Gerry Grant

Gerry Grant
On The Wheel

Monday, 31 August 2020

Another firing....



Packing the kiln ready to fire some new lines in the pottery.

Lemon squeezers with their integral jugs, and soap dishes to try out.

Pyrometric cones balanced on the kiln stilts. Although the temperature is read through a pyrometer, we still use the cones to see which parts of the kiln are the hottest and coolest.

We use 2 cones - one designed to bend at 1,000C and the other at the high temperature of 1280C when the kiln is switched off.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Setting up an Etsy Shop!

 Well, today has been spent setting up a shop on Etsy. With the Christmas fairs looking as though they are all going to be cancelled, we have to find some way of selling our pots and going on-line seems to be a way of doing it.

It has taken us a long time to do this, even though the Etsy help site is really good. It's just that it's time consuming. We had to decide what to put up there - Etsy recommends starting with ten items. We have a huge range of pots from novelty gift items to one off expensive studio ceramics. What to put on???

We decided that to start off we would just put on ten pots from our "mousie" range under the Fangfoss Pottery name. Then at another time we could set up an Etsy shop in Gerry's name. 

Then you have to take lots of pictures (up to 10) of different aspects of your pot that you want to sell, write a description of each one and basically go through the online prompts. I won't put them all up here because there are loads. Needless to say, I haven't finished yet, but you can save your project to continue working on it at another time.

These are the photos I put up to sell our oil drizzler......

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Home produce....

 This year we having been growing lots of our own produce and have been taking better care of it than we normally do. This led to a glut of cherries and plums, a lot of which I froze.

.. I made some cherry vodka with the cherries and bottled it (after a lot of sampling) this morning. My intentions are to keep it until Christmas. I used the last of the plums to make a Chinese style plum sauce and that is in the freezer.

This afternoon I spent in the pottery putting some mice on mugs and sugar basins. We have put some of the "mouse range" in the oatmeal - blue glaze  into a gallery called Art and Soul in Beverley , and that has depleted our stock. It'll be a couple of weeks before they come through.

Gerry has packed the large kiln to biscuit fire some more pots so that we can have a glaze firing in the large gas kiln. I think we have only fired that three times since March!

Friday, 28 August 2020

Surviving the biscuit firing...

 It's a relief when you open the kiln to find that your pots have survived the first (biscuit) firing. It's always a temptation to try and speed things up a bit to dry them only to find out that they weren't quite dry enough and that they have blown up in the kiln.

So we have plenty of "new" things to glaze - lemon squeezers and their jugs, plant pots and saucers, garlic graters, soap dishes and a couple of orders for large jugs with mice on.

 This afternoon we were visited by Gerry's god daughter, Danielle, who used to live opposite us in the Hall. She lives down in Guildford now, but always calls in to see us when she is in the area. Its nice to see her. She has two lovely girls who think being a potter must be the best job ever ----- and it is!!!!!

(except this year.....)

Thursday, 27 August 2020

It's raining cats and dogs....

Fits in with the weather.....

Today I made a scary dog and a whacky cat - both can be hung on the wall and each could be used as a bird house.

If the weather stays like this it will take ages to dry... Then I'll have to decide how to glaze them

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Out and about..

 On Sunday we did our first show this year. It was in an aobscure location - Fox Valley Retail Park near Sheffield. But it was good in lots of ways - we got out of our area, we met lots of potters - there were 26, and we actually sold some pots.

It was organised by Graham, the co-ordinator of the SE area of the Northern Potters Association - a big gamble for him, but one that paid off - even if the weather wasn't that good. I hope it becomes an annual event.....

The Northern Potters Association is active on facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so do have a look!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Tomatoes and Potatoes!

 We're still enjoying the fruits of our garden. These are some tomato plants that I got from the garden swap shop at the pub during lockdown. The tomatoes on them are just beginning to ripen - just enough at a time to pick 3 each day to have with a salad - quite convenient!








 And these are the potatoes Gerry dug up that I had planted for the potato competition in Fangfoss. Mine weighed 2.2kg, so I don't think I'll be the winner, but they were all perfectly formed and had no slug holes in them!!!

I had one potato that weighed 500g.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Lemon squeezers part 2

 This is Gerry's second attempt at making the top part of the lemon squeezer that will fit on top of the little jug. It looks as though it might work this time!

Friday, 21 August 2020

Garden gnomes - love 'em or hate 'em

 Whatever you think of garden gnomes - you've got to like these ones! Here are some that  were made by children aged 4 to 7 years old at a recent workshop I ran.

The children certainly brought lots of imagination with them. Look carefully and you'll see they are all different - one is holding a watering can, another a flower and another has his hands in his pockets. Some have hats - others don't. Some are standing, sitting on rocks, or toadstools.

Their facial expressions are wonderful - happy and carefree. Well done those children.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

It was almost normal!

 Today we put on a children's workshop. It was strange to have the children so far apart, distanced from their friends with their own tools and slip and brushes. 

Ready for action!

Socially isolating, yet still enjoying themselves.

It must have worked well because I have been asked to do it again.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Will tomorrow be normal?

 That is the question I am asking. Tomorrow I am running a workshop for 10 children and we will be making little gnomes! They can be any shape, have any expression - doing what they want (within reason).

This is my test run:-

I have spaced out the tables so there will be 2 children per table. Each child will have their own set of tools and brushes, and will be bringing their own towels to dry their hands afterwards. Sanitizer will be provided. 

Is this normal??? See what happens tomorrow......

Monday, 17 August 2020

Inspired by Northumberland.......

 A walk on the beach at Budle Bay near Bamburgh found us collecting a type of seaweed called Bladder Wrack and limpet shells.

The seaweed contains lots of iron and we are going to use it in a pit firing. We will wrap the seaweed round some pots and see what will happen (excuse the pun!)

I used the limpet shells to make some little spoons....

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Sorting things out...

 Over the last few months in the pottery we have been experimenting with new ideas, new designs and different firing techniques. All the results have been piling up on shelves in a muddled fashion. So we need to sort things out this week as we have a couple of events on---

The first is a  children's workshop on Wednesday, which means we have to sort out the tables upstairs to keep everyone at a distance. 

The second is a Pop Up Pottery show in Sheffield on Sunday. We need to sort ourselves out for that and decide what to take. It will be our first show this year so do come along if you live in the area...


Saturday, 15 August 2020

Pictures from Northumberland

 I know there are a few people who are reading my blog from outside the UK, so if that is you, let me explain where Northumberland is!!

It is a large county bordering Scotland in the North of England......

We have just returned from a short break there and it must be one of the most beautiful counties in England - especially for it's beaches and history.

Bearing in mind it is mid August, this is what the beach looked like between Bamburgh and Budle Bay:-

Then if you are interested in history, it must have more castles (apart from Wales) than any other County, with a few stately homes chucked in. The above photo shows Bamburgh castle. Below is Dunstanburgh castle and Howick Hall - home to Earl Grey (prime minister, inventor of Earl Grey tea and abolishinist of the slave trade.....)

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..