Sunday, 7 December 2014


In December we are putting on an exhibition of work studio work including one off large pieces, new pieces which may become part of the range, our standard ware and also some pieces made by John Bedding. During November we have started planning what we will be making for this exhibition and also making test pieces, then eventually moving on to making some pieces. So it has been an exciting month in the studio.

I have been working with porcelain and I have had a chance to do some of my carving, which has been simplified for a more standard range. I threw the pieces on the kick wheel in the old studio, which I really enjoyed.

John Bedding was in the old studio at the same time, throwing some large pieces for the show, so it was great to get some advice from him and to watch him work.
My mugs and bud vases will hopefully be a part of the exhibition, which is great to be a part of the final show.

Alongside the exhibition we are working towards some big orders, so there has been a lot of work produced this month and a lot of firings have taken place. It will be great to see it all come together for the opening on the 12th December.

I have also been working on some platters for my own work and I have done a couple of oxidation firings.
I am trying some new geometric designs with the platters, which has been successful, I just need to make sure I get the glazes right now. I am firing a test this week to try and decide which glaze will work best.

The carving took a long time, but hopefully that will get faster.

Earlier in the month we went on a trip to Somerset to see John Leach and his studio. It was such a nice location with a studio and shop. He was doing a firing at the time, so it was great to see his huge kiln in action.
John gave us throwing demo for some plates he has been developing and he had prepared some pictures to show us the wood chopping process for a firing.

After Somerset we then went to Bath to see the Sea Salt store where they have started selling our pots. They had a nice display and the tiles looked great in the floor.  

We also visited Nic Collins' on the way there and Peter Hayes in
Bath. It was a busy and interesting trip.

Simona - October and November


Time to prepare for two exhibitions.. not much time to take photos...

I have done a lot of pugging after the workshop and preparing clay for some throwing.

Some of the throwing that I have done in October

 some firing before going to Oxford Ceramics Fair.

Joanna and I with Joanna's work....

Then off to Made by Hand, Cardiff presenting Tythegston Pottery work, designed by Joanna Howells.


After unpacking the Berlingo, back in the pottery with lots of making and preparing for our Christmas sale...
Pottery is not just throwing so a bit of mould making for some hand making.....

preparing for mould making

preparing plaster  


                                             mixing plaster

 Before pouring plaster

              after plaster poured

Time to prepare some glazes and

sieving a glaze

Well, I have been talking a lot about pugging, so here I am...

I have mentioned firing frequently and here I am when packing the kiln.....

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Simona - June to September

Here, I am back on the blog... Not sure where the time has gone... I'll try to sum up my pottery experiences  since my last appearance in May. A few things have changed.

In the summer I moved in South Wales to work with Joanna Howells. This has been a great opportunity for me. Before going to Joanna I had a very fun time at Rufford helping the Adopt a Potter stand with the Tombola.
While in Rufford I met Margaret Gardiner who invited me to visit her studio and assist her with firing, just before Art in Action...

Margaret putting salt into the kiln


Me putting salt into the kiln

Firing ended - Fast cooling


Enjoying a magic moment and the silent of the night.  The action did not stop here, the morning became young and we carried on with other magic tricks...

 As I had a great fun at Rufford, I was off to Art in Action helping with  the Adopt a Potter stand on the Tombola!! Another great time raising funding for Adopt a Potter... Thank you for all the people that have made their contribution by buying a Tombola ticket.  I would also like to Thank all the potters who have donated their pieces for the Tombola. It was another successful time...
WITH GRATITUDE  for making our (apprentices) dream coming true....

After my days in Art in Action I moved to Wales to do my next six months with Joanna Howells. Joanna works with porcelain and stoneware

Please see Joanna website

Joanna has lots of experience with glazes (other magic potion going on) and above all Joanna likes to throw large pieces...

Joanna "all'opera"...

Helping with the "opera"


It was a very interesting month, adjusting to a new studio and planning for future projects... It was very exciting!!! What a lovely summer..

View from the pottery.....


Inside the pottery.....

Practising handles

Learning faceting

Finishing a small jug


I was practising those little cream jugs and faceting, then few firing going on while starting to work on my own projects.
Lots of glazes to mix. Very interesting to know, a little bit more about the chemistry behind it. I experienced first hand how an ingredient can change the end result. We had a few problems with a new "Feldspar", essential element for one of Joanna's glaze.. Well, problem resolved, when finally after endless phone calls to potter suppliers, Joanna has found the "right" Feldspar. A small sample was sent and tested with magnificent result!!! Ppphhhffff......

It was also, time to give a good clean to the studio and preparing for a workshop on throwing big pots....So, lots of pugging and more to do.

 Throwing Large Pots Workshop

Joanna demonstrating

                                    My first 5 Kilos

Workshops are also an opportunity to taste some of this lovely food served on  Joanna's beautiful pots.

The fruits of the workshop....

Sunday, 2 November 2014


This month had been another busy one, filling orders for SeaSalt and other galleries.
At the start of the month a new apprentice arrived, from California. Drake Bialecki, so production has increased even more. We have 7 team members now, all throwing the standard ware.

I have had a chance to try out some different shapes, including tiny milk jugs, small jugs, medium and small bowls.

The tiny milk jugs/pourers are very fiddly to throw, but I got in to a rhythm and enjoyed those forms.
The small jug was also tricky because you can't fit your hand inside the form, so the bottom has to be right before you bring the clay up for the neck. They will then have a pulled handle.

This month we have also had Jeff Oestrich,a former apprentice at the Leach and now a potter in Minnesota, working in the old studio. It has been great hearing old stories about the Leach and learning all about his techniques and processes.

I have focused on my own work alongside the studio ware. I completed my first firing, which mostly consisted of glaze tests. It was quite successful, I now have 3 more glazes which I will be using in my next firing. I also spent a few days making tea pots, which was a challenge.
I chose 3 that I was happy with to keep and this one was the one I chose not to keep! I decided to cut it open and have a look at the thickness. I thought it looked really interesting, seeing a different perspective. I will post pictures of the successful teapots when they are finished!  

Sunday, 12 October 2014


This month has been pretty busy, with the St Ives September Festival and the Cornwall Ceramics Trail. Both of these events brought more visitors up to the Leach.
We also had some Heritage Open Days which involved demos on the kick wheel as well as free tours and have a go sessions on the kick wheel. I was lucky enough to have a day throwing in the old pottery, which was a great experience.

I have also moved on to throwing some new forms from the standard ware range. This started with small bowls, then medium bowls and plates. I really enjoyed throwing some different forms and also learning to do a rolled rim on the bowls.

Britta Wengler, one of the production potters in the studio did a kiln opening of her own work as part of the ceramics trail. It is always interesting to see the personal work of colleagues.

Philip Leach came to the pottery to make his own work for a few weeks. It is good to see that the Leach family still get involved with the Pottery.

Ashley Howard and Risa Ohgi were featured in our gallery this month. They undertook a collaborative project where Ashley threw the pieces and Risa decorated them. The pieces were beautiful and the talk was interesting to see how it all began.

My friend Jordan came in to see us working and he took some pictures of us at work.

This was the unpacking of one of our kilns containing some pots for SeaSalt and some for our shop at the Leach.

The rolling of the rim took a a bit of getting used to, but it makes the rims much stronger and durable, as they are meant for every day use.

                                                        Photo:Jordan Jackson

Photo: Jordan Jackson

We are working towards another order for SeaSalt, so we are doing lots of firings and making lots of mugs!

I have also spent some more time thinking about my own work this month. I have made a batch of plates, as they are something I have always avoided making. Mugs are also something I have been neglecting, as I have made so many during work hours. So I have put in some time developing my own mugs.

Now I need to spend some time figuring out my glazes!  Which is the exciting part, but also the scary part.

Friday, 5 September 2014


This month was very busy! We had to make, glaze, fire, package and tag all of the pots for orders, which we managed in time. Working towards an order is really good practise because you have to plan ahead for all of the stages and make sure there will be enough pieces to account for any losses. We made 1000 tiles to put in to the floor of new shops that open, so that involved a lot of cutting out and glazing very small tiles.

We had a production line for the packing of pots, to make sure we didn't miss any stages.

We fired the soda kiln this month because somebody had ordered some soda fired pots. I managed to put some pieces in the firing, which was good to see how soda would work with my designs.

Cornwall Deign Fair was also this month and the Leach Pottery had their own marquee with lots going on. We did raku firings, throwing demos, children's workshops and selling pots. The event went well and it was good to see some other makers, some local and some visitors.

Now we have had the next orders through, which will keep us busy for the whole of September, so we have all started working on those pieces. I am about to start making a different shape, the small bowls.