Thursday, December 31, 2009

GoingFlying on Christmas Day

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas. I was taken flying by my neighbour in a Tiger Moth aeroplane. We were accompanied by two other aircraft - a Minicab and a Stearman. It was such a lovely afternoon and we spent an hour flying across Hastings and over the coast along Ocean Beach and Waimarama before turning inland. It was a wonderful thing to do on Christmas Day. Wishing you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you all the Very Best for Christmas and the New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pot and Geraniums

This pot was from our first anagama firing. It has been outside for many years but has not deteriorated and looks good on the deck with the flowering geraniums.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cornus - Strawberry Tree

I think these trees are "Cornus" but I'm not sure. Anyway they are flowering wonderfully at present and later the birds will be having a good feast

Monday, December 14, 2009

Estelle's Mizusashi

This lovely soft mizusashi is similar to one Estelle gave to Sanyo Fujii in 1983 after the second firing of our anagama. Fujii Sensei thought it was a rather feminine style but he appreciated the quality of the throwing and the colours produced by the firing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yellow Daisies

Just a bright photograph to brighten up a cloudy day

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Colourful Cylinder

This is another of our "children" that is not quite perfect. Fired next to the fire grate it has dunted and refilled the crack and a small piece of another pot is stuck inside. It is, however, very colourful and useful with a story to tell those who can read anagama firings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

DH82 Tiger Moth

This photo is of another beautifully restored Tiger Moth aircraft. I still have a very soft spot for these planes as they were what I learned to fly many years ago. They were great fun!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Salt Glazed Squat Bottle

This salt glazed squat bottle was made some time ago and fired in an experimental salt kiln we built at the local Polytech. The colours are lovely but, unfortunately, it stuck down and the base has had to be repaired - that is why it is the last of many I made that I still have.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flax Flowers

The other day I saw a bell bird gathering nectar from these flowers and its head was bright yellow with the pollen it had touched. I used to decorate some of my glazed domestic wares with flax images which were very popular.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dark Bamboo Vase

This is another of Estelle's pots from our Retrospective Exhibition of 2005. It has been made of McPherson's 21 clay, from Nelson, which fired best towards the rear of the anagama. This high iron bearing clay (12% iron) built up this magnificent metallic sheen as the iron migrated to the surface. It accepted very little ash and hence was this lovely reddish/purple colour all over.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Wreck

This boat was from one of our earlier firings and was subjected to a very hard time. It does hold water and can be used for flowers but it is not to everyone's taste. Although it was not what was expected when it came from the kiln I have grown to respect it for what it is.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Not a very good arrangement but I wanted to try with these iris and a water lily. Unfortunately the lily closed up overnight and to get another from the pond was too difficult. A suiban is a summer ikebana container where the water shows in the wide form, giving a cooling look to the arrangement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Red Poppies

These poppies are self seeding and just grow wild around my garden. They do not last long but make a bright splash of colour when they are flowering.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Single Flower Container

Estelle and I both made these vases and when a group was placed together they seemed to take on their own personalities. With a stem of miscanthus and a single flower they make a lovely display and are so simple to arrange.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Historic Aircraft

This historic aircraft is a DH60G and was flown from London to Sydney in 1934. It was then shipped to Auckland and flown to Bridge Pa Aerodrome to land here on the 13th. November, 1934 - exactly 75 years ago. The restored plane was back to celebrate the occasion last Friday and was accompanied by several Tiger Moth aircraft and several of the H.B.E.C club planes. The historic plane was flown by the daughter of the pilot who originally flew the plane from London to Sydney

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Lombok Bowl

This is a genuinely old Lombok bowl as its provenance says that it was found amongst many pieces from a wrecked ship some year ago. We used it to serve something and then put it in the dishwasher only to have all the ingrained dirt removed. I liked it better when it was dirty.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Liriodendron Flower

This lovely flower is from my very large Liriodendron tree. I am not sure that I have spelt its name correctly but it has the common name of "Tulip Tree" and has many flowers showing at the moment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bizen Brush Container

This brush container was made by Estelle and is part of a series she made in the form of "tin cans". Although called a brush container it makes a lovely small flower vase.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Natural Rock Kogo

This is a natural rock artefact which is very like a Japanese incense box. We found this on the West Coast of the South Island many years ago long before we started making Kogo from clay. A pity it is not complete but I feel that the Japanese would use such a piece if at all possible.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wildflower Garden

This garden is just self sown and makes a pretty sight most of the year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Square Bottle from Mashiko

We found this press-moulded square bottle when we visited Mashiko in 1978. It has typical Mashiko glaze colours and is a very sweet little pot.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Picture of the Full Moon

Another Full Moon picture! It is hard to get the exposure just right but I quite like this result.

Monday, November 2, 2009

White Wisteria in Kakehana

From yesterday's blog I thought I would show you how a small hanging vase called a "Kakehana" makes an ideal receptacle to show these pendulous bracts of wisteria.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

White Wisteria

This lovely pendulous wisteria is at its best now. There are three different wisteria in my garden - this one, another white one with larger flowers and the more usual purple flowering one which comes out earlier than either of the two white varieties.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blue Iris

This is one of several different iris that grow in my garden. They are just scattered about - not together in groups. They make a lovely splash of colour when they are out and I love the stiff, spear-like leaves amongst the other plants.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Five Sided Kogo

This is one of my incense boxes fired in the anagama kiln. These small pieces were very satisfying to make but not at all economic. When we were in Japan we saw a wonderful exhibition of over 550 kogo from the George Clemenceau Collection. He collected a total of 3,500 Japanese incense boxes which are now part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts collection in Canada.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yellow and Black Tiger Moth

This beautifully restored DH82 Tiger Moth is stored in my neighbour's hanger and was out with two other Tigers at the weekend. Having flown these planes many years ago, I still have a very soft spot towards them.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stacked Wood

There is something nice about a stack of wood. Whether for another kiln firing or just for the house as this lot is. There is a lovely book of photographs called "Stacking Wood" by Mimi Lipton and Thorsten Duser first published by Thames and Hudson in 1993. It is well worth a look.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oribe Kogo

This incense box we bought at a little antique shop in Kyoto in 1978. I would like to know who made it and maybe someone can translate what is written on the box lid. The kogo has a small stamp to indicate the maker which appears to be the same as the red stamp used on the box lid but the red stamp is not very clear.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

White Iris

These lovely white iris grow in a clump by some garden steps made of old railway sleepers. I look forward to them coming out each year - it is just a pity that they do not last longer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cylinder with Dark Crusting

With its heavy texturing this is a wonderful cylinder to use for Japanese style ikebana arrangements. It was fired on its side near the fire grate and has fabulous colours all around and this heavy crusting of clinker on what was its top surface during the firing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blue Spraxia

This clump of blue spraxia makes a pretty showing at this time of the year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Close-up of Hanaire

This close-up shows the amazing variety of colours that result from a long anagama firing. The pot went into the kiln raw, i.e. with no pre-firing, no glaze or slip coating. This result comes about from a nine to ten day firing with pine wood - the ash from the fire reacting with the surface of the clay brings about these wonderful results.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brick Garden Wall

This wall, using discarded clinker bricks, was built by Tibor Donner at his Titarangi home about 1950. His house and garden is an architectural wonder and I was privileged to have been able to visit it last October. He used a number of other waste ceramic products in his garden which makes it delightful for potters when they get to visit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Anagama wood-fired cylinder

This is another of Estelle's pots fired in our anagama kiln. This piece was fired towards the back if the kiln and does not have the heavy coating of ash that the front pots receive. The colour is soft and variable making it a wonderful piece for flower arrangements.

Monday, October 12, 2009


My neighbour has a large hanger and owns her own aeroplane. Last Summer she had a party and invited some of her mates to come. Not all the planes that attended are shown in this photo. I enjoy the happenings that take place around here!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Silver Birch

The Silver Birch trees have just got their new leaves and some have had very long catkins. The new fresh green leaves on the trees in Spring is always a welcome sight.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Special Bamboo Vase

This vase, in the form of a piece of bamboo, was made by Estelle and fired in the area of the fire grate of the anagama. It nearly didn't survive but was worth the effort to repair. In Japan such a piece would be repaired with lacquer and be waterproof. The material I used is not completely waterproof but the vase is still able to be used by placing a narrow glass jar inside to hold the water and flowers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tear Drop Vase

This tear-drop shaped vase of Estelle's had a hard time in the kiln but came out with wonderful colour and texture.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Floral Basket

Although I have many lovely ceramic floral containers I like using this basket made from natural materials. It was made by Willa Rogers of Nelson and Estelle and I purchased it many years ago and it has been used regularly ever since.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Looking out Workshop Window

This shot was taken yesterday looking out the workshop window in the rain. The white sakura blossoms are now well finished but the pink flowering trees are looking good. Today, however, after 45mm rain yesterday, they are looking a little bedraggled.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Foundation Stone Kogo

Here is another of my Kogo (incense box) pieces. This shape is known in Japan as a Garan-seki or "Foundation Stone". Again, these sorts of pots are very time consuming to make and do very little to fill a large anagama kiln. They are worth the effort though as the very long firing gives them such wonderful, natural, colours

Friday, October 2, 2009


My only excuse for more flower pictures is that it is Spring and the trees and shrubs are looking very lovely. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sake Bottle

This sake bottle goes with the sake cups shown on Tuesday. A sake bottle in Japanese is a "Tokkuri" which comes from the sound made when sake is poured from a correctly proportioned sake bottle - "tokkuri, tokkuri, tokkuri" which, I think is much more descriptive of the sound than the English equivalent of "glug, glug, glug". The equivalent of 'Cheers" or Bottoms up" in Japanese is "Banzai" meaning "Please live for a thousand years" Banzai!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wisteria on Pole

My wisteria are looking magnificent at the moment. This one is growing on a pole and I have contained it so that it does not grow into the nearby trees. I should prune back some of the trees to give the lovely ball shape of the wisteria more space. This, and another one on my shade house, were given to us by John Scott when he designed our house in 1970.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sake Cups

These small sake cups never did much to fill the large anagama kiln but I enjoyed making them. When thrown they are left spinning slowly on the wheel and the lip is tapped three times with the index finger. This distorts them badly but it can be repaired by smoothing the lip with a small piece of chamois cloth. However, clay has a memory and the distortion returns, to some degree, when the piece is fired, making for an interesting shape. The foot is cut the same way as a larger tea bowl with three cuts on the outside of the foot then one scoop to take out the centre. The edges of the foot are then tapped up and pressed onto a flat surface to finish.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Unusual Cloud Formation

I took this photo of clouds a short time ago. We only see clouds like this very occasionally. As yet it has not started to rain and most of this cloud formation has dissipated.