Hard Hats, please.

It has been a while since I checked in on the work being done on our new home and so I was really excited when I arrived yesterday to find that, despite the apparent devastation, the corner of my studio has already been mapped out: particularly as it seems as though I might have space to get my friends round for making days – the space is about 4 times as large as the half studio which I began with only five years ago when I shared with Regina and we each squeezed into our part of a small space at Wimbledon.  Whilst I had seen it on the plans and knew how large it would be, now it is actually appearing on the ground this new space feels as if it is going to be sheer luxury!

20161029_102459
Its going to be sheer luxury!

 

Possibly even more exciting was the activity around the other side of the house.  We had rather expected that the crumbly shale close to the road extended down the hill and that, when we knocked down the existing terrace to make way for our bedrooms on the lower ground floor, we would have a major underpinning job to do.  So it was with huge relief (and much cheerful patting of our wallet) that we discovered that the builders had dug straight into wonderful, glutinous, golden yellow clay.  Not only does this make to construction of the extension easier – apparently this is really good for building on – but I can hardly wait to get making now: my very own clay pit!  It seems we need a large scale geological map of this place so we can find out exactly where the change occurs.

 

20161029_115412
My very own claypit

Of course I was always going to create something from whatever came out of our foundations.  After all, that is what I do.  But now the opportunities are immense.  Whilst I am not sure that I can make enough use of this clay to solve the issue of removing a few tonnes of material around (and away from) the site, I have been spent most of the night dreaming  of the experiments that I can do and the pieces which I can make from Watersmeet clay.

 

And as for landfill: well we have been drawing up plans to use as much as we can within our boundaries so watch out for a series of terraces and steps to get around different areas of the garden in order to enjoy our amazing view from various different angles.

garden-planning_edited-1
Where can we put all this subsoil?

 

 

Invitations to come and stay in Cornwall for making weeks will be forthcoming ‘drekly’!

A Punting We Will Go . . .

Cambridge_-_Punting_in_Cambridge_-_1690[1]Cambridge, a summers day, sunlight filtering through willow trees – get the picture?  Well what else would one do but take a punt and go up the river to Grantchester for a picnic in the meadows?  It simply has to be done.  And so we did it.  Despite the cross wind, which made the punting awkward even for hardy boating types, we got to the meadows and settled down to share our feast.  The punt was tethered by its pole but not tethered enough it would seem as, only a few olives into the hors d’oeuvres it gently drifted from its resting place and took off across the river.

Enter the nephew – a strapping young lad – who leaped to his feet, plunged into the river and recovered our (un)trusty vessel.  Everyone was full of praise. delighted that our return trip to the city was no longer in jeopardy and handing him an extra piece of sausage for his troubles.  I, on the other hand, was staring at his legs.  He was covered in the most exquisitely smooth looking clay!  muddy feet 2[1]

In a flash the cheese had been removed from the safety of its sandwich bag and I was down on all fours in front of my nephew’s feet.  The next thing I knew, his father took pity on him and, in order to prevent the embarrassment of having your aunt scraping the mud off your legs with a butter knife, said father grabbed the bag and hot-footed it down to the river bank returning with a deliciously glutinous mass; cold to the touch and wonderfully squashy.

I am reliably told that in the Cambridge University Engineering Department, the mathematical models for soil are categorised from gravel to sand to silt to clay.  At the two ends of the spectrum they decided to develop mathematical behaviours for ‘Granta Gravel’ and ‘Cam Clay’.  To be honest, this may be of huge importance to the world of soil mechanics but as far as I am concerned I am simply agog to know how it is going to behave in my kiln.