Derelict Art of the City

Derelict Art of the City

In September I will be an artist in Residence at Preston Bus Station with Derelict Art of the City. So between now and then the goal is to draw and paint 50 small A5 images, to explore Preston in preparation for my time there.

These Two posted here of the same set of buildings behind the Harris Museum represent the first two images I am making  in preparing for the project.

1st – 4th September

Joseph Travis A New Perspective

Join Joseph Travis in a journey recording Preston through a forest of drawings made by himself and members of the public. Aiming to show that anyone can draw, Joseph invites you to reimagine a Preston skyline of the past, present and future.

Joseph is a Lancashire artist working across a variety of media.

Drawing of Lancaster Road Preston on kraft card
Drawing of Lancaster Road Preston on kraft card

2020 was a dumpster fire, let’s make 2021 an amazing year!

For me 2020 was a dumpster fire from the start my Grandma who taught me to bake and paint passed away in the January, I got furloughed, I quit my day job so I could be around for my amazing sons. This year I plan on taking my work and business to new heights! I have been doing that the last few months by becoming one of James Victore’s Creative Warriors. This program has really got me fired up about the journey ahead, I’ve got the webshop here on the pottery up and running and my painting has come on leaps and bounds recently and I’m really excited about that!

So back to how I am going to make 2021 an amazing year, rather than wallow in my grief I decided to do something positive! So I went back and redrew and repainted the Ice Cream shop in Fleetwood that was the as piece I had painted before she passed away. I So this piece is so much better than the previous version I decided to make some prints. 101 to be exact. I have 100 A3 prints and a single absolutely massive A1 print. The A1 print is so big it filled my entire desk and had to be taped to a piece of cardboard as the largest panel I have for putting my paintings on is A2.

So how this works. You hop over to my etsy store, when you buy an A3 print I take a standard print as shown above, I grab my posca markers and my watercolours and I extend the image, make alterations, and take what is already an amazing quality print and I make it unique!

A3 prints:
A1 print:
Just Giving to donate money to Trinity Hospice:

Saggar Fired Pottery

For the last year I have been experimenting with firing inside a saggar inside my electric kiln.  From the start I have to say anything fired in this method I wouldn’t sell as food safe and to make certain of that I don’t make functional ware with this method, just things that are purely sculptural, albeit quite small sculptures.

So what’s a saggar and what does it do?

A saggar is a sacrificial pot that was originally used in industry to keep ceramic glaze free from ash during the firings, especially with coal as this can make the wares quite dirty.  Unlike industry I use my saggars in reverse, I fill them with combustible materials and the pottery so then I can get different affects as the ash combines with the glaze or the ceramic body itself.

This makes a reduction inside the saggar chamber itself which strips oxygen from the clay body which makes the clay itself change colour.  This sort of atmosphere is damaging to the electric elements in an electric kiln and the saggar protects the kiln from damage

Pictures of the process:

a saggar loaded with pottery
The kiln is loaded with shells in between the layers so then the pottery doesn’t stick to each other in the firing.

seaweed and mare's tail in the saggar
Seaweed and mare’s tail are local to where I live and are very high in silica which means they leave deposits of their own form on the pieces, I don’t tend to just bung it all on top it is more carefully places.

pots in a saggar with everything burnt away
The mares tail is so high in silica some of it remains throughout the firing, but it easily washes away when I clean up the pottery after the firing

pottery stacked to show how few pieces fit in a saggar.
The sagger is a really inefficient way of firing pottery, you can’t really fit much in.

Finished Work

tiles with shell marks left on them
the shells leave a ghosting affect both from their own decomposition and because they leave small oxidised areas where the pottery is protected from the ash and reduction

pottery jar made to look like a rock
I cut my thumb in MAy and couldn’t throw for weeks so made some of these lidded rocks out of solid lumps of clay, these all turned out so different to the thrown work.

saggar fired wonky pot showing oranges, reds and whites
a wonky pot fired in the saggar brings out so many different surfaces and colours

a little wonky pot on a cyclinder
Recently I made some mini wonky pots and pout them on plinths that comes from the bins at my day job, so I trimmed them into circles and stuck them together before sanding and polishing them, they make interesting little bases

budvase on a plinth
I like using some different clays sometimes for example this clay is ES5 which is low in iron so doesn’t take on an much iron flashing in the saggar.

side profile of a budvase
You can see the striations that the mare’s tail left in the glaze, they just help give antooher texture to the potttery.


Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

– Jake Parker

So I decided yesterday that I would do Inktober again this year. Inktober is a challenge created by Jake Parker to try and improve drawing skills with a focus on doing an ink drawing every day in October.

Last year I did a still life every day based with an improvised tool, including some dip pens I made out of clay that had varying success.  I really enjoyed making and finding different tools and even made a few brushes out of various material including my own beard.

ink and bleach skulls
So this is the start of my inktober challenge for 2017

This year I am playing with ink and bleach.  The beach is mixed with water and added to the ink drawing to create different effects.  It is something I did in art school which was really fun and random.

The ink in question is black Quink by Parker as it easily bleaches the colour out, the only thing is it is much more blue than I remember.  The card is like cereal packet card but without anything printed on it so glossy on one side and grey on the other.

Probably limit myself to something like skulls for ease of a theme.



With my work I decided some time again that I wanted to make playful work especially as we has limited time, so why make something serious and stagnant.

It’s about make pots that contain energy and liveliness, which can be difficult in a medium that becomes “set in stone”. I can’t just hand a customer a soft clay pot and touch the fresh clay and let them feel how alive it is, and how the slightest movement can change its form, but I want to leave that impression that it was touched with hands and not just mass made to “perfection” as it were.

So last year I started looking at ways I could play with the imagery of pottery. I started looking at ways I could transpose this idea of playfulness onto my photography and presenting my work but just on a white background.

dandelion in a pot with bokeh plant pots
Pots are so much better in use and I love dandelions they are so bright and cheerfu; and I let them grow in my garden, so I picked one and thought it would look good against the terracotta plant pots in the garden.

little hand stacks cups
The apprentice really wanted to help take photographs so I let him help me set up what I wanted and took photos of him as he went about the setting up as I asked. His hands moving the pots about are far more alive than the ones which I had initially set up to do.

My sons idea of a photography setup
With the props and pottery I had around the apprentice set up this scene as he really wanted his train to be in the pictures. But the colours and the idea of putting things in pots that don’t fit grabbed my attention.

a progression of colour in pots
Inspired by the apprentice I took this shot, looking at it now, I wish the yellow was a lemon or an orange.

Plates hanging on the line
One day I wondered how it would look if I hung some pots out on the line and there is the sense that they could fall and smash that really adds to it. It is just missing some colour, maybe some clothes or some flowers growing in the background.

I really want to play with imagery some more.  I have some weirder ideas in my mind that involve models but they require props I don’t have either so won’t be happening anytime soon. Though I do want to make food to especially photograph on some pieces.

Just wish I had a bit more time to fit everything I want to do in, things are a bit limited due to the day job, but it is what it is.