One of my favourite of Chris’s poems. I hope the pottery piece does it justice. Such hope.


I know longer know where swallows go in winter

Or where the wind blows

I look and seldom see the flicker of fading northern light

and now the sky is sleeping

In a nook of last year’s leaves something soft is stirring

What lies dark will find the light

The earth it is still turning.

It’s lovely when shops, galleries and individuals want to buy or stock our goods. Sometimes they are withing striking distance and I can deliver them – like today. heading out over a very blustery Clyde to the Seagull Gallery with some wave pictures.They were an order for one of her customers who wanted four along one wall in her house – I hope we might get a picture to see how they look in position.

Sometimes though I need to post things out – what a worry that can be and how relieved I am to hear that things have survived in tact. One piece recently didn’t make it and their replacement piece is being fired and glazed today. Usually they do though – with copious amounts of bubble-wrap, sellotape and newspaper or straw being used and large red-lettered ‘fragile’ tape wound around the parcel.

Recently I was asked to make a very special picture for a wedding gift – you can see it in the picture below. I even put bubble-wrap inside the picture between the ceramics and the glass. I was so pleased the buyer liked it and it arrived unscathed.

Still, it is all part of the business and I have learned a lot over the years about every aspect of business – from ceramics to accounting to labelling and packaging – long may the exciting journey continue.

​I might have mentioned Pauline before. I share my pottery space with Pauline. There is a story there…

​Pauline and I met through a mutual friend Angela. Pauline was running a small business at that point called Sea Drift, making beautiful hangings from beach finds all wire-wrapped and gorgeous. We became friends and shared our crafting interests to the point where we decided to set up a business together called Blue Sky Craft Workshops – we had a few years of great fun, helping people to make many kinds of lovely things – jewellery, clothing, rag-rugs, mosaics, scrapbook pictures, felting and much more. If we didn’t know how to make something we would either teach ourselves or bring in a tutor.

During this time we began to share our pottery dreams – I had once been a part of a pottery team in a centre of adults with learning disabilities although I really didn’t know much at all and Pauline had had lessons on wheel-work and really missed making pots. One day she looked on ebay out of curiosity and found a kiln at a knock-down price in Derbyshire, my home county – so my hubby (Englishman), her hubby (Scotsman) and a pal (Irishman) – you can imagine the jokes – set off to collect it for us gathering the help of many uncles to get it into the van.

It was some months before we worked out how to get the kiln down into its cellar space, but that gave us the time to get some support from Business Gateway and they helped us with costs of setting up the studio space, shelving and paint and work benches. we are very grateful for that support.

And I am grateful for having met Pauline – we have laughed and dreamed and had a go together – we work very differently and have complemented one another. We have encouraged one another to keep going when we have down days and have shared all of our ups and downs. Pauline has much more knowledge of ceramics than me and has happily shared her skills and together we have run courses for others too.

Pauline’s Sea Drift Argyll business is now mostly pottery and it is so beautiful – marine colours on terracotta clay and flowers and ferns pressed in to the clay to create gorgeous texture. She sells on Folksy and through her Facebook page.

We have recently disbanded our Blue Sky workshops and are concentrating on our own pottery businesses and our pottery workshops – do get in touch if you would like to book either or both of us. It has been really sad drawing a line under our joint venture but I look forward to seeing Pauline’s pottery develop an even wider audience especially as she is soon to be moving into her own studio space. We will still share a kiln so we’ll have to bump into one another occasionally…


Blairmore Gallery not far from us has recently been taken on by new owner Ciorsdan (pronounced kirsten) and we wish her all the very best. The Gallery has been a popular stopping off point over the years on the lovely road along Loch Long – local and Scottish art and crafts, lovely homemade soups and cakes and friendly folks. The Gallery is next to the lovely Blairmore Pier which I discovered this week is one of only five piers in Scotland. There are two in the Edinburgh area and the other two are local to us in Dunoon and Rothesay. Three within easy reach – I didn’t recently they were a rarity here in Scotland; it makes them all the more special. Here are some photos, taken the other day when I delivered some pottery to them.


​I have recently joined (and become hooked on) Instagram. Taking photographs of the details of my creating times, my family times and my inspirations helps me to feel connected and notice the joys of the small things, rather than whizzing by and moving on. I have to admit I do love photography anyway. It’s not a big skill of mine, but it is definitely an enjoyment. Now too it is the way to promote what you do – as someone said recently, “Do we have to be photographers too?” – I see their point but I also am glad of an excuse to snap away! Find me on Instgram as Seatreeargyll .

​I have been working on these pieces for some time, experimenting with shapes and colours. It has been in turn joyful, frustrating and freeing. The three shapes I am staying with is the wavy plate, the oval planter and the cylindrical vase as pictured. The lines reflect the shorelines here, especially as the tide goes out and leaves lines of seaweed, shiny shells and small rockpools – such a peaceful moment in time.


​Before making the vase into a 3D piece, I roll it out and cut a fairly rectangular shape with one straight edge and one that just neatens the raw edge of the clay however it has taken shape as I roll it out. Once it is dry enough I start making my marks in the clay – some lines with slip, some lines scored into the clay and some shapes added to the clay before then adding the poetry. The clay is then shaped around a circular base and sealed to make a vase. The slip I am using o make the lines is blue but once wiped with a black underglaze it takes on a lovely soft grey hue while the letters keep their clearly defined shapes.


​One of the best bits will have to left to your imagination as it is so dark I can’t get it to show up on a photograph! I have been making my own glazes and have managed to create (twice now so here’s hoping I have cracked it) a beautiful and rich dark blue glaze which I am now using on the inside of the vases. It is almost reflective, like looking into a deep pool. Maybe you can come along and see one in person…

​Every now and then on good old Facebook I do a giveaway. It serves a number of purposes. Partly I like the idea of posting a wee gift to someone who might not be able to buy a piece or have the cash to treat themselves. Partly it helps me to gauge what people are liking and what they go quiet about. And of course it helps to promote Seatree – more people see the ‘giveaway’ posts. So I thought I would give you a heads up… head over to Facebook and like Seatree’s page and you will see when the giveaway pops up – one of these fishing boat posts could be yours!


I have some more pottery workshops coming up this year along with my fellow potter Pauline. We will be doing a next steps course for the folks who were learning with us recently at the Burgh Hall in Dunoon and also a day’s course up in Oban at the developing community project Rockfield Centre. We are also going to be running a whole course for Argyll College from October to December. For that we needed artists CVs and a whole detailed programme about what students will achieve and the processes involved. Another stretching moment. When we had done it all we felt quite pleased – seeing it on paper makes it seem like we really know what we are talking about.


​Here is one of our students deep in thought at a day’s course we ran at Tighnabruaich Gallery earlier this year. It’s so lovely helping people get used to handling clay, freeing the negative feelings hey have about ability and creativity, and watching the thoughts and ideas develop into actual pieces – each person’s finished work unique and special. We shall we looking forward to an autumn of classes…


t feels very adventurous that we are now selling over the border in England! Gallery Forty-Nine looks gorgeous and I hope we get to visit one day in the lovely old market town of Bridligton on the Yorkshire coast. We have such an affinity with that coast – it is where we spent our honeymoon as we loved the area – such beautiful coastlines and sunsets and good fish and chips. We have sent a package of goodies to them – mainly fishies as they are by the sea and hope that this is what customers will find appealing.

​It is always such a mix of feelings when we start selling somewhere new: it is very exciting, it is humbling that someone likes our products, there is the pressured feeling of getting it all right and the relief of getting things delivered or posted. Then you have to wait and see. Each are we sell in will be different – depending on the shop style and on the area. We are learning all the time and so thankful for the encouragement of the shops and galleries that sell for us. So, we hope Yorkshire visitors like our sea blues and shoals of fish…


​I think I have mentioned before that the creating part is much easier than the selling part – not because people don’t like our pieces, just because selling your own work can be quite a challenge! It was how the local Collective got started – having visited a craft co-operative while on holiday on the East coast I realised how much easier it is to celebrate and promote other artist’s work. If we formed a co-operative we could sell each other’s work. But the extra unexpected benefit is the confidence it has given me in our own work. Maybe it’s ok after all!


​Yesterday I was at the beautiful and peaceful Benmore Botanical Gardens for their Open Day. Vintage tractors, birds of prey, Loch Fyne Alesvenison burgers and the Craft Fair. It’s a great chance to meet customers old and new – including a chap visiting he area from  Huddersfield who has brought from us before – and to chat with other crafters. I got in a muddle setting up my stall and my fellow potter Pauline came over and helped move a couple of things around and suddenly it all looked more cohesive. It was one of those moments where it’s about co-operation and not competition.

Some of the learning too has been about beginning to narrow down what we create so that we are becoming clearer about our ‘brand ‘ – not a word I like, but it seems to be important in order to keep our focus while creating and so that customers know what they will find on our stall, either online or in person. My learning runs together – learning all the time how to make better pots and how to sell better – both steep but very enjoyable climbs…