Sunday, June 28, 2015


If you've been following me on Facebook, you know I've been paying a lot of attention to birds. Birds here in Ireland seem to be less frightened of people. Perhaps it's because there aren't as many trees here as in North Carolina, and they are used to being exposed to humans.

I've been working on a line of pots here in Ireland for the wood kiln I constructed, and birds have crept into my trees like never before. They're on branches, diving and fluttering in the air around the trees and branches I've carved.

Here's a few pictures of them. I hope they survive the blast of the wood kiln.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Firing #2 approaches in Ireland

Filling up the shelves with new pots
We're hoping to fire the wood kiln in Ireland July 11. That gives me another two weeks to get some more pots made. My daughter Chelsea is arriving here at the end of June to help me with last minute pots, loading and firing - and then we're taking off for a few days of rest and relaxation.

You can see in the photo above that I've made four large platters. These will be in the back of the kiln flanked on either side by the tall pots you see at the left. I'm using a white clay from Cornwall, England this year, and decorating many of the pots by carving through a light coating of Irish shale I obtained from an old brick facility in Castlecomer, Ireland.

Last year was our first time firing the kiln here, and we learned a lot about clays available here. Some worked well and some did not. While the Cornwall clay is a bit more expensive, I really like the way it throws. It comes in 50-pound bags, unpugged, so I wedge a lot. The shale was a major ingredient in brick making before the plant closed a few years ago. It fires to a chocolate brown and the ash from my wood kiln reacts well with it.

Here's hoping for a successful firing. We will be taking pots to the Galway Potters' Market July 17 and 18, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

W.J.Doble clay with Irish shale, fired here in 2014

Friday, January 9, 2015

Busier than usual in January

You might think a self-employed potter would take it easy in January. Around here it stays busy, this January especially so. In the making:
 - Several hundred awards for this year's Uwharrie Mountain Run
- Twenty bath salt jars for a hotel
- Two samples of a new design for foot-soaking bowls for a hotel
- Nine large mugs for the Randolph Road Runners' 5K race

The shelves in my workshop are getting full. I took my new camera and went around the shop taking pictures of everything in progress.

Bells that I made before the new year

Chelsea made quite a few of her birds while here

Cups by Levi for the Uwharrie Mountain Run

The two foot-soaking bowls and the bath salt jars

Some cups for testing a new stain

Susan did medallions this year for Uwharrie Mountain Run

Chelsea's mugs for 5K

A couple of soul pots that didn't make it into the last firing