Hello, I hope you are all doing well and adapting ok to the current way of life.
I am working away as normal but have been feeling pretty helpless and wondering what I can do to make a difference. Inspired by DyeCandy (a fabulous yarn dyer from Randalstown) who is raising money for the Coronavirus Relief Fund, I decided to make a batch of Leopard Print Mugs. They will be available on the website tomorrow night (Wednesday 8th April) at 7pm. My intention is to donate £8 from each mug sold and raise some money to help the fabulous NHS staff who are looking after our loved ones so selflessly.
I have a few different designs. They are all completely unique as they are hand painted. In the words of my friends ” These are possibly the most ‘jud’ mugs ever. I love them!” and “It had to happen at some point!” I agree, they are very me and it had to happen at some point, and its happening now! Well… I mean it will be happening tomorrow night, at 7pm.
Time feels like it is moving faster than ever, but the
slower approach I am taking towards work this year is beginning to suit me just
fine. Physically I am feeling the benefits. My hand and elbow are no longer swollen
and sore from RSI. I am slowly changing how I work, making smaller batches of
pots, and therefore dramatically reducing the amount of hours I am spending in
the workshop. I have been making plenty of time for swimming and I even went
Kayaking again at sunrise. It was incredible. The only negative is if I am not
in the workshop or out and about doing fun things I am spending more time in
the house = a massive heating bill!
Focusing on myself a bit more – I have always wanted to experiment with animal print pattern on ceramics, just for me. I LOVE it, but I never set time aside to do it before. I am happy with how my attempts are developing so far and totally delighted with the response on social media, it seems that a lot of people love leopard print as much as me! The designs are still very much at the developing stage and I will keep working on them until I can get them exactly how I want them, as I would love to make some to sell.
My usual “just get on with it” approach didn’t give me time and space i needed to think before, but this change of pace is helping me realise that sometimes you do just need to stop. With everything that is going on in the world at the minute, I feel there may be more of a forced break coming soon but for now I have made my plan for the year and I am going to stick to it as best I can.
My first part of the plan was to simplify my product range a bit. I will no longer be making espresso cups or dessert bowls so for the first time ever I am having a sale. Yes! That’s right… a SALE. Woohoo! I am aware it’s probably not the best time to have a sale as people are shopping for essential items but these products are being discontinued and can stay in the sale until they are sold! You can find them in my online shop.
In April I hope to be launching my Spring/Summer Range – Pastel Dreamscape. I am very excited about it! It is currently being photographed for the website, so expect some bright cheery colours coming your way soon.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about my job and my business, like so many people in this unpredictable situation, but I am counting my blessings that I work from home, alone and for the foreseeable future I’m just going to try and keep doing what I do with my chin up. To make sure you don’t miss out on all the latest information please sign up to my blog.
Last Autumn I got a new business neighbour on the farm.
Outdoor Explore moved into the barn beside my workshop. I first met Piotr from Outdoor Explore a few years ago when I went on a Night Kayaking Tour with some friends. It was brilliant and I had always intended to go again, but you know how life just moves on and you don’t make time to do the things you want to…?
Well, not long after he moved in, Piotr asked me to make
some little cups for his kayaking tours. Even though I don’t do commissions
anymore, of course I agreed!
I made some espresso sized tumblers with no handles, and
glazed them in my green polka dot style, to keep with the outdoor theme.
To see my pots in action, Piotr said he would take me on a Sunrise
Kayak Tour. We set off one morning last week. It was a very cold, but dry
morning. There was no wind, so perfect kayaking conditions. There was a glimmer
of pink in the sky glowing in the wing mirrors as we drove to Loch Tummel. I
When we arrived we got kitted out in our waterproofs and
life jackets and started to paddle down the loch. It was quite cloudy so the
pink sky I’d hoped to see did not appear. The water was so clam in some parts
it was like glass and the trees along the shore reflected beautifully. At some
points you could see a snowy mountain top peeking through too, and even in the
distance Glencoe. After paddling for about an hour we stopped and had
breakfast. I had packed croissants, fruit and flapjacks, Piot provided the
Picnic boards, a flask of coffee and my cups.
It was so nice to experience using my own pottery in a completely
different setting to normal. The cups are perfect to wrap your hands around and
help warm up cold fingers. If I didn’t have to make pottery I wish I could eat
breakfast like this every morning! Can you imagine eating breakfast in a kayak,
on a loch, listening to the birds and waterfalls? Just bliss.
Not only is Outdoor Explore passionate about kayaking, but the trip was made even more interesting with stories and historical facts about the loch and surrounding area. Piotr is also championing local independent businesses. When he provides the food for his trips he uses the local Deli, Cornerstone. The coffee is supplied by Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters, and it’s all served on specially made Picnic Boards made by Highwood Furniture, and of course the cups made by me!
This was such a fabulous morning last week and one thing
that impressed me most was when it was time to leave I managed to paddle the
whole way back to shore without knocking anything of my picnic board! This
might not have been the case had it been windy!
If you are near Perthshire and up for an adventure I cannot recommend Outdoor Explore enough!
I’m back in the workshop now, working on new designs and
dreaming of my next kayaking expedition and I can’t wait!
I always try and start each New Year with a positive attitude and a list of goals, both business and personal. This year is no exception but I already know I have faffed about all last week, eating biscuits and feel bad about not being as productive as normal.
I had a long list of little things to do, so it meant I only
made 30 pots, and to me that is really bad compared to my usual production
In 2018 out of curiosity I kept a record of how many pots I
made during the year. I was shocked adding it all up to discover I made 4099
pieces of pottery! Obviously not all of them made it to a finished piece, a lot
ended up as seconds or in the bin, but it made me re-evaluate how many hours I
spend in my workshop. In 2019 I decided to try and make less than the year
before. I did achieve this, but only 379 pots less, that’s approximately 2 weeks’
worth of throwing. I think I spent those 2 weeks wild swimming, so I suppose that’s
As busy as last year was, I know I absolutely benefited from
squeezing in a bit more me time. My Repetitive Strain Injury in October proved
to me that I cannot keep pushing my body as hard as I do. So, if I can make
even less again this year I think that would be a great idea! I’ve just got to be
even more organised and strict at finishing work, closing the door behind me and
switching off. I will also have to try
hard at changing my mind-set, so that I don’t feel bad if I do only make 30
pots in 1 week!
What I did actually do last week was work on some new
designs which I will hopefully share with you in February. Thankfully I got
these glazed before my kiln decided to give up on me yesterday. Unfortunately
all my customer orders that I made were in the firing but I’m keeping my
fingers crossed that they are not destroyed. The electrician is coming later
today and I really hope he can fix it! Oh man, ceramics is so stressful at
I also restocked my shop in the barn wall for any passing
customers this winter.
On Friday I got the potters wheel of my dreams! I have wanted one since I learned how to throw at University. I had to do a bit of rearranging in the workshop as it’s the size of a horse! (a small horse) and it doesn’t even squeak so I can hear the radio again when I’m throwing = throwing heaven. My workshop was small to begin with, but I could definitely do with a bigger one now, something I really should consider in the near future.
I think that’s you up to date. I hope January is going well for you and you haven’t been faffing around like me! One other goal is to stop procrastinating…at least by the end of January!
PS: thanks for all your lovely messages over Christmas. I’m delighted to hear you liked your presents! PPS: 2 dates in my diary so far… I’ll be back at Potfest Scotland and Potfest in the Pens this year! Yay!
Woohooo! Market season has finished for me! I cannot believe how busy this year has been. In some ways it feels like its been a really long year, but also like it has flown by! I’m just finishing off a few commissions this week, doing some admin (schmadmin) and this morning I unpacked the car and added whats left onto the website – just in time for last orders TOMORROW!
I know I say thanks a lot, but I really do mean it. Thanks so much to everyone who has helped me in any way this year. To anyone who has done a delivery, wrapped an order, gone to the post office, looked after Albert for me, carried a crate, manned my stand… the list is endless.
Thanks to all my stockists for your continued support and to the organisers of the markets and events who always work so hard behind the scenes.
Also thank you to you, my customers, who say really nice things and buy my pottery as without you I would not be able to thank the people in the paragraphs above or do a job that I love.
So really it is just big fat thank yous all round.
Since last year I have been inundated with requests for more Grey & Gold pottery. I deliberated for ages whether I should make more as I initially released it as a Limited Edition but then I thought “why not?” There are no set rules in this self employment, and why should I deprive you of something that you want?! So as a wee special treat I have made a few pieces. I only glazed a small amount as I’ve had about 90 million other things to do (not an exaggeration) So if you want one, be quick!
There are some mugs, small mugs and espresso mugs available here. I’m considering making more, maybe making this a permanent colour range? but I need to have a good think about it next year.
*Reminder alert* – Any orders placed after Tuesday 17th will not be processed until January. Last postage is Wednesday 18th December.
Christmas is approaching fast and I have been beavering away in the workshop. Only 2 events left and I’m sure I can see a tiny Christmas light twinkling at the end of the tunnel.
Some news – My new “Small Breakfast Bowls” have been proving very popular at the markets and I am very pleased to add them to my product range. I have just added some onto the website and they are available to purchase here. They are a size in between my “Small Bowl” and my “Breakfast Bowl”, perfect for a small bowl of porridge or delicious homemade granola. The perfect size for mums, well, my mum anyway! Apologies if this makes decision making even more difficult in the bowl department.
My Hanging Planters are also available online too. You can shop for them here.
CHRISTMAS POST – All online orders must be placed by Tuesday 17th December as the last Tea with Jud post run is on Wednesday 18th December. I will then be closing up the workshop and any orders placed after that will not be processed until I return to work January.
My last 2 events of the year are this weekend – at Abernyte Brewery Christmas Market, and next weekend I will be at the Bowhouse in Fife with Tea green Events. These markets are my absolute favourite! They are packed full of independent designers, makers, bakers, brewers etc… and the most delicious food to eat. They have a really lovely atmosphere and I cannot wait to see what treats await me so I can finish off my Christmas shopping too! Hopefully I will see you there.
I cannot believe how fast this year is going! You may remember I told you a while ago I was embarking on a Tea pot Challenge with a fellow potter penni.q.pottery from Australia. Our main objective was to improve our making skills, tackling a different theme each month. I feel like I explored a lot of different ideas and pushed myself to try new techniques.
For the 6 Teapot Challenges, I got really excited and enthusiastic
at the beginning of the month, but as I was only making 1 Teapot each time I
usually ran into problems. This confirmed to me how important it is to let
ideas develop naturally, over time, and to make more than 1! A 4 week time
constraint is definitely not ideal in ceramics, with the drying and firing
Themes included Sculpture, Free Reign, Wooden Handle, Pattern and Shape. You can read more about each one in detail on Instagram. The idea in my head usually turned out not how I wanted it to, sometimes better, but mainly worse – especially Teapot 5, my sculptural effort! I’m still so embarrassed I made something so horrendously ugly!
Even if I wasn’t always happy with the results I loved the
freedom of making something completely different from my normal pottery range. I
did really enjoy this project and it has definitely given me lots of ideas for
future designs, but I am so glad it’s over now!
My next challenge is surviving the Christmas making madness!
My hand is feeling a lot better now as I have been taking it a bit easier, although
by doing so I am now trying not to stress about how little work I have made! I
promise there will be a website update with more stock at some point, but I’m
not entirely sure when.
I’m finishing off a shop order for Honest Thistle in Pitlochry, which will be heading their way next week, and then Indie Zeb are last on my list. That’s it. I can hopefully meet any other pottery needs online or at my festive markets. Speaking of which, I’ll be at Urban Market in Glasgow this weekend, 12 – 5 on Saturday and Sunday. I’m really excited to see the new venue, The Dockyard Social in Finnestion. Woohoo! Maybe I will see you there and you can tell me which Teapot is your favourite!
Since returning from my short break in September I have been working like an absolute machine. Everything was on schedule until last week when I got a pain in my hand going up to my elbow. My hand was really swollen and sore. A visit to the physio confirmed that yes indeed I have been working too hard! I have Repetitive Strain Injury. He massaged my arm which gave me instant pain relief and taped up my hand. I’ve been following his instructions, icing, making sure I do my exercises and trying to rest it as much as possible. I’m even brushing my teeth with my left hand which is really difficult after 38 years of brushing with my right! However, in the past few days all these small changes are helping, the swelling has reduced and my hand looks a bit more normal again! hooray!
However this got me thinking about my attitude towards my job and how my physical health is so important. I absolutely love what I do and I want to make pots for as long as possible. My hands are my bread winners so I need to look after them! This year I’ve already tried to improve my work life balance, but clearly I need to try a bit harder. This is an exceptionally busy time of year for all self employed people so hopefully when it’s over I can make some permanent changes and prevent any more work related injuries.
On a positive note, the physio says I have very strong hands! My strong hands have made a lot of pots which have recently been delivered to most of my stockists, Braemar Gallery and An Independent Zebra both got deliveries this week. I will try my best to keep my website stocked. I know I’m low on mugs again and need to make some more but they will hopefully be ready and added online by November. I will keep you posted.
I have also just updated my diary with my upcoming festive markets, so please check it out so you know where to find me in the run up to Christmas. If you see me at a market and want to rub my arms, I will quite happily oblige!
That’s all for today. I hope you are all looking after yourselves.
PLEASE NOTE - During the current situation Post Office trips will only be made once a week (Friday) Thank you. Dismiss