February Brrrrrrr

Blimey it’s chilly 🥶 it’s been a cold couple of weeks in the shop. The reality of opening early in the season hits , when I have to layer up to be in the the shop. I’m not good in the cold so I try to keep myself busy. We like to keep the doors open in the shop, otherwise people are not only reluctant to come in though a closed door, but our door gets so stiff this time of year, they might not actually be able to open it. Having a wood door means it swells in the cold and wet. There is no heating in the shop, but we do have a little electric radiator that we can pop on under the desk if necessary. We did think about putting some heaters in, but as the shop warms up reasonably well by spring, it seemed a lot of expense for a few weeks, to pay to heat a building, that we keep the doors open on, so several layers of clothing is the answer, and thermal socks a necessity.

I had a visitor this week as we saw one of our lovely makers arrive with new stock. The lovely Amanda brought her cute beach find pictures and beach hut scenes in, ready for our customers. So I had a day sorting them and putting out a new display. I dotted other bits of her work in the window and on the dresser.

I was talking to her about whether to change our sign. Don’t worry the pub letters are staying, but we’ve got a new logo and I like the gold that I’ve put in my new signs both inside and out side of the shop. And as we have no longer got the blue theme going on. I’ve been trying to decide whether to take the sign down and respray the back board a different colour. I can’t go gold as some of the letters are gold. They are original pub letters so I’m reluctant to change the colour of the letters themselves . I’m think maybe a navy blue or should I go all out with black? I’m really not sure. If you have any thoughts let me me know in the comments below.

I’ve been in the studio. It’s been cold but I did needed to make a few gin stirrers. They were popular over half term. But I’ve also been having fun with clay. I didn’t know about you but I’m obsessed with the pottery throw down on a Sunday night. So much so that we have just booked to see a Keith Brymer Jones talk later in the year. For those of you who saw it last week, you will have seen they had to make a endangered species animals. I loved the idea of the penguin, and so I decided to have a go. I’m afraid I’ve never been someone who goes though all the logical steps to learn a new craft. I just do what takes my fancy and hope I find a way to make it work. It’s quite an instinctive way to work. So my penguin has been under construction. I have no idea how to actually make anything this big in clay. I have a funny feeling that it might break or even explode when in the kiln. So I decided to paint it before it’s first bisque firing. That might seem odd, but I’ve used black decorating slip. Which basically is just clay with colour in. It needs to be added to the clay when the clay is leather hard. If the clay and the slip dry at different rates, the colour might crack and fall off, so hopefully I timed it just right. I did add a bit of underglaze to , which should also be fine on a first firing 🤞. At least if it breaks I can sort of see what it should have looked like . It is now waiting to dry which could be quite a few weeks with the temperature of the studio at the moment. So I will update on his progress then. But in the meantime, I’ve been a bit obsessed with making jugs. I have a few on my shelves waiting to dry well enough ,to be fired.

My studio has had to have a couple of adaptions to accommodate the new pottery. Shelves…I need lots of shelves. The process of pottery is quite long winded. Firstly you make the item out of clay and the it has to dry thoroughly before it can been fired. Then once it’s been though it first bisque firing you decorate with glazes, and they when there is enough decorated , they can go in for their second firing. Which means there are always lots of things waiting to go in the kiln.
Also we have had to think very hard about cleaning up. Can you imagine the havoc it would cause our plumbing , if all the clay coming off items being washed , went down our kitchen sink 😱 it would soon clog up. We don’t have any running water in the studio. So temporarily I’ve been using a bucket filled with water for all my cleaning. The clay sinks to the bottom and so I’m left with clean water in the top of the bucket, once the clay has settled, but it does take a while for the clay to sink, so unless I wait until the next day, I’ve not had a lot of clean water to use.

But the clever mr Wellydog , has just made me a clay trap. It’s made from an ikea recycle bin, with a lid. He ‘s used an old washing up bowl, that’s been in the back ,waiting to go down the tip and put a plug hole in it. When I pull the plug out, the water goes down into the bin. The clay will sink and leave the clean water on the top. I can then take the clean water out using the tap, and put it in the washing up bowl , for me to clean my tools. This should mean I will have a constant supply of clean water, that is recycled until once in a while, I will take the lid off and remove the clay, either to recycle or dispose off. It will probably go in our garden, to help give some structure to our weak, sandy soil.

It’s not been all work in February. We met up with our lovely, energetic grandchildren, in Paington. We also had nice morning out meeting up with Sue and Dusty from An Bowji . They have a lovely holiday cottage, which is disabled and doggy friendly, in Newquay. We’ve been chatting for a while online, and decided to meet for a quick coffee, at Charlie’s coffee shop, in the wonderful Charlestown. If you pop over to their Instagram page you can check out all about it. Being self employed can be a bit isolating, so it’s very nice to meet up with another husband and wife team, for a chat.

As we move into March, I think the emphasis will be on just tidying up out the front.Our poor geraniums have completely died this winter, so we need to plant up the pots again. We need to check with the landlord if a repaint is due for the walls this year. If not we will touch up some areas. We also will look if we need to update or change any of the display units. I will need to get moving, making more fused glass stock ready for the season. Bunting is next on my list and hopefully Mr Penguin will get to go in the kiln. Maybe I will make a glass penguin picture… well that’s a thought !

Enough of my rambling for now, catch up with you again soon.

Janice x

2 thoughts on “February Brrrrrrr”

  1. Fab blog, nice to hear of what you’re doing. I think a black background to your shop sign will make all the colour of letters ‘pop’. We’re staying in the village right on the harbour in a cottage at the end of March, can’t wait! See you soon. Abby x

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