last week I brought back ten bags of clay from Bath Potters, which had to go through the pugmill to make a tough grogged mix for handbuilding, with a good spottiness that isn’t too even. this is hard, heavy work and my hands and wrists do not enjoy it. added to which even the shed verandah is warm, and the workshop where the resulting mix has to be knocked up into blocks is about 35C.


the trusty pugmill has to be taken apart and cleaned out first, as I don’t use it often enough to keep the clay left in it soft, despite plastic bags at entrance and exit.


the convenience of standardised clay sold in bags is enormous, but they are heavy bags (12.5K) and of course, mixing up a clay to use that is not standardised makes for better pots.


and there is a bucket or two of reclaim clay to put in with the mix as well, stiffer than you’d think despite topping up with water at regular intervals. there’s always a bit of organic matter in there too. some of that clay must have been in the bucket for at least a year.


so, the pugmill makes a horrible racket, doesn’t have an on and off switch, nor a guard on the feeder hopper –


due caution has to be observed with that greedy maw. the operative gets basically pretty much covered in clay, especially when dealing with the reclaim bucket. sand and/or grog (small particles of already fired fireclay to brace up the pot bodies and make them behave better when fired) has to be added as well. gritty hands get sore on the lever that pushes the hopper plate down.


the reward – fifteen big blocks of clay from which to make some more big bottles which I’ll glaze with the suedey rusty matt ash glaze.

afterwards, a hose down, and garden watering


the garden is full of butterflies, they come for the honey-scented buddleias. but at night, the honeysuckle brings moths


the heavy scented star-gazer lily needs care and attention to keep off the lily beetles – worth it when it comes into flower.


these tiger lilies seem to be immune – but they have no scent


my goodness they are stunning …


echinaceas – not doing so well this year –


the little rose climbing to new heights since it was released from its pot ..


and those good old reliable dahlias, taking up half the flowerbed.