What a haul !

What a haul !

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. So many events all over the country on this Bank Holiday Monday in England ! Anything near you? We drove past the Edenbridge and Oxted Country Fair AND the Flower Show in Withyam on the way back from a few hours at work this morning. (There was some catching up and a lot of planning ahead to be done – so we took advantage of the quiet time at Clarity Towers).

But I was itching to get home for the big unveiling – It was Grand Kiln Opening Day today! Flicked the switch Saturday, and have waited till this afternoon. Bisque load ahoy!

I know, I know. No bunting, no brass band, no afternoon tea tent. But the moment when you open that big old heavy door – well, how can I describe it? It’s like Christmas when you’re a kid.

Not even a packed kiln, which is rather wasteful. But I’m managing so little pottery at the moment, with all that is going on, that it would take another few weeks to fill her to the gunnels. So sod it. And you see, there are a few pots on the middle shelf that Grace and Mark made when they were in quarantine here. And she’s coming home again next week. And they need to be fired so she can glaze them. And. And And.

A rush of warm air, and a quick glance on all 3 floors, to make sure there’ve been no explosions, no calamities. There was one piece in particular I was looking at – the large piece at the back on the top shelf. See it?

It’s another lampstand, another Hans Coper stylee lampstand, which developed a hairline crack while I was constructing it. Note to self: don’t add new (wet) clay to an already dry piece. When it shrinks back it splits away and cracks – and that’s a fact. I knew it, but like most things in life, you have to actually DO it wrong yourself to learn it.

Thing is, you’ve already got so many hours in the game by the time it splits, you don’t really want to abandon it and bin it. See the base? Added too late. Would YOU want to put this in the recycling bin?

So I had set myself a new challenge: how to repair a crack. I’d add a little more clay to the wound – it cracked open again. I soaked the crack to make the clay wet, then reworked it – it cracked open again. I wet it, added slip and put a heavy weight on it – it cracked again. Then I read somewhere to mix toilet paper with slip and make a pulp. Then keep adding the toilet paper pulp to the crack. It started to get smaller. So I added more and waited. Got smaller. I added more and let it dry. It got smaller. But all the time I was saying to myself, “Why are you wasting time on this project? You know it will split wide open in the kiln when it heats up.” Let me tell you why.

A little aside. This was all going on while Dad was in the hospital. So every evening I would get home from spending the day with him, in the Critical Care unit, then an Elderly Care ward, and spend half an hour with this broken pot, trying to fix it. To me it symbolised my Dad. It needed mending, it had to be repaired, and it would be okay. Do you get me? I worked away at this broken thing like my life depended on it.

So back to today. When I opened the kiln, my eyes went straight to the large lampstand, to see whether it had split open and broken again. Want the BEST NEWS? It’s looking a bit patchy, and you can even still see the scar, where I was patching it up. BUT. It held. The split stayed sealed. And I cannot tell you how chuffed I am.

Now I have to gently wet sand it back to smooth. I think there may be a scar, but not a gaping crack. This is far more than just a lampstand…

Dad too. He’s home. Worn out and frail. But he’s on the mend and healing well. Literally. One day at a time.

Back to the kiln! What a haul! Grace and Mark did a fabulous job! All the front row…

And the other ones I was a little sceptical about were the porcelain coffee mugs I made weeks ago. Wasn’t sure the handles would stay on. Remember?

Bottom shelf revealed…Yep! Every one held!

So quite the haul today, for a not filled to the gunnels kiln!

The glazing phase is growing by the kiln load…

But this week it’s Clarity Birthday week on TV. So close the kiln Gray! Ok. Just one more…here’s a little clue…

Stay safe

Love and hugs

Barb xxx

29 thoughts on “What a haul !

  1. OMG they are fabulous Barbara can’t wait to see them glazed, painted and finished. But like you same one step at a time they’ll be finished when they finished x

  2. Wow you are good at this pottery lark aren’t you? I get what you say about your cracked pot……and fingers crossed that your Dad goes on recovering well too x

  3. Oh wow Barbara all your makes are wonderful. Grace will have a lovely time decorating hers. It will be so nice to see her next week. I am so please that your dad is making a good recovery. That time with waiting and hospital visiting is so stressful. It is good that the lampstand stayed mended. Take care. Hugs xxx

  4. Hello Barbara
    Everything looks amazing. So glad your father is improving, it just takes a bit longer the older you get.

  5. What a great haul! Now what clue lies there – an alphabet ? Can’t wait to see what you do with these xx glad to hear your Dad is doing well xx

  6. Oh wow, what a magnificent haul! Grace and Mark obviously inherited the crafty gene from you. I truly believe that the lamp stand holding up is, as you say, connected to your dad and his recovery. That piece will forever have a special meaning for you and I am so pleased that your dad is getting stronger each day.
    Hugs. Annette. X

  7. They look fabulous Barabara. Is there ‘owt you can’t do? Mind you, I learned to play the flute during lockdown! Quite proud of that.
    Well done repairing the crack! Some things are just too important to chuck and I do see why it is important.

    Dave x

  8. Work for me too today, but got a lot done. Love the story of your fragile pot. We all bear a few scars, but the add character and are a reminder of what we have survived! Hope your dad continues to improve daily x

  9. So many lovely creations Barbara well done. Had me going with the story of the cracked pot and your dad being unwell. That will always be special … just like your dad x

  10. A haul indeed. That will take some time to glaze.
    Glad you managed to repair the vase-it will always have special memories for you. Good to hrear your Dad is continuing to improve.
    Looking forward to the Birthday weekend surprises.
    Stay safe.

  11. I just love your pottery and you know what? You’ll keep that lampstand and it will always remind you of why you kept at it. Never give up I always say. So pleased Grace is going to be with you again soon xx Hope your Dad continues to improve and grow stronger each day xx

  12. Your very good at this pottery Barbara a wonderful display,so happy that your lamp base survived and didn’t split open it will always be special to you because of the connection to your Dad. There’s a lot of glazing to be done there but am sure they will look amazing when finished.xx

  13. What a fabulous array of pieces -you certainly are one brilliant lady. Wish I could still go to my pottery classes but our superb teacher had to give up teaching due to ill health and nobody took it over. It was fun while it lasted and I still have a few pieces of work laying around but nothing like your work. I’m so pleased to read that your darling Dad is on the mend too and Gracie is coming home soon so it’s all good news. Hugs – Beryl x

  14. Hi Barbara
    Glad to see the kiln gods have been kind always exciting to see what has survived when the door opens. We took mum to a cream tea today at Mulchelney in aid of the church great turnout. Talking of Mulchelney not sure if you are aware but John Leach passed away today another great potter. Jackie also has a lot of unglazed pots. We also went to a Ritter and Sieve maker today to get a large sieve made to mix up glazes, lovely traditional craft. Glad to hear your Dad continues to improve.
    Love Ruth & Jackie xx

  15. Hello Barb, what an amazing stock of pottery, love the variety of shapes, and oh wow those mugs are super. Glad to hear your Dad is getting better. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  16. Wow that is a great collection of pottery, love the mugs & the lampstand will be a memento of those difficult days that with a little TLC it along with your Dad came through and day by day are getting stronger. Look forward to seeing the finished results from you & Grace.
    Take care, travel gently one day at a time & everything will be alright x

  17. WOW !!!!! What can I say. You will have a lot of fun at the next few step. So pleased the ‘big pot’ stayed healed.

  18. What a wonderful collection of work you have there. So glad it’s all come out well.
    Great that dad’s doing well and hopefully will continue to improve.
    Got everything crossed for you.
    As for your hint, are you going to offer personalised stamps? That would be great. So happy the Shack is
    back. Looking forward to some interesting doodles.
    Don’t overdo do it though, we all need you to keep well.

  19. Dear Barbara, so pleased to hear your Dad is improving. You have a wonderful collection of pottery. Very clever.
    Glad your going to have Grace back again. Take care. Xxxxx

  20. Well done, they all look amazing don’t know how you fit it all in. So pleased you have pottery to “throw” you into oblivion to cope.
    Look forward to meeting up on Thursday for the Shac Shack x

  21. Wow they are just great and they symbolise so much for you and your family through a very difficult time you can resonate with the lamp stand I am sure xx
    Glad all going along okay and looking forward to birthday weekend xx

  22. Wow Barbara I am impressed. Glad your dad is improving, baby steps but he will get there. Lovely that grace is coming home again,

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