Whatever happened to the painterly potter?

This was the first video I ever came across of Alex

Watching Alex Shimwell throw on YouTube always reminds me of watching Kevin Millward. Kevin Millward was a visiting tutor during my final year of my Undergraduate degree, he only taught at the university one day a week for four weeks. By this point I had been watching YouTube videos for a year to help with my throwing and I was truly awful.

Not only did I not know what I was doing, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had drawings of what I wanted to make which were far beyond my making abilities, so I just tried to make basic forms that were basically cylinders whether that was mugs or platters. Continue reading

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1 : 453.6 or 1 : 2.2

I am fascinated by numbers at 16 years old I used to say I loved working with numbers, but that was before I did double maths for my A-Levels. I was good at working with numbers, more so than reciting facts verbatim, in fact before I got my ceramics degree my only qualifications were mathematics and sciences.

18 mugs drying

Sometimes I think like about the cost of making something, as the cost of often selling something is higher, due to other factors and the fact I don’t sell means working out that final cost doesn’t bother me.

The following is a thought experiment about how much things cost: Continue reading

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Backwards Thinking


A 5 year old business card

My old business card, I can’t find the original jpeg file though

Or should that be thinking backwards. Recently I have been finding myself rediscovering older thinking and going back to earlier ideas. For a start I decided to go back to my original title for my research and for my thesis, I also found a business card on my desk that showed marks into the clay that I had recently tried and thought was a new idea for my work. The business card was from my final year at university and I stopped making the marks as a tutor told me it made the work “too busy”. Continue reading

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Slow Starting

Staggered stumbling starts

words awkwardly twist

not forming cohesively

stopping any progress

-Red Fox Poet

Writing for the lending library I sat each piece on my desk, I measured it, entered the technical data. I had made each one, I knew them intimately by the time I came to the story I didn’t have to think too hard. So within a few hours I had written over ten thousand words, without much pausing to think. Continue reading

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Time to Review

So last night I recorded the final episode for Season 1 of the Nurph Chat. As always I had an amazing time talking to the guests and learning so much, which makes connections with other things I have thought about and even written here on the blog.

Things to consider for the second season:

  • How are we going to advertise it better
  • How are we going to grow our audience
  • Is there a better time of the day to do this at
  • How often am I going to do this
  • Should the title come before or after the episode is recorded

The first season was short as it is school holidays, and I really have to review all my work I have done so far and start writing my thesis.  There is a bit more editing of videos to go in there too.

I have enjoyed the research phase of my masters, and due to the writing matters I want to go back to my original focus.  I also want to make sure I use my own voice in my writing as I want to make my research available to the community.

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A few days away

At the moment it is the children’s summer holidays which means I have to wear my Dad hat a lot more.  We went away to a camping barn and the children had fun staying in “a little house” as my youngest put it.  Oddly while I was away some interesting things happened.

M17For one we had the first piece of writing for the lending Library this is mug 17 that was given away to a member of my writing group.  I love the connections other people make that I never would have found by myself.

Jacobs JoinThe second thing that happened is that the audio recording of our writing groups project got posted which includes some of my work that got sent to the NSU Summer Conference. If you follow the link you can listen to the audio recording and see some pictures of the event.

Jacob’s Join was the starting point for so many ideas, so I am glad that we could share part of what we did. The mugs that were sent were dispersed into the world, I hope at some point a story will come back from one of those travellers so that I can share that again.


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More Questions than Answers

After doing the second week of the Nurph Chat I have even more questions I think I will have to start asking people. I think there is so much more we need to discuss about how we can improve our social media presence and really analyse how we are going about that.

I need to put together a plan to really fins out a bit more about how everyone is using Instagram, and then work out if there are any trends across the board.

As my research is on these technologies I really want to understand it all better and share it back amongst the community.

So on the 02/08/15 at 4pm EST, 9pm GMT we will record the final nurph show of the season. It will be with Brett Kern and Brian Harper on “Finding Your Voice”. It should be another good show

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Next Nurph Chat

Last night was the Nurph chat,thank you for everyone that came out live and watched. It was an amazing time talking to Adam Field, Paul Blais, Carole Epp and Michael Kline. There is a recording in the projects section of the website here.

There will be another chat:

Sunday 26th July at 9pm GMT, 5PM


The chat will be on “The Scale of Production”

Guests are Amanda Barr, Corey Johnson, Joseph Travis.

I hope you can come out and watch live and ask questions.

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Layers upon Layers

Layering is something that has been occupying my thoughts recently. This is due to the “writing matters” course at MIRIAD. In fact my talk I did on the Common Themes in the Research (link) was the building of several layers of visual and spoken communication. The reality was it was perhaps a bit much for my audience and even I who was presenting found difficulty with making and trying to read my research findings so far.

The whole thing was building on some of my ideas of making as performance. If I had thought it through clearly before presenting I would have asked my audience just to focus on one element that was going on and let the other things fall by the way side. Continue reading

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Writing really does matter to me

I loved my time on the “Writing Matters” workshops that were provided by MIRIAD for researchers. There are some really skilled writers with distinct voices in the group. It has made me want to write more but not in a stiff academic way, but in a more human flowing voice. Talking to other members of the group about my writing and my research revealed to me that what I was actually interested in my work is actually communication. I had never thought about it this way but all my research and thinking seems to point towards looking at different ways I can communicate.

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Even some of my ceramics work in the last year has been around communication and the difficulties of adding highly textured home-made chunky grog to my clays. This adds a layer of communicating difficulties for my fingers into the mix, but also means the grog can tear through the surface of the clay. Continue reading

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