wood-firing in Devon part two – being there


the Barn Pottery is just outside Moretonhampstead, in a little valley, north Dartmoor, and it’s surrounded by beautiful views and walks. mostly quite steep walks. I used to find I would feel fitter after a week there crewing for Nic, but this time I didn’t have time – or energy – for much walking,


just up the lane and down the lane a short way, narrow lanes walled and filled with greenery, a lot of fern and bracken especially.


oak, sycamore, alder, horse chestnut, hazels – a tree-ed landscape. especially stunning is the drive from Exeter, if you take the non-heavy vehicles road, which takes you down into wooded valleys, up onto rounded grassy hilltops, and along roads that overhang rivers, lined with trees.


my big tent, a ditch in front, and the stream on the left, that borders Nic and Sabine’s little field


their house is a small barn that Nic started to convert as he moved in; it’s gradually been changed over the years, so that instead of the workshop being downstairs, there’s now a living room, and an upstairs bathroom, and the workshop is in a separate cob building (cob is mud and straw, a traditional material supported by a wood frame) with student/visitor accommodation above that. their deerhound puppy Bryn


and old Rhodey the lurcher


enjoy their outdoor life, spreading themselves outside in the sun, curling up in sheltered spots in inclement weather, and joining the family around the fire indoors or out.


if you visit you will find pots everywhere; Nic uses his drive as a showroom, and Sabine’s domestic wares snuggle up with his rugged pieces.


Nic is well known for Throwing Large and his big, and even huge, jars stand about everywhere


but he also makes quieter work, small bowls with leaves imprinted into slip (an old Devon decorative technique)


and jugs and mugs with these lovely blackbird and blackberry sprigs


recently branching out into large tiles using the same sprigs.


nothing is precious here, and Nic and Sabine taught me that using beautiful handmade pots everyday in the kitchen and on the table is a life-enhancing thing to do. the first time I went they had a set of 6 earthenware plates by Clive Bowen, with his glowing yellowy translucent ochre glaze, not thrown but pressed, thick with a shallow curve. there are two left now.


perhaps a giant paella? but this one is destined to live outside on a specially made oak stand in Suffolk ….


you can see more of Nic and his work here  and Sabine here


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