Sunday, 1 September 2013


Hello Potters and Friends,

Over the past couple of weeks I've gone from this......

The beautiful isle of Jersey, off the French coast.
To this.......

My chaotic workshop – but ready for action!!

And as the title of this post says, it's handles that has dominated the workshop all last week, so I thought I'd show you how I tackle them.

Having rolled out your fresh clay, resist touching it for at least an hour, maybe even longer. When the clay is soft it will never form a good handle.  It's hard to hold back from getting on with it when you've got your cups sitting there, but waiting for the clay to stiffen up is the whole secret of success.

Score marks on your cup or jug where you want your handle to join.

Dab on some wet slurry from your slop bucket.

Press on your handle and cut off the excess. My handle had been shaped by pressing and running my finger along the length of the roll to form the middle dip.  But I did this after the clay had stiffened. If  you do it when the clay is freshly rolled, it will be lumpy, bumpy and bendy and you'll have to start all over again. 

I sometimes use a tool to create a decoration. This adds an extra press to the join to ensure good adhesion. 

Two of the 'Fine and Dandy' collection.

Of course, that isn't the only method.

 Next week I'll be 'pulling' some handles for some large mugs. But that's another story!

But now, to go from this pure white porcelain to the opposite end of the spectrum. Not to mention the opposite end of the workshop, because I have bought some black clay. It's incredibly messy and stains everything, including me.

It doesn't look too bad in the picture but, if you try some do be careful where you roll it and wash all tools thoroughly.  

During the handle-making last week I was desperate to make a couple of different things just for fun.

Of all things, a business card holder and a holder for the kitchen sponge! You can see how much I enjoyed this by how much decoration I lavished on them. Picking out glazes might take some time too.

But, hopefully, all this work will be in the kiln this week and as our English summer continues I will be out in the garden watering like mad. 


I've grown two new plants from seed this year that have thrived in our unusual and unexpected heat.

Black Basil.
Very large leaves and very aromatic.

Vietnamese Basil.
Big clusters of purple flowers amongst bushy green leaves that taste of aniseed.  Brilliant in salads.

Very small Chinese lantern plant but held high by a stately earthenware eye protector on a stick. 

And finally, good use made of our bird-table that was deserted for the free lunch that we call our mixed borders and veg patch.