Up on Clee Hill again:

A fortnight or so ago now, the inspirational Alf Jenkins took me to meet the wonderful Neil and Karen, who farm over on the far north-west side of Clee Hill from Clee Hill village. Neil’s grand-father made bricks from clay on their farm and the beautiful Victorian era brick kiln, lovingly restored, still stands and is a wonder to behold – the last of its type in the West Midlands. Neil showed me some steens (pancheons) that he has – one stored inside the kiln, with it’s eye on the sky above – letting in shafts of morning light, and a couple in the basement of his farmhouse amongst the cider jars. These are steeper sided than Mr Button’s or the Buckley pancheon that I have – perhaps more for cream settling than baking? Neil very kindly gave me a bucket of his farm clay and we went to a ditch in a neighbouring field to collect some clay where recent digger excavations had exposed some beautiful blue material. I took both away and am in the process of firing these and glazing the results as a further project linked to this unique and evocative place (see upcoming post).

Version 2IMG_3991IMG_0898


New work with materials from Clee Hill….

In making a new range of pancheons – or “steens” as they are called in the Shropshire and across the West Midlands, I mixed ingredients from the Clee HillĀ for glaze tests as I did with my first explorations in 2014 (a mix of local wood ash, the clay I use from Cleehill village & dolerite or “dhustone” dust from the quarry on the hill – see below), experimenting with different percentages again just to check what results were possible. This time I also added small quantities of quartz and I noticed a slight chun effect forming with one of the mixes. I have been absolutely delighted with the results that this mix can achieve – an exquisite speckled blue / silver, on a background of deep, dark brown flecked with green. It is exactly what I have been looking for. That combination of mixing local ingredients with local forms (see next post) to create something useful and beautiful.

This experimental work and finished pieces will be on view on for my stall as part of the University of Bath Spa’s stand in the Learning Zone at the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey (10th-12th June).

Large 35cm pancheon with chun speckling.
Version 2
“Process” – May 2016.
Coffee cup with copper glaze and chun blue speckle.