Tuesday, 18 March 2014

And now for something completely different...


made by yours truly!

You may remember in my birthday post, my craft group friends gifted to me a one-hour pottery lesson. This is the result!

These are my vessels – yes, vessels, that is the term you have to use – it sounds very arty and creative to my ears. Don’t dare call them cups or little pots, these are works of art crafted by my very own hands, glazed with love!

What a fun lesson! Milland Pottery is located in the South Downs National Park, an absolutely stunning rural location. I knew I was in for a treat, even if I just sat at the wheel and stared out at the Downs for an hour!

But soon I was turning red earthenware clay on the wheel, guided by the expert ceramicist’s hands:

Here she is at the wheel, helping to centre my lumpy pot vessel. I honestly thought I’d just have a go at the wheel, make a big mess, then go home. But oh no! I got to play with the clay, using lots of water and adjusting the spinning rate of the wheel. I learned how to centre the clay so that I could push my thumb in and make an actual shape. Within that very hour I had crafted not one but two pieces!

The feel of the clay as it thinned and grew in my hands was wonderful. This was a very tactile experience; I could feel where I used too much pressure, where I needed to be firmer with the clay – you can “read” a piece of pottery by looking at the sides. Of course experts have those beautiful, smooth sides, and I have a new-found, extreme appreciation for this art.

I love the little rounded one, I hadn’t intended for it to take that shape, but the clay had its own ideas...

I went back the following week to glaze my little earthenware babies. I looked around the pottery, admiring the various colours and techniques, and decided to do one in a two-colour brushed glaze, and the other with a soft aqua interior and cobalt exterior.

The brushed glaze is created with a very delicate touch of a glaze-laden brush onto the spinning pot:

Somehow these chalky whites and pale green glazes transform into gorgeous blues and vivid greens when fired...
I carefully applied the soft aqua glaze inside the other pot, then was ready to dip-glaze the exterior. This is done by holding the pot upside-down and dunking it very swiftly into a big bucket of blue glaze.

All well and good, until my index finger instinctively reached into the pot to steady it, because it felt unnatural to invert a delicate clay vessel and plunge it into a bucket of thick goo.

So I had one big blue dot inside my little work of art. Ugh. I thought I’d have to make childish polka dots all around the inside of the piece and make excuses about my inexperience.

But my instructor had better ideas, which is why I find lessons in arts and crafts so invaluable – personal experiences and tips that really make a difference in how a skill is learned! She suggested I dip my hand in the glaze and flick it inside the pot, making a splattered appearance. This would look much more intentional, and less like a mistake...

This was a wonderful experience, and one I definitely will repeat. There is so much more I want to do, to try and to make! In fact, we celebrated another craft group’s birthday by giving her the same voucher, and I have a feeling we’ll have one of our monthly sessions at the pottery soon...

Happy crafting!
Chrissie x


  1. wow! your pots, sorry vessels, are amazing! I love the shape and the glazes. I'm dying to have a go at throwing on a wheel.

  2. I've always wanted to have a go at some pottery and your lovely post makes me want to even more. I love your vessels, yes I would have called them pots too, and the colours are really lovely. You must be super proud of yourself Chrissie.
    Kate x

  3. Hey what a great experience, looks like you had loads of fun and two beautiful pots into the bargain. Jo x

  4. They both look fantastic! I love your vessels, and you are right that sounds way more artsy than a pot.
    Hugs to you,

  5. what an amazing present and I'm very impressed with your vessels - both the shape and the glaze!

  6. What a fabulous post and how I adore your little 'vessels'!
    love Jooles x x x

  7. Wonderful !
    I love your little pots of loveliness..
    I remember going to pottery lessons when my children were small...
    I created a pretty cottage and my teacher commented that she hadn't seen one with coloured lilac and pink pebbles leading up the path...I like this...It was my dream cottage...I really loved my lessons, thank you for reminding me of this, Chrissy!
    Wishing your week to be as lovely as you are...
    Hugs Maria x

  8. Amazing Chrissie!!!! they are beautiful!
    xx Shari

  9. Great vessels Chrissie !! They are lovely, the glaze is amazing. I can imagine how enjoyable it would be to get your hands into the clay.
    V x

  10. C that looks like so so much fun...gorgeous colours.....love d x

  11. wow that looks amazing what a treat I'll love to have a go, the colours are gorgeous I really love them both, you did a great job
    Clare xx

  12. Beautiful vessels in stunning colours ... looks like a lot of fun ... Bee xx

  13. Oh wow clever you. Is there no end to your talents. There beautiful you must be very happy x

  14. Aw Chrissie, your vessels are beautiful! Sounds and looks like such a special experience and thanks for the lovely pics and insights into this wonderful craft; you did a great job! Have yourself a great week! Joy xo

  15. They're so pretty, Chrissie. You did a great job with them. I took a ceramics course in high school and we threw pots on the wheel for one part of the class but I always wished we could spend more time doing it. I'm glad you had a nice time and made pretty things too. :)

  16. what a great gift! Love the colours you chose x

  17. Well done, they're beautiful! It's always something I've wanted to have a go at too. It's one of those things that look so straight forward and easy to do, but actually is incredibly hard. Skilled hands can make anything look easy though!

    S x

  18. What a great gift. Pottery is definitely something I would love to have a go at. I find hand thrown pottery (probably not the right term apologies) very tactile.

  19. Really nice !!!! A great experience with two lovely result !
    Have a nice day ! Thinking of what you might do next time !

  20. They are beautiful! Well done. I have signed up for a pottery class starting 1st May. Cannot wait! Anna x

  21. I love your pots. They look fab. x

  22. They are beautiful, Chrissie, lovely shapes and colours. Well done!
    Helen xox

  23. How chuffed you must have felt to have achieved two "vessels" (!) in an hour, well done you! I love their sweet shapes, and the blue glaze is lovely. Like the aqua inside too,spots and all!
    Sounds like it was great fun, and I'm sure you'll be heading back for more.........
    Gill xx

  24. They're really lovely and I bet it was great fun!! the blue glaze is gorgeous, the perfect blue! Sarah xo

  25. That looks so much fun! You've done really well - I have never seen more lovelier vessels! What a wonderful gift from your friends, I would love to try that some day, Sam xx

  26. They are really beautiful Chrissie! And it it looks and sounds like you really enjoyed the workshop too.
    Marianne x

  27. That is what I call a fabulous birthday present. You did very well in just an hour .....great results too. I do like the blue one and the dots make it all that much more unique.

    keep well

    Amanda x

  28. Anonymous7:34 am GMT

    Fabulous pots, what a brilliant Birthday present. I really like the two tone glaze one.

  29. They're both gorgeous though the stripy vessel is my favourite - gotta love anything with stripes! Sounds like a great day and a wonderful gift idea - I much prefer giving and receiving things like that rather than just more stuff. We were lucky to have a ceramics workshop at school but I never got the chance to have a go at casting on a wheel - would have loved that. I don't have any of the pots I made though or should I say lumpen bits of clay - pot or vessel is far too good a word - fun though. x

  30. I just left a message but something went a bit wrong with the interweb so leaving another, apologies if you get two ... sounds like you had a great day, what a lovely birthday present. Fabulous 'vessels', great colours, especially the stripey one. Well done you, be proud!
    Jane x

  31. Wow, what a great experience and what a pretty result!! Well done!
    Love from Mirjam.

  32. What a great idea for a birthday present! They look very similar to some yarn bowls I've seen - perfect for your next pottery project ;-) X