During these strange and dark days of lockdown due to COVID-19, our house has been full. Our son Will and daughter Emily both live on boats, in a boatyard that has closed, so both of them have come home, along with Em’s boyfriend James. We feel deeply blessed because whilst many of us are struggling with lonliness and isolation, we have our closest family around us. The unfairness in the world is being exposed by this virus, so I think it is right to be able to express our gratitude for the good things when they come to us.

Anyway, Emily has long helped out in the pottery when she has been around so is well used to clay. This period of lockdown has been the ideal opportunity for her to revive her clay creativity, so much so that she is planning to carry on potting, as part of a West Coast mixed income- in her case, probably including teaching fiddle, working on boats and goodness knows what else. It is the Argyll way!

We love the way that everyone brings their own personality to potting, and Emily is no different. She brings a riot of colours along with an almost obsessive attention to detail, which will be no surprise to those who know her. Emily also loves plants- and originally started making pots for succulents and cacti, so these theme will also come through her work.

You can check out and buy some of her work in our shop, as part of a flash sale, running for two days from today. Grab them while they are hot!

The way to find her work is to go to our web store and look for the category ‘Emily’s pots’.

That saying about the cobbler’s kids… I think it’s something like, ‘the cobbler’s children never have shoes’.

It’s a bit like that in our house with a half-tiled kitchen for many months, but it is now finished, even grouted. Tiles are very simple to make really, once you have a design. This is the water, hills and birds seen from our kitchen window but it my favourite red (ish) glaze. 

I have a tile cutter, so there’s really no excuse for taking eighteen months to make these…

Once the clay is rolled out, using guides to make them the same width, they need smoothing, using a rubber kidney that is my favourite tool and a damp sponge for the edges. The design was etched in with a stick and then the tiles are layered between pieces of plasterboard – the most useful stuff, gathered every now and then when anyone does a house build or renovation! It helps the clay dry evenly and flat. Once dry and fired, they are glazed and fired again. And then, they make it onto the kitchen wall!
Well, here they are anyway – what do you think?

Taken a few short weeks ago on a walk up into the Cowal hills during a snow storm. The sun was just starting to find a way through…

What a time this has been. We are just days into the ‘lockdown’ and it’s been a whirlwind of emotion for me (Michaela). Chris has enjoyed the rise of Spring, loves isolation and having family around with projects he can help with, so he’s settled in well.

I’ve missed people popping in or coming for workshops or to chat pottery, but loved having the family home. I’ve lost my thread with no deadlines for orders, but loved having time to create without them too. I’ve panicked about money with almost all our income disappearing but then remembered how to share the little we have. Sometimes, life feels normal as we work at home anyway and then I remember, it’s all very strange indeed. I’ve felt overwhelmed by news but after deciding not to listen to radio 4 anymore, I’ve discovered wonderful dramas and hilarious comedies on BBC Sounds. The new normal – no visitors, no deadlines, no money, no radio – quiet family time, creative time, spreading kindness, discovering news things. It will do.

As for creativity and pottery and poetry. We were working to a schedule that included getting some larger, new pieces for an exhibition at Tighnabruaich Gallery that was going to run alongside the Fife Regatta – not something I was aware of before, but they are the most beautiful boats. The regatta itself is cancelled now, but we decided to go ahead and create anyway, as we had done the thinking and the planning and the ideas were now there, waiting to be made. You can see the beginnings of some of the work here. Stay tuned for the finished pieces. We’re not sure yet how they will be exhibited or when, but the creating of them has been good. Chris wrote some new poetry for the pieces too so that gives me some new words to share with you all. 

Meanwhile, we wish you well, and hope that you are staying safe and finding some good moments to get you through these strange days too.