In winter, the land rests. The ground digests the fall of last years leaves and only the earthworms are active, stirring as deep as ideas. There are green things to come, but not yet. Not yet.

This is an important time for those of us who make things for a living. The flow of creativity needs times of fallow also. Times to take stock, not just to make stock.

Times to look backwards as well as forwards.


For us, this means doing some less than sexy things- sums, spread sheets, reviewing web sites. Tax returns. Grappling with the dreadful essentials.

For me (Chris) it is also a time when we can dance with the glorious possibilities of the new. Perhaps we can allow objects to shape these ideas.

Like this bird. You might be hearing more from him as the year unfolds.


As far as he knows, Bird is the last of his kind.

No-one was left to name him, so he is just



Bird sometimes wondered what family felt like

He squeezed his eyes to remember as hard has he could remember

But only remembered being



Bird stood high on a hill and raised his beak to the breeze

He sucked the scent carried in from the stir of the sea

Where whales sang.


Bird knew that somewhere out in the big deep blue

The Great Spirit who made the world

And holds it all together

Was swimming still


Bird decided he would never be lonely

Ever again.


But winter is short. The pressures of the new season are calling us. We have just heard that we have been accepted to exhibit at Potfest which is both exciting and daunting.

Better get back to the workbench…




Chris and I started our poetry and pottery business without any formal qualifications in our chosen artistic pursuits (English or ceramics.) This meant lots of trying, failing and experimenting but also lots of support and encouragement and tips along the way from others. We are so thankful to friends and family who have believed in us, to galleries and to fellow artists who encourage and inspire us.  How else do we learn if not from each other?


We love is to pass this on when we can – to see others exploring, creating, learning and surprising themselves. We run workshops in both pottery and poetry – or sometimes a combination of the two, which we love. Chris has also curated two books of other people’s poetry, giving many poets their first taste of publication, which he sees as a massive privilege.




There is some information here about our upcoming workshops... making some wee sculptures, a day of beach-combing, poetry and pottery, a beginners’ course, a workshop to make some whisky tumblers… We’d love to see you here. Clay is so therapeutic and we have a cosy garden workshop with a log burner and a kettle. As well as the planned workshops, we also take bookings for family groups, hen parties, team meetings or a group of pals just wanting an evening out doing something creative. Let us know your own ideas.




But I also want to let you know that we can sometimes hire out studio and kiln space to those of you keen to START your own creative hobby or business. We love seeing what others create – It may be from the same substance (clay) but what a variety of design and style is possible. It’s also fun opening the kiln to be surprised (in a good way!) by other people’s range of colours. If you fancy being a part of the gang, give us a shout – or if you aren’t local, maybe find out what is happening in your area.


As well as the creative side of what we do, there is also the less exciting, but essential, business of running a business. It can also help to share this process so we meet with others to review and plan and have even arranged a virtual group for encouraging one another to getting our tax returns done in April this year!


Small businesses are about relationships. How else could they succeed?







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New Year…

It’s a couple of weeks in, but it’s time to review our last year and look forward into the coming year… Starting with the realisation that I was months behind with the year’s accounts! Chris says watching me do the accounts was funny – swinging from doom to joy to doom to joy as I put all the pieces together. All in all, we’re doing ok… paying the bills, but nothing extra, but we are living the life we chose and loving it.


We thank you all so much for your support – comments and likes on social media, coming along to any events, taking part in workshops and purchasing our pottery. It makes all the difference to us.

Today, I met with two friends who also run creative businesses. Together we looked at the Design Trust worksheets as we do every year. Reflecting on last year and creatively planning next year. It’s great to share the thoughts and ideas. We can remind one another of our achievements and help to bounce ideas around about any solutions needed for challenges. It helps put things in perspective and reminds me of the good things as well as the things that need tackling… like the exhibition, the wonderful commissions we’ve been a part of, the joy of working together at home…

One of the topics we talked about was the need to still be creative – in the way of doing something new, pushing boundaries and creating something just for fun. We talked about many ideas but my choice is to find a bit of creative time outside of the pottery doing some sketching – I feel a bit vulnerable but will sometimes post a picture on social media, keep a look out! More exciting though might be the chance to work collaboratively with Chris and two close friends who are artists and musicians… pottery, poetry, art and music… let’s hope we can make a plan and make it happen! In fact, I’m away to email them now and get those ideas bouncing….

You can find the worksheets here… I’d highly recommend them…

This piece was first published on but it seemed relevant to some of our previous discussions about seatree!

Here is my contention; being an artist can have a serious impact on your mental health.

There is a compulsion that drives people who are creative to create. Those of us who find space, finance and time to pursue this compulsion are truly blessed. We are living the dream, right?

But our art, whatever the medium, is a fickle thing. As soon as we think we have it, it flies away. Sometimes it seems that what we are seeking is always just beyond reach.

There are obvious reasons for this, to do with the nature of art, its indefinable qualities and the value we place upon it. How do we know that what we are creating is good? And even if it is good, why is it not better?

Perhaps it is about recognition- but this is dangerous. Few will be honest to our faces.

Perhaps we need to rely on people we trust?

But these people will typically be our peers- making their own art. Art that will be different to ours. Better.

Perhaps then it is about commercial success- the degree to which people buy what we make. But that too is a fools game, for the commercial world has many rules of success that have nothing to do with excellence, or depth of meaning.

Even those who have known a measure of success (however we measure it) tend to be riven with doubts about their ability to repeat it. If a potter has made the perfect pot, a musician the sweetest song, a painter a picture that brings people to tears, the expectancy of everyone is that they will simply do it again. They will have no idea that for each piece of perfection, there have been a hundred pieces that have been mediocre. We start to believe that lightening struck, but can not strike twice.

I think that art arises from unfulfilled yearning. From a longing for encounters with something deeper, something more meaningful, perhaps something beautiful. For many of us, there is a deep satisfaction discovered in process- in the shaping of our raw material. For some too, there is orgiastic release in performance, but ultimately, once the work is done, we have to return to the ordinary mess of our ordinary lives, which are occupied not just by the me-centric nature of creativity, but have to embrace the compromise of community.

If these words are resonating with you, then perhaps you are my sister, my brother, in the family of Almost. Almost finished. Almost good. Almost satisfied.

Perhaps though, as a new year unfolds, it is time to show our artistic selves a little of the compassion we might offer to others. I wrote the list below to myself, and for the rest of the Almosts.

No piece of art is ever perfect. We will all fail more than we succeed.

An unfinished piece is not a piece at all.

What value have the opinions of others anyway? If art is truly great, it will divide opinion almost by definition.

Create first from your heart and soul. It might not be the way to riches, but it is your only truth.

Fear kills creativity. I don’t mean performance anxiety, I mean fear of failure. They are not the same thing.

Money fears are particularly destructive. How much do you need, really?

Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. It is the human condition, so get over it. You are not an art robot.

Do it anyway, because what else is there?

Rather than hoping for encouragement, find others to encourage. Regard this as penance for your own self-centredness. Let this create connection.

Collaborate when you can, but don’t be afraid to say no.

There are lots of things more important than art- even though it might not seem like it at times.

Art is not bigger than God for example.

But God can be found in art.