BCTF Harrogate

named stand lo

Well, what an amazing week it’s been – so much to learn and so much inspiration gained from the British Craft Trade Fair last weekend. I’ll be posting up more fully about all the other ceramicists I had the chance to meet and chat to. For now, though, here are a couple of shots of my stand at the show. As the Crow Flies was in the Newcomers Gallery, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the other traders there and making friends with people producing everything from contemporary jewellery to beautiful knitted textiles. 

doily display lo

So many thanks to all the team at BCTF for creating such a great event, and to Angieof Craft&Design magazine for sponsoring the Newcomers’ Gallery and giving such a good talk and advice at the traders’ breakfast club.


Work in progress, in the elf studio…

Yikes, 3 markets booked in and stock needs to start emanating magically from my studio/hands/imagination/somewhere?…. So, strangely aided by the grip of a slightly head-hoovering post party slump I managed to turn my surviving (s)elf to the single-minded task of potting.  And *delighted* found myself to be undistractedly productive for many hours.  Without the adhd liveliness of a usual daytime weekend mind, I actually concentrated!

So, here are some little monochromatic tasters of goods yet to be finished… naked porcelain objects gently drying in readiness for decoration, glazes and double firing.

I’m especially looking forward to a flight of swallows.  I found a beautiful brass swallow in a little antiques market, full of forlorn Presents from Bournemouth, militaria and horrid horse brasses.  Just as I was lamenting how anyone could possibly buy or collect brass objects, so tacky and crass looking… my eye lit upon a single swallow perched on an almost-packed away stall and I knew we had a future together. My wonderful pottery teacher Bill showed me how to cast it and I am now creating porcelain swallows to be decorated in slips and oxides, hopefully to swoop gracefully onto people’s walls for Christmas time…


Ladies of Cliftonwood

whahey!! easter crafty baking joy in Cliftonwood as the Ladies get together for their fourth outing to make simnel cakes and easter nests; undignify themselves blowing eggs (horrible business, especially duck eggs) and getting painty; fondle the chicks that are hatching at an alarming rate in Netty, Jen and Bec’s back room; eat boiled eggs and soldiers with extremely nifty Ukrainian shrink-wrap boiled egg designs on… and other appropriate sorts of activities.

I finally got my marzipan applied and browned this evening, having left far too late last night with a very hot cake and no bike lights to do anything about it before bed yesterday.  And this was the exciting result (note the slightly crushed and smudged painted eggs produced especially for the occasion and hung using Holly’s extremely cunning matchstick-and-string Steiner equipment (thus proving the worth of a steiner education for daily living…)

a mo a mass a mat a marmalady moon…. our first try at productivity on a grand scale yielded some rather fine marmalades in January.  We rock.

** for things of a more foodie nature – please go to my cookzine which is currently residing at http://frangipanepie.wordpress.com/


well… what a weekend, an emergence from hibernation, a getting together of many beautiful people, a whooping up, a gathering of far flung folks before they spin off into the wider world, unlikely to ever be all in the same room together again… what a thought.  It seems Bristol is emptying; a diaspora of its own diasporees… Alice and Matthaeus were back for a few days of triumphant post-wedding multiplicitousness, expecting twins to pop out in but a few months.  How lovely, how ‘normal’ to have them here, ready to meet for teas, dinners, drinks, saunas, chats.  Still, Munich is now their home – in fact, I must get back on the bandwagon and try to procure some tickets to see them before too long.  Kate and Ollie, our illustrious Canadians, not forgetting Fin, soon to resume being Canadian, are presently leavinge for pastures old and new in the east of Canada…

What a party they had last Friday.  The Polish Club, resplendent with its 1970s Polish football club posters above the bar, long-suffering bar staff and capacious dance floor held the first leg of the farewell tour…which later took us to the horror of Luna Clifton, a positively frightening club beneath the 10 o’clock shop, full of well-watered ladies in the twilight of their middle years sporting a uniform of ill-advised t-shirt dresses, peroxide or jet black coiffures and craggy facepaint… and finally to Ben Neighbour’s flat to waken the dead until 5am, entertaining ourselves with a plethora of fine hats…amongst other frivolities. I was proud to be the last person to wish Ollie goodnight, given my rare all-night party record.

I found it difficult to wear many of the hats at Ben Neighbour’s house due to my being dressed as a snowflake (dress code: what does Canada make you think of?), with a large pastry cutter lashed to my head, amongst other things… this is what I found left of the melted snowflake girl on the morrow…

Vegan, Sugar-free, Orange Polenta and Almond Cake…. mmmmmmm!

Today’s triumph against detoxing… simply must share it as I searched for many a wasted moment to find this on the tinterweb yesterday, to no avail so had to wing it myself.

100g ground almonds

100g fine polenta

up to 100g SR flour, sifted

1 teaspoon B.P

100ml sunflower oil

150g sticky dates, chopped

juice and zest of 2 large oranges

dribble of almond essence

*              *                 *                *                *                   *

Combine dry ingredients and mix in the oil; if it’s really loose shake in a bit more almond and polenta.  Mix well and stir in the zest and almond essence.  Squeeze the 2 oranges into a blender, add the chopped dates and blend to form a thick pasty liquid.  Stir this through the mixture – this provides the moisture for the polenta to cook.

Tip the lot into a square baking tin which you have greased well, lined with greaseproof and greased again with sunflower oil. Bake in oven pre-heated to 180 degrees for about 30 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Delicieux.  Must now go and read the back of the soya cream carton and see if its sugar free as that’s the only thing that could enhance the experience after 2 weeks without cake!