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yesterday was a butterfly day. the buddhlias in my garden had about forty big peacocks, a couple of commas and one red admiral.

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it’s worth having buddhlias just for the butterfly show, even though they have to be cut right back every spring and disposing of the prunings is a nuisance.

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our early morning walk in strong sunshine revealed a wall brown, basking on a wall, true to its name.

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I haven’t identified one of these before. in Cake’s Lane there were plenty of speckled woods flitting around. an eighteenth century name for this butterfly was wood argus, after the character in greek mythology with many eyes.

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I managed to catch a female meadow brown resting in the sunshine too; maybe a sunny early morning is a better time to photograph butterflies as they sunbathe before starting the serious business of the day.

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I cleared the table in the workshop, put all the anagama pots on one side and started making again. there is a lot of grey stoneware clay to use up which I bought and mixed before I got started on the iron-rich darker stuff, so it takes a little thought about glazing and firing. however, I have hardly any really big pots that I like at the moment, so that’s the next project. on Thursday I made two rectangular platters in this clay, the sides bent up by supporting them with rolls of bubble wrap, with porcelain inlay and scraped on. of course the difference between this clay body and the porcelain, especially under a glaze, is very subtle.

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it looks like quite a lot when the clay is wet like this, but fired its more the quality of the surface, and under a glaze that’s not so visible, nor is the blue-white of porcelain against grey to buff to toasty clay body depending on the atmosphere in the kiln. still, subtle is always good. and if I use the barium glaze, with a lot of copper glaze in the firing, over porcelain it turns a pale turquoise green.

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its hard to see the shape in a photo, but basically they are flat bottomed with the sides turned up. with these rectangular shapes the biggest problem is getting them to dry and fire with the flat bottom staying even.

my first big bottle of this series – just plain, and seriously near collapse during the first stage of making.

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