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Pat  Southwood


Wood fired Ceramics from the Norfolk Broads

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Welcome to my blog


Here you will find the everyday ramblings of a rural potter.

Based in just outside Norwich in the beautiful County of Norfolk, next to Salhouse Broad.

Wood Fired/Soda  & Electric.

Pots for the home and for flowers .

Inspired by the East.

Norfolk & Japan.

By patsouthwood, Sep 13 2014 08:27PM

As August passes gently into September I look forward to my holiday in Malta, a week spent with my teenage Daughter.

Workshop tidied, freezer packed for husband, fresh veg. optimistically left in a prominent place (it's a girls holiday) we set off. Ffifteen minutes down the road to lovely Norwich Airport and away we go.

Local freshly caught fish, and I have to confess, a few chips, were the order of the week, as was a lot of lying down and a fair bit of swimming. I did do some drawing, a bit of rubbish watercolour and lots of photography.

On my return the upcoming exhibition with Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society is fast approaching and work needs to be started for that. From the 22nd of November we will be showing our work at The Hostry, a beautiful flint and wood building that serves as a modern entrance to the Norman Cathedral.

I want all of my exhibition pieces to be wood & soda fired and I am working on a series of vessels that will be displayed in a big spiral, like a Mandelbrot fractal. The throwing of these forms is both really hard and really fun. When it works, it's magic, when it doesn't, it's tragic.

I now have about 30 vesels thrown and slipped, ranging from 8oz up to 8lb, in increments of half a pound.

it has been a good excercise and I have enjoyed the challenge of throwing these fat bellied forms. The rims were deliberatly mussed up as I wanted an organic conclusion. The effects of the ash and the soda will bring together the form and the surface. Hopefully.

By patsouthwood, Aug 23 2014 11:54PM

Fast Freda, my Northern Kilns, Fred Olsen based, wood kiln was torched up at 8am on Friday morning. My 16th firing and still on a steep learning curve. I was told in Tokoname (I.W.C.A.T. Japan, 2009 ) that I wouldn't understand my wood fired kiln until at least my 9th firing.

At the time, I thought this was excessive, but it is true - and I am still learning.

She was a good girl up to about 1100, and the company of an old College chum and fellow local potter meant that we had a chance for a good old catch up and plenty of coffee and biscuits while we were firing. Madam stalled a bit in the mid 1150's and we ended up hanging around at the same temperature for a while, which, had I been alone, would have been much harder to deal with.

Eventually nirvarna and 1260 degrees was achieved and after an 8hr firing, we called it a day.

Whilst tidying up the kiln site before leaving I was clearing up the remainng wood around the kiln and drifting off to do other tidying up inside the workshop. Half an hour later, out of idle curiosity I popped the pyro back in and got a readng of nearly 1280 degrees. That would explain their rather somewhat toasted appearance.

However, upon unloading this morning, I am very pleased with the results and am very much looking forward to having photos taken of my work on Monday by a professional photographer who specializes in photographing artworks.

By patsouthwood, Aug 17 2014 10:01PM

The summer seems to be drawing to a close as the damsons ripen and blackberries droop with the weigh of ripe fruit My jam pan has been calling and I am now the proud owner of a dozen jars of jam.

I am preparing to fire Fast Freda, my Fred Olsen twin firebox cross draught wood kiln (go faster stripes optional) The last firing was a bit horrid as I think I got sunstroke. So, taking both a deep breath and my hammer I started building a two sided shelter from used pallets. What else would a recycling practical potter use?

Well my idea was sound, fence posts in the ground, drop two pallets over the top of each side, square framed pallet on top at an angle for draining, roofing felt, job done.

The practicalities however were rather more bodged beyond belief and resulted in a severely banged thumb that meant I couldn't throw for five days. Ah well. Hopefully it will keep me dry when it's wet and sheltered when it's sunny.

I am working on a series of pots at present, with a working title of "Evolution of a form" in readiness for my next exhibition. Most of the pieces will be wood and soda fired and I am enjoying playing with variations on a sphere. As usual surface texture is at the forefront of my designs and I really enjoyed making this stretched forms as part of the series. The making requires restraint, after the application of the slip on the outside you can only push from the inside. One push too far and you have gone through the side.

By patsouthwood, Aug 14 2014 10:44PM

Spheres with inclusions for wood & soda firing. Ouch.
Spheres with inclusions for wood & soda firing. Ouch.

Starting off the year with the B.C.T.F in Harrogate in April, this was the first time I have treated myself to a B&B and not stayed in "Cell Block H" - the renowned breeze block onsite accommodation. This time it was lovely, I stayed at The Fountains in Harrogate and it was very comfortable indeed.

Orders flowed from that event and production ensued as Spring turned to Summer.

Norfolk Opens Studios was lovely this year, some good weather brought lots of visitors both old and new to Cosseys Yard.

The next outing for the pots and myself wasThe Blenheim Palace Flower Show. A stunning visual event, marred somewhat by the fact that the battery on my camera packed up virtually the momment I set foot in the place. However it did make me enjoy it for the visual spectacle that it was, rather than spending the whole time behind a lens composing shots.

The other highlight of the show was meeting Monty Don. Sorry, no photo, re, as above. he was charming though and now has one of my little bottles for those spare blooms.

Art in Clay at Hatfield House was next, my 5th year there. A good year this year, the weather was kind, the tennis was less exciting than last year, there wasn't too much of a heatwave and the Public said lovely things about my pots, and even better, bought them as well.

During the summer holidays I have the workshop open to the public most days. 10 -3.30. Visitors to Salhouse Broad have been seeing me at work and some have been taking a real piece of Norfolk home with them . The mugs glazed with Norfolk Reed are very popular with both visitors to the Broad and locals.

Looking forward to the Autumn, I am showing my work at "Art Unequalled" in Ely on the 18th & 19th of Oct. (see website for link)

The Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society exhibition is next at The Hostry, a splendid setting for contemporary craft.

I am currently working on a series of forms for the exhibition, watch this space.............

By guest, Aug 14 2014 08:59PM

O.K. so this is my attemp at setting up my blog on my website. This will be a short post, mostly to check it works, not totally convinced I have actually manacged to do it sucessfully.

Just to tepmt fate I shall attempt to add an image as well.

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