Saturday, 31 August 2013


My dad was a keen collector of blue Wedgwood and I have grown up with the collecton in my family home as well as my own when I took it over after my mum died.
There is a set of Edward VII commemorative teapot, jug and sugar bowl to go with the pair of pint mugs.
They live on top of the bookcases and the welsh dresser and give a splash of bright colour in our cool almond green lounge.
This is a pretty jug with different flowers on both sides.
Another jug and one of a pair of candlesticks depicting what look like Roman or Greek mythological scenes.
This large bowl has hunting scenes around the sides and as you can see it has been in the family for at least 60 years!  These were all drawn using a watercolour brushpen with 2 different ends, one a fine fibre tip and the other a paintbrush.

Thursday, 29 August 2013


The jug on the left here came from a local pottery hidden away down the narrow lanes between the sea and the golf course. We went there to find a wedding present for Luba and Hervé when they married 5 years ago and I couldn't resist getting something for myself!  I think the other one came from a craft market in Guildford.
This was a challenge to draw entirely in dots using a marker pen.  It's actual colour is a lot darker but I like the way this turned out.
We found these 2 little snack bowls at Huelgoat during a day out in the forest there. It's a wonderful place to walk through, following the stream and looking at the huge boulders strewn around covered in bright green moss.
A large part of this challenge was to practise drawing ellipses. As you can see, I got this one completely wrong, but that's the idea, you can't erase and start again, just learn from the mistakes!
In 2011 I finally realised a long held dream to visit Roussillon in Provence.  It's the source of ochre pigments in many shades from yellow through red to brown. The village is built on a hill with fabulous views towards the old quarries as well as over the landscape. All the buildings are painted in shades of yellow and at sunset the effect is magical.  We visited the fascinating museum housing the equipment used for turning basic rocks into fine coloured powders for use by artists and the building trade. The factory only closed in the 1960s and seeing everything covered in a fine layer of yellow dust made us wonder about the health of the workers and if they used masks to protect their lungs.
In the village I found a delightful gift shop full of beautiful pottery and I found it hard to choose from the different colours but finally this one seemed to best display the local shades. The sales lady was very helpful and told me where to find the actual pottery where it's made at Bonnieux so I could complete my set. I bought 2 coffee cups and saucers, a wine jug and an oil bottle with a tray to stand it on. I also bought a set of 8 different pigments to make into watercolour paints. The lady gave me the recipe with the quantities of gum arabic and clove oil to use. They turned out very well and have been used for several paintings.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


 I was always on the lookout for pottery in my travels as a rep so when I found this lovely solid mug in one of my customer's shops I just had to buy a couple.  Luckily it had the place of origin on the base which was at Iden pottery in Rye.  So on my next visit to this delightful historic town I found the pottery and bought two more smaller mugs for coffee to go with the big tea ones.  These all lived on the boat and were used daily and still are at home now the boat is sold.
Grayshott Pottery was one of my best and favourite customers, being regular buyers of several of the collections I carried as a sales agent.   The buyers there, Sue and Sylvia, were charming and we spent many afternoons together looking at my wares and choosing what they would stock in the gift shop from stationery, jewellery, cards, toiletries and picture frames. I often stopped for lunch in the restaurant with Julia, another rep friend who arranged her appointments so we could meet up occasionally.  I bought this soup set of 6 bowls and a tureen one Christmas and like everything else it's in constant use for salads as well as soups!
I love this bowl from Selborne pottery, it's made from a thinner clay so has a more delicate feel to it.  The design is beautiful with swirling leaves a slight gold speckles in the glaze.  The village of Selborne nestles in the Hampshire hills and is famous for the house of Gilbert White, a famous naturalist who recorded the flora around his home.  The pottery is still working today and Justine tells me that they have a stall in Guildford high street market from time to time as well as selling on the internet.
This set is a tiny pair from a craft shop I found, when I was supposed to be working, in Henley on Thames.  A girl's got to something in her lunch hour!
This coffee cup and saucer were made by the wife of one of Bob's colleagues at Sigmex and he used it every day at the office.

Friday, 23 August 2013


I made a change of theme on Christmas day, in fact I cheated by drawing it on Christmas eve. These wild garlic flowers were blooming so profusely on the roadside next to these lovely wild arum leaves, that I couldn't resist bringing them home to record in my journal.
This pretty little jug comes from Hay-on-Wye where Rosi moved to with her family in search of peace after many years living and working in London.  We had a lovely time, 2 sisters browsing all the book and craft shops and every time I see it on my shelf I think of her.  She was a very talented artist and architect and loved to try her hand at anything crafty.  At that time she had taken up weaving and was thinking of getting some sheep to use their wool. She did get her sheep at their next home but never achieved her dream of spinning and weaving her own fabrics.
I love this honey pot for it's shape and colouring and the memories of a very wet day in Guernsey when we searched out the pottery down a very narrow lane. 
This is another of Bob's French acquisitions.  He was introduced to snails at the Hotel de la Poste in Saint Amand and brought the complete set back including shells and a tin of snails and 2 tongs and forks to eat them with!
A little holiday souvenir from a lovely trip to Portugal.  I later found out that my Mum's family lived there in Carcavelos in the 1920s and 2 of my uncles, John and Michael were born there.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


These 2 jugs from the Canterbury pottery have a lovely pale beige glaze with terracotta layers just showing through.  The smaller one is good for mixing vinaigrette dressing as long as I hold a cork tightly in the top! The big one is used for water (or wine!)
This pretty summery vase was brought back for me by Justine from her trip to Santorini many years ago.  I think she went inter-railing with friends so it's lucky to have survived the journey home!
This is the first of our boat mugs we bought in Fowey, one of our favourite sailing destinations.  It holds half a litre of tea and with it's wide base was ideal for using on passage as the tea stayed hot and was less likely to spill.
On another visit to Fowey we returned to the pottery and got to know the potter and to find all the other things he made. I think we left his shop this time laden with pots and plates having spent quite a lot of money too!
I also bought smaller coffee mugs and egg cups...
Another salad dressing jug and 2 salt cellars, one for the boat and one for home.  I kept all the Fowey pottery to use on the boat which was a bit impractical as it's quite heavy but a real pleasure to eat from.  It's all at home now and is used every day. When we lived in England I had a house number plate made too, with an image of a boat on it of course!

Sunday, 18 August 2013


This is a lovely wine flask we bought for Bob's dad's 65th birthday which he cherished on his mantlepiece for many years. Later, when mum had to trade down to a bedsit, she gave it back to us for safekeeping as she didn't have room to store it.  I researched it's history from the mark on the base and found it came from Cornwall, though I'm sure we bought it in Reigate.
I forget the origin of the left hand jug but I know the right hand one came from Gien on another of our trips to central France.
The teapot that matches it sits on the living room windowsill still, I love the colours and the dotty finish.
This bread crock came from a kitchen design shop in Folkestone where I had been trying to sell the proprietors an instant credit scheme during my days as a rep for a finance compny.  I don't think they bought but I spent £25 and struggled out with this heavy pot as well as my brief case!
Canterbury was in the area I covered as a rep and in my lunch breaks I had time to look around this historic city.  The pottery is opposite the cathedral entrance in a tiny narrow old building with the potter's wheel in a room behind the shop.  Over the years I got to know the potters very well and usually bought something whenever I had the time to call in. This plant pot is very typical of their style. They still sell their beautiful pottery on the internet today.

Friday, 16 August 2013


This charming little piece is in the shape of a canterella, a delicious yellow mushroom I used to collect with my Dad when I was a child in Sweden.
 These little Gien egg cups are the perfect size to hold the tiny pansies that pop up in the lawn every year. My friend Julie gave me a pot of them when she and Bob came for lunch a few years ago and after planting them in the garden they have self seeded continuously ever since.  I take the complete plants out of the lawn to save them from Bob's mower!
Another holiday with many memories of Yorkshire and heavy rain to start with at Stratford upon Avon followed by the hottest summer for decades. We had beeen to Sheffield to see Rosi and Simon's graduation show while camping in the Hope valley and visited the site of the other battle that took place in 1066 at Stamford Bridge.
This is a lovely pale pottery jug I bought for Bob at a tiny shop in Reigate which amazingly is still there selling good quality tableware.
Bob's mum and dad bought us this set back from a holiday in Malta, I keep it on the windowsill in 'her' bedroom so she can see it when she visits us.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Th collection having started with the casserole dish from Saint Amand, I wanted to add a few pieces to make a set so when we went to France for a cemping holiday we visited Gien where Bob had bought the big pot. The shop was on the side of the river Cher and spread out all over the wide pavement with wooden tables laden with this lovely pottery.
I went a bit mad and bought several different sizes of bowls, plates, egg cups and saucers, as well as these pretty jugs all in the same natural matt glazed light terracotta finish.
Another French holiday took us to Beg Miel in Brittany and I fell for this lovely lamp holder.  It's quite large and at the time I made a macramé shade for it which has now been replaced with a modern cream one.
Another holiday souvenir but I've forgotten where the salad dressing pot came from although I can clearly remember one of the girls buying the little perfume oil pot at Lacaneau Ocean during our last family camping holiday together.
This is one of a pair of lamp holders which we still use today, originally bought for our new upstairs bedroom when we converted our bungalow in 1979.

Friday, 9 August 2013


Near the end of last year as my nature journal came to a close I decided I needed a new project to follow through the winter.  I had heard about this challenge on my Artists journal workshop facebook group and it seemed interesting.
An American artist, Brenda Swenson, set the challenge to draw something every day for 75 days in pen only without any pre-drawing in pencil.  The idea being to sharpen up the observation skills and to learn to put down a good line first time and also not to worry about errors as they can add to the effect.  I found an old dummy book from my days as a stationery rep and covered it in a colourful fabric and got out my collection of pens. I was amazed at the quantity and variety I had in my box!
Then I had a think about the possible subject matter as I wanted to make an interesting record of something if I was going to put in a lot of effort.  I have an extensive collection of pottery bought on our travels in the last 40 years as well as my parents' collections of wedgwood, coffee cups and silver.
I started on December 1st 2013 and as I completed each day's drawing I posted it on the challenge facebook page.  I have a wonderful book by Claudia Nice about drawing in pen which has inspired me ever since I bought it about 12 years ago and now I was able to use some of the ideas and textures she showed and demonstrated in the accompanying videos.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Now we are at home with lots of gardening to catch up on there has been less time for sketching but I have managed a bit now and then.  This feather was lying in the drive when we returned from Provence so I put it in a safe place till I could draw it.  The spotted woodpecker lives in our next door neighbour's garden and I can often hear him but he very rarely comes to feed here.
This poor butterfly must have been trapped in the house because I found it on the windowsill with the wings folded the wrong way.  I had to carefully unfold it so I could draw the different patterns on each side.
Last week our friend Hervé and his Belorussian wife, Luba came to lunch with her 2 Canadian granddaughters. We had a lovely time in the evening walking down our lane and collecting over 30 different wild flowers. I was amazed at the variety as on first glance there looked to be very few blooms at this time of year.
A couple of days later Luba gave me a marrow Hervé had grown with instructions how to stuff it with rice.  We ate it last night stuffed with some left-over curry and a tasty vegetable and tomato sauce.