A new look for the Studio

Thanks to the Parish Council supporting our application to remove the existing up-and-over garage door from the old Toll House, we were granted permission and asked local carpenter John French to construct a new look for the pottery.

Last week the Toll House looked like this.

This is how things have changed. The work is still in progress but at least I have light and a new display area - and the damp and draughts in my studio are now a thing of the past.

Investigating spinning and weaving

When Christine recently joined a local weaving class, I was immediately fascinated by wool, yarn and their possibilities. I remember weaving a little at art school in my late teens. It was all coming back to me.

We both began by working on simple tapestry weaving frames. This was my first attempt, soon abandoned.

Christine decided she was hooked on the tapestry form of weaving, that is without a fixed heddle loom.

Before long, her first small weaving was hanging on a wall.

I wanted to spin my own wool from scratch and a friend had given me an unwashed Jacob's fleece. We spent quite a while preparing and washing it. Then it was carded by hand ready for spinning on a drop spindle.

The first hank was stretched and then dried by the Rayburn, weighted so as to remove the twist which occurs while spinning.

Spinning on a drop spindle is a nice quiet pastime but the results are slow and hurt my shoulders.
I progressed to a Kromsky Sonata wheel from Wingham Wool Works.

At intervals I introduced a few strands of colourful pre-carded wool tops which Christine still had in her felting stash.

Next stage: a Kromsky 32in rigid heddle loom.

Warping-up is time-consuming but a lot of fun.

The weaving begins, the idea being to practice some of the patterns that are achievable with this type of loom.

My first piece of work makes a very handsome scarf/shawl.

It also may become a small throw for the sofa - when I get around to making the other half!

Since then, I have experimented with differing heddles and warp thickness and have produced a colourful scarf - to be worn by either of us.
I have bundles of Blue-faced Leicester and Shetland which I'll be spinning with coloured tops to make my own yarns for my next project.

Photographs by Christine West

New direction

These photos of my new work in the glazing stage yesterday. I am firing today so we will see the end result tomorrow!!

Something different

An interesting order came from one of my long- established clients recently.

The design for this egg cooker, originally from America, takes me back to the 60s when side handles were so often seen on table- and cookware. These little lidded dishes are pleasant to throw and have several uses.

They can be used in a microwave to poach eggs, to cook omelettes, baked apples or onions, to steam vegetables with the minimum of water or to make porridge in moments.

Orders can be placed in my shop and will be sent with a recipe leaflet.