I have had a good run over the last two weeks, making two medium sized pots from a six or seven kilo piece of clay, plus a small bowl every day.

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one day I made four, but that was actually a bit much and I ended up with a very sore back. I’m getting old.

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I have made the same shape over and over, with the clay quite soft; it’s half crank and half a speckled throwing stoneware clay with some sand thrown in, and as it stiffens up it becomes a bit unmanageable, so I worked with it as soft as possible, rolling the slab out first thing, getting the walls up by lunchtime, and then finishing them in the late afternoon or early evening. it turned out to be a nice rhythm of work, allowing for other things to be done in between.

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it felt reasonably under control, though the clay didn’t always.

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I was making bottles and flagons of my usual shape, a flattened oval base, and domed shoulder

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and small neck or spout. some had clematis stem impressions (influenced by my favourite from the last firing).

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a couple had combed lines

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which will take the oxide well if that’s what I end up doing with them ..

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but some will go into Nic Collins’ four day wood firing in the summer, and niches on the surface to collect melting ash would be useful.

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I tried to make the incised lines as free as I could

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the freest lines are in nature though, and I went back to the clematis stems several times.

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these little stem bowls were made with the leftover bits and pieces and are pretty rough and chunky. definitely for woodfiring.

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so now I have twenty four bottles drying that will end up about eleven inches tall, to bisc fire in May when I get back from Spain, and some of them will be glazed and get to Hatfield Art in Clay in early July. I would like to make some more as these are all in the same flecky clay, and really I need a variety of clay body colour, from dark to light, to work with various glazes and expand the colour repertoire. but I’m very happy with the shape, I think it’s satisfyingly soft and plump with the elegant neck shape – very feminine – good pots should have a confluence with the human body.

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