Gerry Grant

Gerry Grant
On The Wheel

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Looking forward to Potfest....

This year the Potfests will be  - Potfest in the Park - 4th, 5th, 6th September
                                                             Potfest in Scotland - 25th, 26th, 27th September
                                                             Potfest in the Pens - October 30th, 31st and Nov 1st

Every year Gerry enters the Potfest competition. Sometimes he has been successful and won a prize voted for by some international potters.  (Bird bath) (planted form)


This year the title is "recycle, re-use , re-purpose". Gerry has done a lot of recycling and re-  using over the last 43 years being a potter, so he is putting together some of the pieces that he has made in that time, and is reforming them into some sort of a vessel. (Or that is what he hopes will happen).


Sunday, 2 August 2020

More about Norfolk!!!

If anyone likes the work of the sculptor Anish Kapoor, he has an exhbition of his work at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. It was the main reason we went there for a few days.
Houghton Hall is just  18 miles south East of Kings Lynn and was the home of Robert Walpole - prime Minister.  Two rooms are open in the house with Anish Kapoors coloured mirrors in them - beatuifully refecting the architectural features of the room. The rest of his sculptures are outdoors.
This is called  Sky Mirror, which reflects the sky, but in such a clever way that sometimes it looks like a hologram and other times like a solid sphere.

What we didn't know about Houghton Hall is that it is also a sculpture Park displaying examples of sculpture all the year round - Rachel Whiteread, Henry Moore, James Turrell, and others. So there is plenty to see. We were there at 11 for it's opening and didn't leave till after 4.
If anyone reading this wants to go then booking in advance - at least two weeks is essential.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Catching up...

It's been a few days since I put something on my blog, and that's because Gerry and I have been away in Norfolk. We were staying at a place called Stanhoe, just a few miles inland of the North Norfolk coast near Brancaster - 15 miles from Kings Lynn.
I have never been to Norfolk before and loved it. The landscape around the coast is stunning - marshes, estuaries, creeks, cliffs and sand.
We are members of the RSPB and spent a couple of days wandering around the salt marshes watching the birds - avocets, knots or dunlins - couldn't tell the difference, godwits, and all manner of ducks and geese. It was lovely to see them taking off en masse on the high tide. We were told by an expert that there were about 50,000 birds on the shoreline and they made stunning displays when they decided to move - but apparantly you have to go when there is a fast incoming high tide when up to 150,000 take off together. That must be really good!!!

All those black dots are birds..



Sunday, 26 July 2020

Lots of soap dishes

At last a big order! Gerry has been commissioned to make 100 shaving soap dishes for the Cosy Cottage Soap Company. Here he is making a start.  They need to be ready for the end of August so  he plans to make about 30 a day until he's got enough.



Someone has also asked him if he can make some little garlic crusher dishes. We have seen them before when on holiday in France - they are very brightly coloured and made of earthenware which broke quite easily. Ours would be tougher, but then probably more expensive.

 These are a few of his experiments - using a cog.... I hope to show how this is done on a later blog.

Friday, 24 July 2020

44 years ago we bought the old school, got married and started a pottery.....

Today is our wedding anniversary. We got married in 1976 -  44 years ago. When we were first married, I worked for York Archaeolgoical Trust on a site in Clementhorpe in York - a nunnery, and then a bit on Coppergate where they discovered Viking Age York.  . Gerry spent a few months getting the buildings sorted out - an old school, and converting it into the pottery which was finally opened in 1977.
These photos show the school when we first bought it.


This photo is the first craft fair we ever did - It was at a small village called Warter and they asked Gerry if he could take his wheel along. Look how clean it is!!!! - brand new...




Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Lockdown has given us time for developing new ideas......

At this time of year we are normally really busy getting orders out for the likes of Iona Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Jorvik Viking Centre and shops and galleries in tourist areas. This year everything has come to a standstill and without tourists we will not be selling our pots....

But there is a bright side to everything and this blog is all about the reasons to be cheerful.

Two new things we've been making - small shaving-soap dishes for the Cosy Cottage Soap company and some reed diffusers with their little pots designed to hold about 100ml of perfumed oil.



The Cosy Cottage Soap company is based in Malton  (11b Market Street) and makes lovely scented soaps. They sell online too.

Our little oil diffusers come with the little pot and 5 flowers. The flowers are made of low fired porcelain which is porous, so it allows the oil to soak up the reed into the petals. They smell lovely and make a more decorative feature rather than the reeds alone......

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Blackberries in a dimple bowl

Today we picked the first of our crop of blackberries - again all netted to keep the birds out. They're not as flavoursome as wild blackberries but nice all the same.
Here they are in one of our white dimpled bowls.
We've been to Malton today to see the owner of the Cosy Cottage soap company who wants us to make some little shaving soap bowls.
And we had a nice walk around Castle Howard estate on public footpaths. However, it strikes me that the owners are making it difficult for walkers - there were very few finger posts or direction arrows - perhaps they want them to go into the grounds and pay......

Monday, 20 July 2020

Feeling pleased with myself...

Two weeks ago I made myself some ramekin dishes. It was my first attempt at "repeat throwing" - making something over and over again to the same size.
Today they came out of the kiln and I was able to match up six that were almost the same. I am feeling rather pleased with myself!


Sunday, 19 July 2020

A bowl or two of cherries?

This is one of the bowls we make in the pottery. Gerry has thrown the shape of the bowl and I have cut out the design around the rim. It looks lovely with some cherries in!

We harevested all our cherries today - we only have one tree - but had a good crop due to the fact that we had netted the whole tree about two weeks ago to prevent the blackbirds and pigeons getting in.
We left a lot of cherries on the tree for the birds - it might divert them from our blackberries which are ripening now...

We gave some away, froze some and then made this delicious cherry and cholcolate sundae for tea!



Saturday, 18 July 2020

A coastal walk.

Yesterday we left the car at Bridlington and walked along the coastal path to Flamborough's North Landing, then caught the bus back.

We are so lucky to be fairly near the Yorkshire coast, the  moors and the dales - all within a day's outing.


It was a fabulous walk with lots to see - from Pleistocene wave cut platforms and chalk arches and stacks to wildflowers and sea birds. There were plenty of kittiwakes, guillemots and puffins on the cliffs, and grey seals in the water beneath them.
We stopped for  delicious, if too much, fish and chips at the Ship Inn at Flamborough Head, before continuing round to North Landing - a mile or so further round.

We watched the puffins for ages - my favourite sea bird. The photo below shows one I made in ceramic.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Hurray - Porch finished and a hair cut!

We started work on our porch in March. We wanted to convert it to a porch where we stored things to a utility room.
We ordered all the things from Travis Perkins but they went into lockdown before we got them delivered, so the project was put on hold. We've now insulated the walls, added some water pipes and electricity and painted and decorated it and installed the "white goods".
So pleased with the final appearance - Gerry has made a good job!

                                                                                                                                                                                 And we have had our hair cut. Gerry likes a bargain and won't have to go back for ages!





Thursday, 16 July 2020

Reasons to be very cheerful - Cherry Vodka!!

Having battled with the blackbirds to keep them from eating our cheries, we picked some today.


We froze some of them but decided to make some cherry vodka.... This is the recipe - it's very easy

400g cherries
200g caster sugar
70cl vodka

Slit the cherries, but don't half them. Put in a pan with the sugar and 150ml of water. Heat, stirring gently until the juices run and the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool, then spoon into a jar. Add the vodka and mix well. Seal and leave for 4 weeks to let the flavours steep. You can put the jar in the freezer for ice cold vodka and it won't freeze.

I had a little taste first and it was delicious, so after 4 weeks it should be superb!!!!! (if it lasts that long).




Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Making porcelain flower heads....

Gerry has made some little bottles to hold perfumed oil for reed difusers. I thought that it might be nice instead of having plain sticks coming out of the top of the pots to have little porcelain flowers at the end.
These would be low fired to enable the oil to soak up the wooden stems. I will be trying kebab sticks at first to see if they will work.


Some of these are made from white porcelain, some with a mixture of black and white and some have copper carbonate powder added. Only time will tell if anything works!!!!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Throwing and turning

This afternoon we spent in the pottery. Gerry made some vases, some mugs and some "I Can Cope" mugs. We are hoping that some of the shops we supply in Scotland will place some orders soon - they are normally quite busy in the months of September and October.

As far as we know the pottery festivals of Potfest in Scotland at the end of September, and Potfest in the Pens in Penrith at the end of October are still going ahead.






Gerry showed me how to do a bit of turning. I had left too much clay on the bottom of a planter and it needed trimming off. I only had one to do so not much practice!

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Pigeons 0, Gerry 1

Today we went to war with the pigeons who are trying to pinch all our cherries from our cherry tree! We watched them yesterday evening having a real good feast.
So today we have wrapped the tree up with netting so they can't get in.....

And we had a lovely ice cream Sundae of cherries in brandy topped with homemade plum and amaretto ice cream with amaretti biscuits - delicious.
Better luck next year - pigeons!

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Fixing things

This morning we were down at Jubilee Park fixing the xylophone and the dog seesaw. Then this evening we got an email saying the seat had come off the zip wire.... We went to fix that as well but didn't have the right locking nut so it's now at our house!

There were lots of groups of people down at the Park today. If everyone who was there put something in the collection box we would soon make up the money we have lost through cancelled fundraising events.

Friday, 10 July 2020

A trip to York....

Judging by the traffic on the A1079 and the fact that we had to queue to get onto it from Wilberfoss it looked as though York might have been busy today.

We were going in to visit a potter's workshop, to deliver some little coffee cups to the Little Yorkshire Candle Company in Goodramgate, and to drop off a couple of candle holders to a customer in Holtby.



But York was very quiet. People are out and about - (I don't think they were tourists though) but they aren't buying. Perhaps there's a fear of "what's round the corner" and the threat of unemployment too. We went to a lovely Japanese restaurant for lunch - It was called Ipfu Shushi and was in George Hudson Street, but we were the only customers in the large restaurant from 12.15 to 1.15. Surely a place cannot survive like this?

We are looking forward to eating out more in August, with 50% off meals thanks to the chancellor...... A clever move, I think.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

A Parliament of owls?

These are some of the pottery owls that were made by the children in year 6 at Hutton Cranswick school in East Yorkshire.
The owl is the school's mascot and every year the school asks me to go in and help the children make some in pottery. The children get presented with the owls at their leaving service as a memento from the school.
It's a lovely gesture and was one which not even the Corona virus dampened!!!


Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Reasons to be cheerful? My pots....

I would have liked to open the kiln last night to see if my pots had survived the firing, but Gerrry is insistant that it can only be opened when the temperature is below 150C. So I had to wait until today.
I am really pleased with my first ever hand thrown on the wheel - all by myself - pots.





















They were decorated with black and yellow brush on glazes and different oxides. I applied some wax over the glazes and oxides and dipped the whole pot in an oatmeal glaze.  The glaze ran off where the wax had been painted, revealing the yellows and blacks.
Now I have to wait and see if I can sell them.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Learning new skills....

One of the things I am learning to do during the Covid 19 period is to throw on the wheel. I'd always been happy to hand build pots, but with time on my hands I decided to improve my skills on the wheel.
Today I made some ramekin dishes. I have been asking Gerry to make some for me for ages so I didn't have to use the glass ones that originally contained some dessert....
These are the ones I made... They're not all exactly the same but will be fine for my purposes. Some of the bottoms are a bit thin so I hope they don't crack.


Monday, 6 July 2020

At last a firing in the big kiln!


Today we had enough pots to glaze and then fire in the big kiln. This wasn't due to quantity - in fact there weren't that many to do. BUT we had some big pots to go in - a bird bath, two wall planters for me and enough other pots to make it worthwhile.

Photos below show Gerry weighing out glaze materials as we make up our own glazes from raw materials. Once glazed, some of the pots had to have a band painted round the top, which is what I am doing.






However we were momentarily distracted by a red kite which was flying at roof top height over our neighbour's house. It must have spotted something and stayed their long enough for me to get my phone and take a photo. It is moments like these when I wish I had a really good camera!


Sunday, 5 July 2020

Play and Exercise....

Yesterday it felt very special down at Jubilee Park. We were able to cut the tape to allow children to use the play equipment again and the outdoor gym. It wasn't long before children were on the swings!


Friday, 3 July 2020

7,105 people reached, 1,998 engagements, 14 comments and 42 shares on Jubilee Park Facebook page!

That's the amount of interest on the Jubilee Park facebook page yesterday. Why?
This is a post I put up:-

Last night there was an incident down at Jubilee Park in Fangfoss. About 30 youths decided to hold a party down there from 7.30 to 9.30. The tape around the outdoor gym - which was then used, was ripped off, beer bottles and broken glass was strewn around near the zip wire, picnic tables were upturned and moved, signs destroyed and there was an attempt to remove the double barred gate at the entrance.
Several cars - one an audi estate - were spotted on CCTV speeding down Back Lane to drop off passengers. The names of some attendees have been reported.
IF YOU DROPPED OFF YOUR CHILD IN FANGFOSS LAST NIGHT COULD YOU SPEAK TO THEM ABOUT THIS ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR.
Jubilee Park only exists because of the hard work of volunteers in the village. We don't want to spend our time cleaning up after thoughtless youths who spoil it for the majority.

The community has rallied round, helped tidy it up - fortunately no permanent damage was done this time - and named some of the youths. It seems that children from Pocklington School (a private school) decided to get together and have a farewell party down at the Park. That would have been Okay and we would have welcomed it, if it had not been for their thoughtless behaviour.

If you have never been down to our Park - it's worth a visit. Here are some photos!