This is the bottom half of a Jardinere I saw at Salts Mill, Saltaire in Yorkshire this week. I was attracted by the mythical beast. A sphinx perhaps? I love the strong red glaze and the crisp modelling of it. There is a top section which has a cherub or some sort of child modeled on it.

I would have included larger photos, but I’m running out of memory!

What to talk about?

Tiles in sunlight. Yesterday we visited Middleport pottery and went into the shop. These tiles were hanging on the wall, the sunlight shining on them. I liked the abstract look of this. I could have taken pictures of all the plates and patterns in there, but I took this instead. Whoever put this display up could have just put the tiles up in square blocks, but instead it’s been done in an asymmetric pattern.

WIP a while ago

Before my arm started shaking I was doing paintings like this. (for the last year and a half or so my left arm has been gradually getting worse with increased shaking ) Then I had to see the doctor and mentioned the problem. He said it was above his pay grade! I am waiting for tests. The thing is that art and particularly painting mean everything to me. I don’t know if lockdowns have knocked my confidence? Plus illness gets to you. Making it more difficult to complete work. I’ve got myself into a situation where I will do quick pictures and sketches, but I feel nervous of doing anything more substantial. I don’t usually talk about how I feel mentally, but I’m feeling down today. I will probably be OK tomorrow?


Just back from the last day of the BCB (British Ceramic biannual). I would have gone before but my leg restricted my movement. The exhibition was over three floors but luckily there was a lift. Of the numerous ceramics my favourites were a series of mosaics by a ceramic artist called Cleo Mussi. I will post other photos but I wanted to share these.

Cactus pot

A cheerful, colourful, square pot I have a Christmas cactus in. It was outside earlier in the year, but I noticed the glaze was coming off the other one so I bought it in (I think frost and rain got to them). This one’s a bit messy round the back, but then I just have the good side facing out. You can make anything nice if you position it well, even if its cheap and cheerful.

What Maggie did next…

Wore a hole punch as a hat…. Sat on my bookcase, surrounded by books. ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’ is one of them. What would they have thought of each other? Stern, disciplined, sometimes cruel. Were nort the characteristics of Mr Chips!

This ceramic Toby jug is based on the Spitting Image version of Maggie Thatcher. I also have a (slightly cracked) egg cup of her. That was because I used it as a candle holder.

No I was not impressed by her callous disregard for the poorest in society. Nor her attacks on the Miners and her introduction of the poll tax. So why have I got her? She was a present off a Potter who made her. She makes me laugh, to think about the ideas she had. At least she’s gone now.

Cat fish?

My friend gave me this. A hand painted ceramic cat with fish on it. One fish seems to be biting the tail of the other one, both they and the cat seem to be happy and smiling. There seems to be a sea shell below the head of one of the fish. Perhaps this is a fishing cat? It’s a flat back ornament with no decoration on the back. I think it’s sweet, naive, simple, a bit rough round the edges. But fun.

My Emma Bailey ceramics cat

It’s a lovely little cat with yellow and black decoration. It’s only small, about 7 inches tall. He’s smart and adds to my ornaments on the mantlepiece. Emma does larger cats and lots of other objects. The ceramics have designs that are reminiscent of Clarice Cliff pottery from the 1930’s.

Emma Bailey ceramics is based at Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Check opening times as the pottery is open at the moment.

Beautiful brickwork

I don’t know much about bricks, except that they are fired clay. But I do like to see them when they are used decoratively. The way they are laid is called the ‘bond’ where it depends whether they are laid horizontally across the surface of the wall, or with the short end showing on the face of the wall and the length turned 90° so that the brick is across into the layer behind or allows the wall to turn the corner at the edge of the building.

As you can see from this photo, different coloured bricks are often used to make patterns and shapes in the brickwork or are used to frame tiled areas of text stating when the building was built.

I also know that brick sizes changed over time. That they were smaller in the past and hand made. Then molds were made and the brick sizes became standardised. I don’t know all the history of that sorry.