March sees an annual Instagram event called ‘March Meet the Maker’. Every day there is a challenge to help you express some of your creative life to your followers. I (Michaela) do my best to participate as it makes me stop and think about the prompts- what they mean to me and how to respond to them. Prompts have been things such as ‘inspiration’, ‘the story behind our name’, ‘dream collaboration’, ‘self-care.’.. and the one that prompted this video was how it’s made.

(You can follow my response to these prompts via our instgram feed at the bottom of this page)

Pottery is such a complex process – preparing the clay, designing, making, drying, firing, glazing – each step has a space between it so you can imagine the chaos in the studio sometimes with pots at various steps dotted around the pottery. So it was quite hard to show one image that summed that up and I decided to choose to show just one step.

I put the first step of the design in the clay when it is a rolled out slab – in this case, flowers and poetry. The slab was then made into a mug, dried and fired. To add a subtle colour to the lettering and flowers, I daub the pot in various splashes of underglaze, glaze and watered down oxides then wash them back with a damp sponge, leaving the colour within the lines I had printed or inscribed.

If you do instagram you can check out all of my #marchmeetthemaker posts and some have gone onto our facebook feed too. Let us know which your favourite posts have been – and we hope you enjoy the little video snippet.


This wee cup is one I made as a sampler for an upcoming workshop for Mothers Day. (There are still places available by the way. Give us a shout for more information or check out the workshops page on this website.)

However, my point of showing you the picture is that this is what happens when we work together. I’ll explain.

I made the cup and saucer and it was out of the kiln on the table with a whole kiln full of glazing; shop and individual orders; workshop pots; pots made by other potters who hire my kiln. It was going to be a busy day. Our grown-up daughter is living at home with us and in exchange for board and lodgings does a day’s work for us a week. (We like exchanges; you’ll have worked that out!) Mostly, Em does admin for us – gallery spreadsheets, updating Etsy, photographing stock – but sometimes I call her in to the pottery. We had done quite a bit of glazing already and then reached the cup and saucer. I was doing some detailed glazing on some poetry plaques so I gave Emily free reign (or is it free rein?) and she chose this spring yellow tinged with green around the edges.

It’s so different from what I would have chosen. But it’s lovely and cheerful and bright – just the thing for a Mothers Day gift and for an eye-catching photograph.

We live and work together as a family and there are many joys to that, the simple days, in the pottery, woodshed, garden, taking a picnic lunch where and when we choose, coorying up by the fire when it’s an admin day. There are also challenges though. Different views and ideas and ways of doing things. The challenge is to learn from one another and letting go of our way of doing things. Keep cheering us on.

I am starting to get busy outside, and I love it. Every year I long for spring and when it comes, it never disappoints. The smell of the earth. The feeling of energy returning to the whole world around me, from the birds to the flush of shy green on the trees.



The poly tunnels have been cleaned out, and all the beds laced with well rotted compost. I have also created a couple of out door beds, including one for a new experiment, growing tea.


There is a back story to this. A year or so ago, we had a visit from a lovely bloke called Tim, who runs a magnificent gardening project over in Edinburgh. Tim looked at our typical west of Scotland landscape, dotted with rhododendron bushes and said ‘you have ideal conditions for growing tea’. We expressed surprise, but Tim told us that tea is a camellia (Camellia Sinesis to be precise) and loves acid soils and high rainfall. It just so happened that one of our other friends, Ali, was present and she and I started to dream about a local community connection project, involving tea. What better way of symbolising connection is there, after all?


Since then, the organisation that we were both part of through which this idea could develop (South Cowal Development Company) has been busy with other things, but the idea has not gone away. I bought some cheap plants on ebay, and tried to nurture them in the poly tunnel last year, but they are not very happy, so I decided it was time to get them outside;


I am determined to make as much use of our land as possible, and I read something recently about tapping birch trees for their sap;



The next task was to turn the sap into syrup. Cue a LOT of boiling!



The fist lot made a tiny bit of very think syrup because I over boiled it. The next one I boiled less, and the result was sweet, runny syrup, which is like a smoky- tangy version of maple syrup. I am going to make some flapjack with it!


It is easy and fun to collect sap- and there are lots of things you can do with it- check this out.