The Uncharted Course

The Uncharted Course

Hi there.

Thanks for popping in. It’s Wednesday, so I stepped out to pottery this afternoon for a little while. Started a new project today: a vase. It’s an experiment, based on the slate vases we used to make back in the day, when stamps didn’t pay the rent during the summers! They were very lovely, heavy, and hard work to make, but very popular. The whole Gray family made them. Mum and Dad, Steve, Dave and myself. We couldn’t make them fast enough. Sold out most shows. But when we left the old farm, we didn‘t have the barns and open space to split, drill and sand slate, so we gave it up. And Clarity was picking up momentum, so we retired them. One of the other crafters on the circuit tried to copy them (of course!), but they weren’t anywhere near as tactile or beautiful. Between you and me, I don’t think he realised how much sweat went into them when he decided to rip them off! Sticking a pot on a reclaimed slate roof and drilling a hole in it didn’t really cut the mustard!

I still have a few of my own – in fact, one of the black Delabole slate pieces is full of lovely flowers today – but I thought it might be interesting to take the idea and make one out of clay instead of slate…

Anyway, I made a start today, and there was much intrigue. The reservoir underneath the slate is a very different kind of vase to what people are used to. Maybe it will work in ceramic, maybe it won’t. But unless I try it, I will never know.

The best part of the process is that all afternoon I have been pondering the look, the shape, the colour. I know that black is perfect for all flowers (see above). I know that a vase should enhance the flowers, not detract from them, so plain is essential. Maybe a tiny flash of copper or gold, but that is more than enough. I’ve got a week to work it out. And THAT is the essence of pottery for me. I get to roam down an uncharted road in my head, bouncing ideas at myself. It’s like taking a mini excursion away from Clarity, like switching off the washing machine head, and focussing on something entirely fresh and new. And then, when it’s time to get back in the saddle, everything seems clearer and less heavy. And I am grateful for that.

Love & Hugs,

Barb xxx

26 thoughts on “The Uncharted Course

  1. How original, not seen anything like that before that I can remember. Hope your experimental one goes well. Can’t wait to see ! X

  2. Barb, I have a treasured slate vase bought from you back in the day. Think it might have been at Detling [?]. Anyway, it is my favourite piece, always on display and only ever unused when we had a puppy in the house, as the flower arrangements were just too tempting on the hearth!

  3. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like these before Barb. They are beautiful so no wonder they used to sell out so quickly. I look forward to seeing how the ceramic version works out.

  4. Your slate vase looks amazing & I am sure your clay one will to.
    Finally got all the plants in the garden, well I thought I had until I had put all the tools away & went to water them in & found 2 in situe but still in their pots. They will have to wait until another day as I have had enough for today. I want to do some crafting!! OH out tonight so I can sit & watch recorded programmes in peace & craft at the same time in a comfy seat 😂

  5. I remember your really beautiful vases.

    I planned to purchase one, one of those one day purchases, but money became a thorny issue for quite a while for us, we thought we were going to lose the house at one point!

    Then you stopped making and selling them. I am so happy you don’t have to do them now, as I never realised how much work they were but I’m also sad about that too lol! Look forward to seeing how your pot turns out xx

  6. Did not know this, joined the Clarity can club much further along, but that is a beautiful piece. Subtle and classy. I am sure your pottery creation will be equally as delightful and the main thing is you enjoy the fun of creating it

  7. Fantastic! I remember the slate vases. I’ve got a leaflet somewhere about them I’m sure!!!
    So glad you got to go to pottery. It gives you some refresh time and although it’s still making you think it’s different allowing you to be creative in a very different way! I can’t wait to see your creation!
    Hope you have a great evening.
    Love and hugs Xxxx

  8. I bought one of your slate vases for my best friend back in the day. Hope she took it with her when they divorced! So elegant and beautiful. Hope your experiment works out!

  9. Ooh I love how your creativity moves to adapt previous ideas. I hope your new concept works out and look forward to seeing the finished article which will, I am sure, be truly fabulous. Xx

  10. Not got a slate vase but do have one of your mum’s ‘dingle dangles’ (bag charm) bought a couple of years ago at the retreat. Look forward to seeing how your clay vase turns out but I’m sure it’ll be lovely. Xxx

  11. As the proud owner of one of your slate vases, I can testify that they are beautiful pieces, even without flowers. It sits perfectly on my black slate hearth. I am looking forward to seeing your pottery version. I am sure it will be beautiful and treasured as a very personal piece. xxx Maggie (Silvercrafter)

  12. My friend next door also has one of your lovely vases bought, we think, at Penshurst ( we were together when she bought it -wish I’d got one too now) . It is often used and it is amazing how long the water in the reservoir lasts and the flowers stay fresh.
    Will watch the clay version with interest!

  13. I missed out on your slate vase era, by the look of them that is a shame. Never mind I have more than made up for it with Groovi products. It will be interesting to see how your clay vase works out. The main thing though is that you get some precious time for yourself. x

  14. Your creativity knows no bounds !!! Hope the pottery urns turn out as charming and beautiful as the originals in slate.
    Hectic day today but a bit cooler thank goodness, so got a lot of things done and I won’t feel guilty tomorrow feet up watching Tina do her thing. Decided this year to make all my Christmas cards with Groovi, these parchlets will be ideal for most of them and I shall be using Jayne Nestorenko’s beautiful designs for the special 3.
    Looking forward to seeing the new papers and bird dies on Friday.
    Enjoy your evening. 🍒🍒🍒

  15. Hi Barb, your slate vase is beautiful, perfect, and very elegant. I’ve heard you talk of them, but I don’t think you’ve ever showed us before. You are soooo talented.

    So pleased to hear pottery is helping your washing machine head, as well as letting you be free to just create anything you like from in your head. And because you can, not because you have to, or have deadlines to meet or anything. I look forward to seeing your latest creation as it progresses.

    I’ve found a wee bit of break away from my washing machine head too, playing with fabric on and off this past week or so. Like you with pottery, fabric art is new to me, don’t know rules, just playing, trying out, seeing what works, leaving it until I work out the next bit, or how to enhance/improve the bit I’ve done. Small-scale and basic, and not anywhere near as arty, or clever as you, but we can only be as good as the ability within us eh. No point in a person striving, or pretending to be something they are not, that’s no way to live. If I can reach my potential, that’s good enough for me. Always striving to reach my potential despite the odds, and obstacles, and brick walls. I’m not exactly getting very far, eh!!! But there’s always tomorrow, maybe tomorrow will be the breakthrough day…

    Love you xxxx

  16. Is there no end to your talent?! Your slate vases are beautiful and those who bought them are lucky to have such lovely pieces. Enjoy making your new version and I look forward to seeing the result.
    Have a good evening. Hugs. Annette X

  17. Hi Barbara
    I missed out on your slate vases. But the one you have pictured looks amazing.
    I’m sure your clay version will look beautiful too.

  18. The slate vase is so organic and beautiful Barbara, and such a great idea to try a similar thing in clay, and looks as though you have made a good start and will look forwards to seeing how it progresses. It is good for you to have fun thinking about something crafty but totally different and glad that on returning to those everyday hassles they seem easier to handle and less stressful. x

  19. Hello Barb, I remember seeing your slate vases at a show, we could just not afford one at the time, I regret that now. Love the photo of yours with the flowers in, and I am now intrigued too to see how the ceramic one turns out. Take care all. Bx

  20. Hi Barbara,
    Your slate vase is stunning indeed, beautiful concept and I look forward to seeing your clay creation come to life.
    Lisa x

  21. Love your slate vases and I still have and use my one.
    I do hope your clay version is as successful xx

  22. I have one of your slate vases, bought for a fiver at a rural car boot sale a couple of years ago. No idea what it is called, but it looks very similar to the one in the picture. judging by the comments of people not being able to afford one I think I have a lucky bargain. Most of the year round it can be seen on my hall table with just a few strategically placed flowers and leaves and always looks good, if I say so myself. It holds the flowers well. My favorite at the moment are three blue iris Siberica, cut to different lengths,
    tall, medium and short with medium Hosta leaves, green with a yellow edge.

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