A very special gift.

Wedding. Special anniversary. Milestone birthday.

How can you mark these most important events?

Commissioned bowl for special birthday present.  Porcelain and soil from a farm in Monmouthshire

My most recent commission began with an email but it could have been someone filling in the contact form on my website or, back in the pre Covid era, it might have been a conversation at a craft fair. But the journey begins.

Someone is looking for a unique way of saying something.

Porcelain lasts for generations and has always been linked to ideas of value and beauty. The idea of immortalising a place and combining it with these messages is special. They get in touch.

We discuss the person, the celebration and the place, we talk time scales and budgets. We think about shape and groupings – one piece or several? What will work in the space they have in mind?

They might send me photos of the location. They definitely send me a small freezer bag of soil.

This is the important part.
 soil with rich organic matter

Dig deep. Don’t send me your best garden soil, wriggling with microbes and full of leaf mould. Organic matter burns in the kiln and if there is too much, the finished piece might be full of holes!

I need the subsoil – what lies beneath. It might look like rubbish to Monty Don but to me it is gold! This is what contains the minerals which will colour your bowl. This is what identifies the place.

test piece incorporating soil from the garden of a house near Truro

I ask for a deposit of £50 at this stage. Once I receive it I will test your soil. I will make trial pieces and check for chalk or limestone which, if present, I have to remove. Once I am happy I will let you know that we are ready for the ‘main make’ and will confirm shapes and sizes.

I will keep you informed throughout the project and will send you photos at several stages.

trying out images of cricketers and the club logo on a commission for Teddington Cricket Club
Will you add an image?

A map or a line of text can work well but it can be too much. Sometimes the piece works better without adornment. I can print your images onto transparent film and try them before we make the final decision.

When the work is finished I will send you images to check that you are content. Then I will invoice you. Finally, I will pack your beautiful, unique, personal artwork using biodegradable wrapping and recycled packaging and pop it in the post.

I love making unique pieces for people to incorporate their special memories and personal stories. I can’t wait to get started on yours!

If you would like to commission me please get in touch via email or my contact form. You can also buy a gift certificate which lets the recipient make all the decisions for themselves.

Creativity in Lockdown

I know that I am not struggling half as much with lockdown as some. I know that I am one of the lucky ones and that, for me, this time means more peace and quiet, less charging about and more time to create. If I am honest though, it isn’t as simple as that. So I am extremely grateful to have been asked to work on a couple of specific projects in the last few weeks: things to focus the mind and stop it raging back and forth over all the issues we, and I, face.

First one of the galleries which stocks my work approached me to ask about the practicalities of making a range of upmarket desk sets. This has been a real joy! Somehow creating on a small scale seemed to be just the thing: I needed to find some purpose again and small felt good.

Porcelain ink wells with added clay from the River Thames

Designing and making inkwells has been giving me so much joy

Then, a few days ago I was contacted by a man who wanted a special birthday present for his wife. He had seen my work in a gallery and wondered if I could use clay from his garden to make a commission for her. The house was not far and so I agreed to a socially distanced site visit. The garden was large and wild with a wonderful selection of materials. A soft grey clay with a fantastic texture; tiny pebbles lay on the bed of a stream like jewels; further down, in the woods, the clay was a deep reddish brown and it sucked at my wellies as a walked. Armed with a trowel and a fistful of sandwich bags I waded in and soon had a vast selection of materials to add to the porcelain which forms the main structure of my work.

Burnished porcelain with added colour from clay found at the bottom of a garden

The rhythmic scraping of the clay to reveal the strata of colour and to perfect the shape of the piece as it dries is always absorbing.

Today I have been fettling the first piece for this commission. Time has passed in a dream state. I realise, with some surprise, that I had spent the entire morning not thinking about anything other than clay. I feel restored!