Gerry Grant

Gerry Grant
On The Wheel

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Making pots for The hospital of St Cross and its almshouses in Winchester

We have been making pots for the Hospital of St Cross for a number of years.

The Hospital of St Cross, St Cross, Winchester, UKThe Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is a medieval almshouse in Winchester, Hampshire, England. It has been described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse". Most of the buildings and grounds are open to the public at certain times. It is a Grade I listed building.

 The Hospital of St Cross is famous for its unique and ancient tradition of providing the Wayfarer’s Dole. This is a horn of beer and a morsel of bread given to any visitor who requests it. The custom was founded by a monk from Cluny in France, whose holy order always gave bread and wine to travellers. The tradition still continues today. Visitors may request the Dole at the Porter’s Lodge as they depart.

 We make the dole beakers that are used and sold in the shop.

 


This is John Craven, from "Country File" when presenting a programme from the Winchester area.

These are the pots we sent off today.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Fresh out of the kiln

Fresh out of the kiln - some new planters that I have made. I am still learning on the wheel - so these ones are all different from each other.... Absolutely unique!


 

The insides were painted with a black oxide before the biscuit firing to fix it onto the pot, making it more easy to handle when applying the decoration.

 

 

 The decoration consists of applied oxides and wax resist before the pots are dipped in an oatmeal glaze.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Can we blame it on Covid 19?

Is it my imagination or is everything that goes wrong get blamed on Covid? Letters getting delivered late, equipment not being put up in the Park, no spare parts?

Our kiln didn't fire properly last night - it didn't reach biscuit temperature. It went high enough to reach the quartz inversion rate- where the molecules in the clay re-align themselves and settle down again. If this does not happen, then when the pots are glazed and fired to the high temperatures, hair line cracks can appear all over them.

 

We can't blame it on Covid..... One of the connections in the kiln had become loose. Gerry thinks he has fixed it, but we'll be doing a test firing tonight without pots in it to see if it works. Then we will re-fire the pots again.

We want to fire them again because the temperature reached meant that when the glaze is applied, it will be too thick - the pots will absorb too much water.....

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Colours of Autumn..

It's such a lovely time of year. The colours in our garden are beautiful - especially the Acers.

This is the Acer in our yard. It has been growing in a British Terracotta pot for about 20 years. (The colours have not been enhanced!)

The photos below show some Acers in our garden.








Saturday, 17 October 2020

Enough pots....

 I think it must have been back in March when we had enough pots to fire both kilns... But we now have orders coing in from shops which are hoping to do a good trade before Christmas and perhaps even half term. I will pack two of the orders up tomorrow to go out by carrier on Monday.



Friday, 16 October 2020

A foray into repeat throwing....

 

I have been trying to learn how to repeat throw on the wheel. That means getting all the items the same size and shape - important, say for a set of mugs, although not so much for individual tea lights.

As you can see, I have a long way to go - quite a variety in size, and the rims are thicker on some than on others.

Nevertheless, I have made them into the "mousie" tea light holders, hoping that I will be able to sell them. (I haven't put Gerry's potter's stamp on them though!!!!)

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Moon vases...

 We sold two large moon vases at Potfest in Scotland, so Gerry has been making some more to take with us to Potfest in the Pens in Penrith at the end of the month.


Traditionally made in Korea for ceremonial and decorative use, moon vases are made in two halves then joined together when "leather hard".


In this photo, Gerry is pressing the two halves together and smoothing down the join.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Making a mould for an emblem

 We have been making pots for over 40 years with emblems on them - Celtic knots and crosses for shops in Scotland and Wales, or more site specific ones such as a little Imp for Lincoln Cathedral and the Durham Knocker for Durham Cathedral. 

The emblems are made by pushing clay into an engraved plaster mould which Gerry has always made himself. At the moment we are working on a little acorn mould for the Little Yorkshire Candle Company. They sell reed diffusers and wanted some little pots for the oil containers.

A couple of photos of pots with emblems on:-

 




Saturday, 10 October 2020

Fangfoss and Bolton Potato Competition

 

 

 

 It seems that my weekend has been taken up with the Potato competition we have in our village every year. The competition is to see which villager grows the heaviest crop of potatoes from one single seed potato - the prize being £50.

This year the Potato Champion of Fangfoss is Paul Welham who grew 10.9 kg of potatoes from his seed potato. I was way down the ranking with a crop of 2.2kg.

 We will have made about £600 for our village Park by selling the seed potatoes.

 

Friday, 9 October 2020

Workshop pots finished at last...

 

 

These are just three of the pots that were made by some attendees at a workshop held back in March. We made these pots by hand and also some raku pots on the wheel. We had the raku firing a couple of weeks ago and glazed these pots at the same time.


They are very unusual and the colours are fab. The colours have been painted on first and wax resist put on top before the whole pots were dipped in an oatmeal glaze.

 

Thursday, 8 October 2020

"I'd better go and wrap up my pots"

In Pre-Covid times this is what Gerry said every night before going to bed. "I'd better go and wrap up my pots", so that they were ready to  have handles etc put on the next day.

And that is what has been happening this week.... We have had a sudden burst of orders from places around the country. But - what will happen now, with the harsh governement measures put in place in Scotland and the potiential of a lockdown looming in England......



Monday, 5 October 2020

What an honour!!

 On Friday we were emailed by the assistant deputy decoration editor of "House and Garden" magazine to see if they could use some of our pots in a feature in their magazine....

They liked the pit fired pots and the small candle pots. However, they only confirmed it today and the photography shoot is on Wednesday so we are hoping that TNT deliver on time....




Sunday, 4 October 2020

A few orders coming in....

Since coming back from Potfest last weekend we have had several orders placed with us - Roots Farm Shop, Jorvik Viking Centre, Highland Fling in Inverarary and the hospital of St Cross down in Winchester. It feels good....


 

32 little candle holders in a traditional style destined for Highland Fling in Inverarary.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Keeping safe

 Today we have put measures in place so that visitors to the pottery can be tracked and traced if anyone is found to be having Covid symptons in our premises. Let's hope it never has to be used!

We've got sanitisers all over the place and I washed the floor upstairs with a weak solution of domestos today. We're ready to welcome visitors!



Thursday, 1 October 2020

Where have we been?

 I haven't done this blog for a week because we have been in Scotland exhbiting at Potfest held in the grounds of Scone Palace near Perth.

This was the first big show we have done this year and it was great - meeting up with our colleagues, winning a prize in the competition and having an almost sell-out show!


This was our stand at the start of the show. We had three large tables. On one of the tables we had our studio ware - including bowls, moon vases and pit fired pots. On another table we had domestic ware and on the third table we had our "Mousie Range".





This is our stall at the end of the show. We had knocked down one table on the Saturday to make it look more busy. This is all we had left ! We sold two of the moon vases as well.....





After the show we went to Dundee for a couplpe of nights. We visited the Mary Quant exhibition at the V and A, and the Discovery Museum - both really good.