Gerry Grant

Gerry Grant
On The Wheel

Thursday, 25 February 2021

What to do?

What to do?
Last year we had 17 house martin nests all around our house - they are still there. But this year we have to have some repairs done to the corner overhangs and the soffits and fascias need painting. Do I knock the old nests off before the house martins come back or do I paint round them? The house is so high we need to put scaffolding up.....

 

 

I do enjoy watching them and last year some of them had 2 broods. The RSPCA say it is illegal to interfere with nesting birds but you can remove the nests when the birds have gone. 

I want to make it easier for them to come back so will just knock downm the ones that interfere with the repair work, but keep the rest.


Monday, 22 February 2021

Potato Time again.

A year ago we were going around the village to sell potatoes  as a fund raiser - and it's that time again. What's different? The fact that everyone is now feeling optomistic that the light is at the end of the tunnel!



So who will win the Fangfoss and Bolton Potato Growing competition? It's the person who grows the heaviest crop from one seed potato and last year that came in at 10.9 kg.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Pottery@Home

 The "Pottery@Home" project has really taken off today with an enquiry from a local WI group. They want to run the project as part of their WI meeting in April and want me to accompany it through a zoom meeting. I have never done this before, but will give it a try.

 

In the meantime, the first of the animal scultures have arrived back at the pottery. Gerry and I are very impressed with the high standard shown. We have a lovely guinea-pig, a rat and a seal.

Friday, 19 February 2021

It's a long time since I did this!

 

The last time we packed up a large order of pots must have been back in September.

In January we got an order from a wholesaler in Devon who specialises in fossils. He has been buying mugs from us with an ammonite emblem on for about 20 years.

We first met him when we turned up, unannounced, at his shop in Lyme Regis with some samples, and he has been buying from us ever since.

He obviously thinks that shops are going to open soon...

This is the first of 3 boxes of 50 mugs that we are sending off.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

WOT!!! No ducks.....


A week ago we had our grandchildren to stay while their parents worked and we took some bread to feed to the ducks along Pocklington Canal. Only there weren't any. So instead we went to Burnby Hall Gardens where you usually get mobbed with them- still no ducks.

So when we came home we made our own. My 6 year old grandaughter made a duck planter and although a wing fell off due to it not being stuck on with slip, it can be fixed

                                                                                              My 2 year old also made a duck.....


 

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

What a successful day!

  Today we sent off our first packages for our new venture! It is called "Pottery@Home". The idea is that, for a small cost, we provide all the clay, materials and instructions to make a project in pottery.

This month's project is to make a small animal sculpture. 

I took photographs of all the stages involved - through making two pinch pots to join together to make the body, right through to adding the finishing touches. 

Although I made a hedgehog, once the body is made there is scope for almost any animal.

I can send the clay out, but the student has to deliver the finished item back to the pottery. Unfired clay is too fragile for any of the postal services!!!


 But what made it even more successful was that I made a video to back up the process of making pinch pots, and was able to make this into a link. If you click on it below yyou should be able to download it and see me making the pinch pots..... Anyone who knows me will know that this is a major achievement as I am useless with computers.....

https://we.tl/t-RUQr5uHXv5

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Which pots to select?

Today we had to choose 6 pots for a selected exhibition at Water Street Gallery in Todmorden, in West Yorkshire. It's a prestigious gallery so we didn't want to put our "gift items" up  for possible inclusion. The title of the exhibition is "Earth Works", so we decided on pots that had a stratified appearance:-



 "STRATA"  - mugs that have a layered appearance.




"LANDSCAPE" - a bowl reflecting the colours of the landscape.

 

 

 

 

  "YORKSHIRE WOLDS" - a moonvase, depicting the landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds.

 

Friday, 12 February 2021

Starting early!

 


This is my 6 year old grand daughter on the wheel. She is concentrating really hard and had obviously listened to Gerry about resting her arms on the edge of the wheel!









And this is my 2 year old grand daughter - still concentrating, but needing more practice!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Challenge completed...

Well - that's it! A whole week of eating just food from Britain...
We celebrated tonight with fish and chips from  Stuarts in Pocklington - and some of the English wine called Madeleine Angvine from Laurel Vines on the Yorkshire Wolds. It was very good - quite a soft taste, but something we would buy again.
BUT IT HAS BEEN HARD....
 
 
 
To take something from Jamie Oliver's book ""Jamie's Great Britain -130 reasons to love our food" - , "Britain today is blessed with flavours, influences and ingredients from all over the world. Over our long history, foreign armies, visitors and immigrants have brought ingredients, cooking methods, and radical new flavours to our tables. And like magpies, the British Empire of old explored and traded its way around the globe, bringing home the most exciting spices and glittering dishes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Over time these things have become loved and revered. So much so that we can think of them as our own".
 
 
Gosh, I've missed some of these things and am going to have a slice of pineapple now, dusted in brown sugar put under the grill and caramelised!

 


Thursday, 4 February 2021

Back to doing jigsaw puzzles....


 This is a jigsaw we are busy doing - it's of a toy shop - 1,000 pieces. We have a jigsaw exchange in the village telephone box and we got it from there.

It has made me think about the origin of jigsaw puzzles. I found out that the first jigsaw was made in 1762 by a cartographer called John Spilsbury.  He mounted one of his maps onto wood and cut round the countries, and then gave it to the local school to use in their geography lessons.


It's taking a long time and Gerry has decided to start making some stock in the potttery - confident that the shows we have booked will go ahead this summer. So - I don't know how long it will stay on our dining room table!

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Original art work?

 

We've finished decorating our office and decided it was about time we bought a new filing cabinet. So we started emptying the old one and getting rid of rubbish.

In one of the old files we came across loads of drawings that Gerry had done to make into emblems to press onto the pots - mainly mugs.

The emblems were hand drawn and then carved into plaster in reverse, so that when the clay was pushed into they came out the right way round! These made the embossed emblems which we became renowned for.

Originally Gerry hand carved the emblems into the plaster himself but then found out that they could be engraved onto a plastic plate onto which the plaster was cast.This made the task much easier.


These are two pictures showing how the emblems were made, and a dish with the Sanctuary Knocker on from Durham Cathedral.

























Tuesday, 2 February 2021

New lockdown experiments.

We have been experimenting with applying a ceramic transfer onto our pots. We have been asked by a company to put a logo onto some little pots. The pots are quite fine and would not suit an embossed logo made out of clay like we normally do.  


 

We had asked for some samples to experiment with. The transfers were cut out from the sheet and soaked in water. This removes the transfer from the backing.

The pot that Gerry is going to put the transfer on has been glazed in a white shiny glaze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The transfer is slipped from the backing and smoothed onto the pot. 


It is then put back into the kiln and fired to 750C.






  


We are quite pleased with the results. The actual logo would be a black emblem so the temperature will not be quite as critical.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Starting a new challenge!

 Yesterday we started a new challenge - to eat just British products. I read in the Sunday Times last week that we only produce 55% of the food we eat - despite us having some of the best growing conditions in the world.

We even import broccoli,  and other seasonal vegetables. Why?

It's not that difficult, though we are finding ourselves still drinking tea and coffee with our meals. I don't like milky products and don't think beer, cider or water is a good alternative. Fresh fruit is difficult with apples being our only option  as even pears seem to be imported. However during the summer we froze a lot of the fruit growing in the garden - plums, apples, rhubarb, blackberries and cherries - so will use this up.

We  went on a walk to Bishop Wilton today and bought some wine from their community shop which is made from the vines grown in East Yorkshire. It was quite expensive so will keep it for the weekend....




Sunday, 31 January 2021

The Viking Invasion has begun

 We've just been accepted to have a stand at the River Art market in York in the summer, starting in June.  York has a long history - evidence remains of Roman, Anglo Saxon and Viking settlements and people come from all over the world to soak up it's history. Of course last year that didn't happen, and I don't think we'll have many foreign visitors this year - but people will be coming to York from the rest of the UK. I am getting ready to sell our novelty items to those tourists and what better than "Eric Bloodaxe Vikings"? I began to make them today.... first day of making things since Christmas........


  Some of my little Vikings have horns on their helmets - not truly authentic, but popularised by Kirk Douglas's film "The Vikings".

 For authenticity the helmets had noseguards- which I make as well for purists.

I just hope the pandemic is under control by the summer and we can get back to a bit of normality and that the shows and exhibitions can go ahead.


Saturday, 30 January 2021

What staying power......


 

  This is a castle that was made by my eldest grandchild, Beth, who is 6. She drew it out on paper first and wanted a Tower type of castle like Rapunzel's.

She pressed out a base to put the castle on, then rolled out some clay into a slab and wrapped it round a tube. She went on to make the turret, doors, windows and balcony which took her ages.

She left it to dry a bit (had dinner) and then went back to it to make the roof. Once again she paid particular attention to getting the patterns on the roof - must have taken her fifteen minutes....

I had to glaze it for her as she went home before the firings.

 

These are the two pig money boxes that my grandchildren made. The one on the left is Beth's  - the one on the right is Catherine's - she is only 2 and needed some help....





Friday, 29 January 2021

Finished....

 After only six days we have moved everything back into the office. In  less than a week we have decorated the whole room, put in new lighting and laid laminate flooring. It is much better. But tomorrow we will really have to get on and make some pots. We have an order for 200 mugs to get out to a company selling fossils in Devon and another small one from a shop in York.


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

It's a fluffy one!

 
During Lockdown I have been using up all the wool and yarn I have accumulated over the years I have been knitting. I came across this fluffy pink yarn a few days ago and armed with the measurements of my granddaughter made up a pattern for a fluffy jumper. 
She loves pink so I'm sure she'll like this........
                                                                                                                                                                                         

Sunday, 24 January 2021

It's still not snowing....

 Today it is cold but there is no snow. Photos on facebook from my daughter in Edinburgh show her family building snowmen - photos from down South show trouble on the roads.

We're still decorating, but while we were wating for the paint to dry, we went down to Jubilee Park.

It was so cold today that the frost hadn't melted. This accentuated the old ridge and furrows system that were created by farmers in the nineteeth century to improve land drainage, They differ from the medieval ridge and furrow in being straight and narrower.

The furrows in Medieval times had a curved shape and were made by the plough turning at the end of an open field, eventually creating an S shaped feature.

By piling up the soil into ridges it would also increase the acreage of land being used.

There you go - a bit of history......

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Decorating and marmalade!

 

 

 It is a year ago that we started painting the pottery. There was nothing to do - things are quiet at this time of year in the pottery, and we were oblivious to the fact that a major pandemic was about to hit us. A year on and we've started decorating again - this time the office.



And Gerry has made the first batch of marmalade -12 jars. He is going to make another 12 tomorrow which will keep us going until next January.

Apparantly all the Seville oranges grown in Spain go to the UK to be made into marmalade. This year the price of the oranges has gone up quite a lot because of Brexit. Yet another reason why we shouldn't have left!!!!

Friday, 22 January 2021

and it's back to making socks.....

 The little socks are the ones I made to hang on the tree before Christmas, but my daughter bought me some proper sock wool to make a real pair for myself.

So I finished these last night - even managing to match them both.




Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Eternally optimistic!


     We don't know if we are being optimistic, but we took delivery of a tonne of clay today. With rumours   of the Lockdown continuing until Easter we're facing the dilema of whether we carry on making stock in the hope that the shops we supply will be ordering. 

      The problem is that we make a lot of pots for the tourist sites in Britain, places like Jorvik Viking Centre, Durham Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral, Mary Kings Close, Visit York and so on... If they foresee themselves not getting visitors this year then they won't be ordering.

      Everyhting is reliant on the vaccines.......

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

House and Garden


 Our pots have featured in the February edition of House and Garden. That's the two pit fired pots on the top shelf with the teasels in one of them.


The article was called "Throwing Shapes" and was written by Ruth Sleightholme who was investigating ceramics handmade by independent studio potters based all over Britain.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Loves, Laughs and Life!

We have been so privilidged to have been asked to look after our grandchildren this week- aged 2 and 6, due to heavy work comitments from their parents. It has been great fun and we have enjoyed every moment of it - even the couple of restless nights.

We had to do some home learning, but also squeezed in some clay work, playing at the park, some woodwork - making a catapult, making some linkages, drumming, dancing, and go-carting in an old hand made go cart! There was also time for baking, playing games and long bath times - weren't we lucky?









Saturday, 9 January 2021

Another big lockdown...

 Last time when it was a total lockdown we did a lot of decorating - both in the pottery, outside the pottery, and in and outside the house. This time while we are deciding what to do, we borrowed a jigsaw from the jigsaw exchange in the telephone box in our village.

It was a map of the world and fascinating to do. There are so many small islands in the world - I suppose a lot of them are really threatened with rising sea levels.....

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

 We are so lucky up here in Yorkshire to live not far from  what must be the best sculpture Park in Britain.

It is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture, set within the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire.

Founded in 1977, the Park was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in Europe to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore- in fact the largest collection of his outside sculptures in Europe.

Because it is an outdoor area for exercise, you can still go and visit it, which we did yesterday. There are always new sculptures to see and new exhbitions taking place. 

 

 

At the moment the Park is showing work by Joana Vasconcelos - a femalePortuguese artist, and Damian Hirst. Joana tends to use familiar everyday objects and puts them together to make her large sculptures. 

Here is an ring she has made using the inside of car wheels and whisky glasses.





These are two of Damian Hirst's sculptures. The pregnant lady is 11 metres high and has been cut away to reveal the insides!

Both sets of sculptures are made of bronze, then coated with paint and plastics to conceal the fact.