just as I am leaving, temperatures have risen, the sun has come out and the garden is beginning to put on a spurt of growth. the beauty of bath apple tree has an enormous number of flower buds on it, and by the time I come back all the cowslips will have finished and this blackthorn blossom will be over.

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spring has been very dry in Extremadura and the grass is already beginning to die back, I am told; I hope April brings some rain.

my firing at the weekend was a bit of a mixed bag. I had made a house name plate for Casa Alfarera, but it was a disaster, badly shattered in the firing

back to the drawing board. I think it is not necessary to mix the sand and rock from the finca into the clay, I can sprinkle it on the surface and press it in with the rolling pin. that will help reduce the tendency to break up. also using a more opened up base clay will help, so I will add lots of coarse grog next time. if that doesn’t work it will have to be split up into four sections. its a shame, it would have looked perfect for the finca gateway, and now I won’t be able to have a name plate up until I go another time which most likely will be December.

I fired the first really large dish I had made for the Salt of the Earth exhibition in Salthouse church which will be in July. although it is not quite what I had in mind, the thinner glaze, and the more matt surface, I think, are really beautiful, and I love the crawl pattern on the overlap section, which looks like gulls swooping and flying over a fishing boat’s wake.

I made some more pieces with the earth of Extremadura mixed into St Thomas reduction stoneware clay, and none had any shattering or exploding problems. this is the best one, the copper/tin/dolomite glaze has worked really well and the little knobbles of feldspar give it a great crunchy crusty look.

this is another way to make a dish with slabs, and I think I am going to try a few more.

I also fired a bottle in the same mix with no glaze.

which I like quite a lot. I am taking these two pieces to Spain to leave in the house. I will be coming back with bags of this sand and rock.

the firing was probably quite a strong reduction and I as was putting the copper glaze on thinly I have some interesting effects as though the flame was passing over parts of some pots. this one has a wash of pinker coloration down the right hand side, which I like.

and this one, which is made in the refined white stoneware which I find difficult to get a good glaze on, has a wonderful orange with this mottled area on this side and on the other side the same orange with some green flow marks where the glaze is thicker, having dribbled out of a gap near the central spout.

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a lot of food for thought and indications of further directions to go in. here’s the link for the rest