Crannmor Pottery Blog

December 3, 2018

Celebrating 50 Teapots Week 48

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 2:57 PM

It was a busy weekend with lots of folk buying christmas pressies and also a chance to have a chat with a cup of mulled wine or the good ole mug of tea. We are a nation of tea drinkers and many great conversations happen over a pot of tea. I have a collection of teapots some that get lots of use and others that are there for me just to look at and enjoy.

My everyday teapot was a purchase on a visit to friends in the Isle of Mann. It is a slip cast pot and it is the image of the cow that sold it to me. It puts a smile on my face and those that get a cup of tea from it. I have a smaller teapot for green tea. it is one of my own from my Moss range which I no longer do. It’s what I call a bachelor tea pot as it holds enough for one person.

Moss Tea Pot

Moss tea Pot

My most treasured teapot is by a New Zealander Chris Weaver which I have talked about before. I bought it on my travels in New Zealand in 2004. I love the shape, colour texture and the beautiful wooden handle. It is poetry in a teapot.

Chris Weaver

Chris Weaver Tea Pot

My other two teapots that I just display and enjoy are an Andrew Whitelaw spinning teapot and a Florian Gadsby over handle pot. Both of these did the pottery skills course in Thomastown and I think they are makers of the future. People buy art as an investment I jokingly say pots are my future investment but I don’t think I will ever part with them.

So on the run up to Christmas but that little something that puts a smile on your face. We need to self gift ourselves.

Porcelain Tea Pot

Porcelain Tea Pot

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November 26, 2018

Celebrating 50 Christmas Prep Week 47

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 1:14 PM

Its the countdown to the end of my 50 blogs and to Christmas. It is the busiest time of the year for me and at the moment it’s all anticipation with hopefully lots of pots going to new homes.

Killruddery Market

Killruddery Market

This weekend coming I am having my Pre Christmas Sale. I have been doing this for the past 10 years encouraging folk to come to my workshop and have a warm cup of mulled wine (non alcoholic) and a mince pie and peruse my wares at a discount as a reward for supporting me.

In my early days of production I used to do the Craft Fair in the RDS and share a stand with jeweler Derek Mc Gowan who is now playing more music these days. It was a grueling 4 long days selling your work and the uncertainty of not knowing whether you would cover costs and make money was a bit nerve wracking. Doing my own sale was less risk with no travel involved and I am giving something back to the customer.

I do local craft fairs instead that don’t command high stand rates and I can restock easily and sleep in my own bed each night. For the last 4 years I have taken a stall at Killruddery Christmas Market  . It is a lovely setting and over the years I have met many wonderful craft workers selling their wares. It is also a chance to meet new customers and good to receive feedback on my own work.

Christmas seems to come round quicker each year I don’t know why and it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all but do give a little more thought into your gifting. There is so much selection out there but if you support local and hand made you are keeping the small businesses in business and giving something that is unique and not mass produced without love or care. Keep the small hearts smiling.

Decorations

 

November 19, 2018

Celebrating 50 Lifestyle Week 46

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 5:45 PM

Just 4 weeks away from  hitting my 50th blog within my 50th year. I have to admit that I have scratched my head a couple of times along the way to think what will I write about this week and this was one of those mornings. Initially I was going to write about a visit to my fellow potter cousin Liz Burgess who I visited in France many years ago and made a few pieces with them.

Instead I am going to write about the privileged life I have. I am very fortunate in that I love making pots and it provides me with enough income to do the things I enjoy in life. I am also lucky because I am my own boss and I can organize my time to suit myself a lot of the time. I also live in an amazing part of the world Glenamlure and I have been welcomed into this small community.

Bosca Beatha

Bosca Beatha

So why am I telling you all this well I am just back from a sauna at Bosca Beatha and it is a treat to have this on our doorstep for the next few months. As well as being an uplifting experience you never know who you might meet in the sauna!! Today I met a couple who had come from Dublin for a soak and an American couple from Alabama celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

Bridge

View from Sauna

Being the local ( a blow in local) I was told how lucky I was to live in such a great place. For the Americans this was the longest holiday they had ever taken and yes we told them that unfortunately Americans live to work and don’t reward themselves with enough time off. One of the other couple was Australian  and they are the opposite they work to live. Ireland is moving a bit towards the American work ethic but thankfully because I am my own boss I’m more in the Aussie camp.

Beakers

Beaker Swap for Sauna

Life does seem to be getting more frantic and busy for folk but it is important to take time out whether you spend that time with yourself , family or friends we need to make sure we do it.

 

November 12, 2018

Celebrating 50 Decals Week 45

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 4:03 PM

What are decals you may ask well the best way I would explain them is that they are transfers that I put on pots. Decals take the labour out of hand painting and we can put detailed images onto pots.

Vicki Sutherland

Vicki Sutherland

The one and only pot in my collection so far with a decal is by Vicki Sutherland. I loved the flow of the distorted pot and thought the fish helped give the pot more movement.

I did a decal workshop with Tina Byrne and that got me started a couple of years ago. I have always loved taking photos when I’m away on my holidays and some of those images I thought would be good to play with and put onto pots. The first few were from my travels in India and Rome. I love architecture because of its angles and lines. There are so many features in buildings that create patterns. Using photoshop you can play with an image and distort it, change colours and break it up.

Bike mugs

Bike Mugs

My most popular decals are my bike images and some animals. The puffin has been my latest. There are only a few printers in Ireland that can print decals and I was in Thomastown at the weekend where the pottery skills course has one. To put decals onto pots it’s a third firing to 800 degrees Celsius. It is a fun way to play with images but I have a long way to go to master photoshop.

November 5, 2018

Celebrating 50 IMRA Week 44

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 1:02 PM

Last week was a busy week for me finishing off a big order for IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association) and a few Halloween outings. What is IMRA some of you might ask?? Well I was introduced to this organisation by a fun loving guy that I met back in 2010, Paul Mahon. I was thrown into the deep end by doing the Dublin Mountain Plod which was 21.10 km in the Dublin mountains starting and finishing in Marley Park. It was a very different type of running for me as most of my running up til then had been on roads. This was uphill on trails and muddy.

imra run

Brockagh

I was introduced to a whole new world of hill runners and what I liked about it was that it suited all levels, shapes and ages. It was pints in the pub after and lots of banter. Yes of course there are those at the top of the field that might take it a bit more seriously but the majority were out for the craic.

WW Mugs

The Collection

As people got to know me and that I was a potter they asked me to make the mugs that are given to runners that do the Wicklow Way Ultra and Trail Run. I have been making these mugs for the last 5 years and this year they also asked me to make prizes for the various events that are given at the end of year social. This was held on Saturday night and I was also a very lucky receiver of my first ever IMRA prize.

Imra plate

Useful prize

This year we went to the Connaght Champs which were in Mayo. On Saturday we had blue skies to get to the top of Mweelrea. On Sunday we had total mist to get to the top of Nephin. A great weekend with a BBQ on the beach at Old Head near Louisburg and a good way to climb a few mountain tops and have a party afterwards with another hill to clear the heads the next day. I was lucky to take home 2nd gal over the two days.

conaght champ

Beach BBQ

I am still running with IMRA and have clocked up 46 races so far. My aim is to hit the 50th race before my birthday in April.

IMRA prize

My Prize

November 2, 2018

Celebrating 50 Bring Art Home Week 43

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 9:37 AM

Yes I am a bit late with this weeks blog it has been busy with Halloween and mid term and finishing off a big order. So this will be a short one sparked by an article in the Sunday Times Home section, Bring Art Home.

Cormac Boydell

Cormac Boydell Platter

We all have our living space and how we decorate it or fill it is our own individual taste. Because I make pots I do have a collection of pots that fill shelves and hang on walls and I will continue to add to my collection as I like to surround myself with beautiful things. I know they are not essential but they do make me feel good as I enjoy the quality of them they inspire me and they stir memories.

My Collection

Purchasing a piece of art is keeping the artist in pocket and showing an appreciation of their talent. I know we are surround with natural beauty through nature but we can also give our homes nice things that we can enjoy.

The images are some of the pots I have collected over the years and make me smile and I will continue to collect. I jokingly say it’s my pension but I know I will never sell them.

October 22, 2018

Celebrating 50 Greece Week 42

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 2:21 PM

Yes I’m back from my week away on the island of Santorini in Greece, all recharged and back at the wheel finishing off a big order. Greece lived up to the expectations and it is a country of the colour BLUE ,my fave.

We cycled as much of the island as possible which is the perfect way to get around and stop anytime to take a photo and plenty were taken!! It had quite a few hills so a good work out was had and everyday ended with a swim.

Plate

Plate in Church wall

On our third day of exploring we came across a potter near the south end of the island. Galateas Pottery She had a wide variety of work in a few different mediums, clay mainly, paintings and silk prints. I bought a small tile with simple line drawings of typical Greek houses.

There was quite a bit of pottery for sale but mainly geared to the tourist market. It was nice to browse but most was a bit touristy for my liking. Although I did but a small bowl with slip decoration is was so cheap but loved the pattern.

I think we all like to bring back some sort of memento from travels and because I’m a potter it does tend to be pottery or art work. Next week I will talk about more of my travel collection.

Galatea's Tile

Galatea’s Tile

October 15, 2018

Celebrating 50 Greece week 41

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 8:13 PM

One of the perks of being self employed is taking holidays in the off-peak season . I’m taking  a well deserved break on the island of Santorini in Greece. Extending my summer and recharging the batteries. It’s my first time to Greece and I am loving all the blues. Sky, sea, and domes of churches. They are everywhere you look.

I will elaborate more next week on my return. In the mean time here’s a picture of one of the many churches.

Santorini greece

Santorini greece

October 8, 2018

Celebrating 50 Volunteering Week 40

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 10:32 AM

Yes I am am blowing a trumpet this morning for those that give a bit of themselves to other causes for FREE. As I may have mentioned before I am a committee member of Ceramics Ireland  and I am glad to be part of it as it gets me out of my studio and allows me to be part of what I consider a dynamic group that is promoting potters and ceramic artists, not just in Ireland but also Internationally.

Loading

Loading Plinths

Last week we were organizing ourselves for the Members selected Exhibition in Rathfarnham Castle. Drop off of work was on Wednesday and I spent the day loading plinths from storage to site. I was not on my own there were plenty of willing hands helping.

Setting Up

Setting Up

Thursday back to Rathfarnham again to arrange plinths and the work and pack up unselected work. I did leave early that afternoon . Friday was the final arrangement of work doing up price list and labeling and preparing for opening on Saturday. I do often think that people don’t fully realize the work that goes into organizing events. These days time is a very precious commodity but if we can give a bit of ourselves to someone or something it can mean so much. Not just for the receiver but also for yourself.

Members Exhibition

Ceramics Ireland Rathfarnham Castle

Emily Free Wilson gave a talk at our Festival in September and she lives in Helena Montana, USA and has created a working space that also is a community venue for exhibitions, music and much more. She gave a Ted talk about her journey to this space and it’s worth a watch.

So make a bit of time for someone or something else it will put a smile on your face and so many others. And if you have a free moment while in Dublin go visit our exhibition in Rathfarnham Castle. I have two bowls in it.

Work Selected

My Two Bowls

October 2, 2018

Celebrating 50 Cracks Week 39

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 12:37 PM

What you might ask ” Cracks “. This week I was hoping to put some new work into Ceramics Ireland Selected exhibition but both pieces came out of the biscuit firing cracked!!!! It’s at times like this that I wish I had done jewelry and there would be less to go wrong but I’m sure jewelers would argue that point .

Cracked Pot

Cracked Pot

I don’t think people do realize how much can go wrong with clay. The making of the piece is almost the easy part. If it dries out too quickly it can crack. If it is not fully dry going into the kiln for the biscuit firing it can explode. It’s not over yet it can also crack in the glaze firing or an element might fall onto a piece or a lump of kiln brick. The glaze might run and stick to the shelf. So in some ways to get a finished pot from the kiln can be a bit nerve wracking.

pot stuck

Pot Stuck to Shelf

The one thing you do realize working with clay there are never any guarantees and it is a continuous learning curve. The two pots that cracked this time are a porcelain stoneware clay and it is very unforgiving. I threw foot rings  onto the base of these pots while leather hard and I think that there was tension between the wet clay and leather hard clay that caused it to crack in the firing. So I have started again and this time I have thrown the foot rings at the same time and will attach when they are both leather hard. Fingers crossed it will work this time and will let you know next week.

exploded pots

Exploded Pots

In Japan they repair cracked pots by filling the cracks with gold. They value the life of the pot and this is a way for it to continue it’s purpose. The technique is known as Kintsugi so that could be an option for my cracked pots.

kintsugi

Kintsugi

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