiln gives an idea of the scale of order we have been working on.
 and you might recognize this chap?
it's Tom from the pottery throw down.
he has made all of the pie dishes that are in the
 showroom at the moment.
I've just started making more stock for the showroom
and we have some exciting plans for 2017.
so keep logged in for the next few months to see whats happening.