Pottery workshops, Sgath an Tighe…

Last night Michaela and Pauline led the first workshop in the pottery in the cellar of our house.

It is really exciting to see this space coming alive- and to see beautiful objects being shaped out of what are essentially lumps of mud. Last night people spent some time at the potters wheel, and also made a slip decorated cake plate. Results were very impressive for first time potters!

Over the next few months we intend to spend time developing part of the old house into Bed and Breakfast, but already we have self catering accommodation available in our cosy annex.

If you are considering a break in Scotland, perhaps it might be worth combining this with some potting? We can tailor a residential potting experience!

If you contact us via our website, mention this blog and you will be eligible for a discount!

For locals, there are details of Michaela and Pauline’s craft courses here.

A few more photos from last night;

First firing of our Kiln…

Regular readers will know that about a year ago, I took a road trip down to Derbyshire to collect two kilns and a load of pottery equipment that we intended to install in our cellar. It turned out to be a lot harder than we thought as the big Kiln, weighing in at over half a ton, had to be extracted from an outbuilding at the end of a garden, carried in over and around rockeries, garden ponds and bushes and then lifted into the back of a hired van. Without a couple of Michaela’s uncles (both ex miners and used to moving big things) we simply would never have moved it.

When we got it all up here, the first challenge was getting it out of the van- stop forward some more friends, and we somehow got it on the ground without killing anyone. However, getting it down the cellar stairs was a whole different challenge.

I was discussing this problem when out for a curry with a group of blokes- one of whom, Dave, is in charge of the men who work on the hillsides keeping our electricity lines safe and functional. Dave sent round a couple of his workers, along with a winch, a ground anchor and a special sledge they use to move generators and the like into inaccessible places. They had the Kiln in the cellar in no time.

Then we discovered that the cost of wiring in the Kiln was not as simple as we had hoped, costing roughly 4 times what we had paid for the kilns and equipment! However Michaela and Pauline managed to get a grant towards this, and invested the earnings that they had already made through their craft workshops.

Meanwhile, I installed worktops, shelves, lighting, and we painted the whole cellar white to make it all a bit less murky.

After all this hard work, and kindness from friends, you will understand how exciting it was to fill the kiln with Pauline’s pots, and fire it up.

Pauline and Michaela will be running workshops soon- so if you are up for a combination of a break in Scotland and some pottery- let me know!

Potty road trip…

I am just back from a road trip with a couple of friends- we drove down to Derbyshire in a rattly rented van to fetch a load of pottery equipment bought off ebay. A 7 hour drive each way, with an overnight at Michaela’s mums, and a few pints in the evening.

This included loads of glazes, clay, kiln furniture and not one, but TWO kilns.

Oh- and one of them weighed half a ton.

So there we were, Simon, Paul and I, along with two of Michaela’s uncles (The fantastic Ken and Phil- men who are used to hard work!) faced with a winding garden path, steps and low garden walls. Two previous potential buyers had taken a look and decided that fingers, toes and vertebrae were more valuable than the kiln.

But we were not to be so easily put off!

So about an hour of weedling, scraping, levering and hammering later, it was in the van and on the way up country. The unload was fun too (thanks Andy!)

We just need to empty our cellar of all the accumulated junk, install a new electrical circuit, and then people can get potting.

Not me- I have other gifts.

And anyway- I will be in traction for a few weeks…