Busman’s holiday

MY holiday this year was two weeks in Sunny/wet Devon on a firing course at Barn Pottery, with Nic Collins and Sabine Nemet in Moretonhamstead ( Moreton for short, it’s one of the longest village names in England though not as long as the Welsh village names that take as much time to say as driving through them and sound like a bad goch).

We made pots ready biscuit fired to fire them in two kilns, one soda fired and a very big groundhog kiln, both wood fired, we were surrounded by timber. We had three days to glaze and pack both.

I felt very much a senior citizen out of younger potters who seemed to speak a different language, especially when it came to the internet and all things baffling to me, they all more or less lived off of the websites or instagram. I prefer face to face and to be able to handle the pots in reality.

one of my tall jugs in the sweet spot

We were treated to some very good lunches, in the evening we took it in turns to provide a meal out in the open air, the standard was frighteningly good and it was hard to live up to, for my turn, I made two curries and a cooling riata , with chapattis cooked on a kiln shelf directly on the fire.

With the shifts at stoking all done we had a party on Saturday the last night, firing a cone of made of sticks clay and bottles, the bottles melt out of the wall and tongues of fire shoot out , a fiery end to the week.

Tom drying of the walls a bit

The following day once the party had been cleared away, we cracked open the soda kiln as usual the first encounter with your results are a bit different from what you think of them in a few days after.

After packing away their pots most participants went to Cornwall, I stayed put in my tent and tried to stay out of the way, with visits to Exeter, Dartmoor and just trying to catch up with sleep.

On the Thursday the Misses with two friends Graham and Tina came to stay. We decanted about 200 metres up the road into a rather good cabin with a real toilet shower and modern non camping amenities. With the cabin came two fishing lakes and a very lovely garden, it must be full of huge carp, I heard one splash It sounded like a human diving in.

After a lovely couple of days Sunday un packing of Nic’s big kiln happened, there were quite a few pots that were stuck to one another, I got a couple of really nice jugs out and a very nice bowl that had been slipped with Atherington beach slip, that I had gathered of off the beach .


On the way home we stopped at a antiques centre for tea and bun where I bought the biggest pot I have ever owned a huge brining pot for salting ham, I think it’s Victorian.

Victorian ham salting pan

That is what they say is that, end of Holiday, Magaluf next year where you can get a proper cup of English tea and a gor blimey hat.

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