Rutile coloured pottery

Rutile is a naturally occurring mineral containing a high percentage of titanium (90%) and a small amount of iron (10%), and it is the titanium which seeds the variation of colours in the glaze. Most people will use rutile as part of their glaze or slip recipe, however I have been freely brushing a rutile wash over the glaze, being mindful of the strength of the wash according to the range of colours I want. Even so, there is a lot of unpredicatbility to decorating with a wash as the kiln temperature also affect the results.

This is how ceramic arts network describes rutile:

Rutile is that unbelievably beautiful glaze additive that produces colors ranging from light and dark blue, to tan, gold, yellow, and even purple. It also produces a range of crystal formations. It seems to behave however it chooses, depending on the glaze base and the firing conditions.

I’d like to find an attractive blue glaze to use the rutile with – one which the rutile reacts with in just as impressive way. However, as explained in the above quote, the results from rutile are also dependent upon the glaze base, as the rutile brings little change to some glazes.

Making a Teapot

This is a post from a previous website which includes a link to a video I made of making a teapot. The video is still waiting for me to add an audio track, so right now it is more like a silent movie.

The source videos were taken late 2013.
Below are some more of my teapots made in the same month.


The Life Giving Stream

In 2014 I took some short video clips of a stream above Rydalwater in the Lake District, wanting to capture the flowing, swirling, life presence of the water.

I wondered if I could combine these with a video I had of myself throwing a pot on the potter’s wheel. I began to notice similarities between the stream and the forming of a pot, and made some notes which I developed into a poem.

Pot and Stream image

Similarities and Insights

God’s shaping of our lives is likened to the forming of a vessel by the potter on his wheel. The more I have observed the process of making and fashioning the clay, the more similarities and insights I have noticed.

I found a snippet of some piano playing to accompany the video. Finally, as mentioned above I put together a poem which grew out of some jottings I made as I pondered the video of the clay and the water. I hope the video and the poem blesses you.

The Spirit gives Life

The stream appears alive as it flows,
Carefree, unbound wherever it goes.
Rushing and splashing o’er pebbles and stones,
With life irrepressible it swirls and it turns.
Refreshing and singing, it leaps over rocks,
With playful sounds and sonorous shouts.

And the clay seems alive in the hands of the potter,
Yet its life’s from the maker, flowing out like the water.
In his hands the clay grows as it’s being transformed.
Whilst soft to his touch, it’s being conformed.
Infused with life, the spirit of the potter
Moulding the clay, imparting his inner.

This life-giving water is continually flowing,
Refreshing the fauna, sustaining the growing.
With melodious imploring, it beckons with joy
Quenching the thirst of all who stop by.
And the clay likewise thirsts and must be refreshed
To respond to each nuance of the potter’s intent

Hands surround clay as the wheel spins round,
First spinning fast, and then slowing down.
Hands inside, and outside, both
Lifting the clay in rhythms of growth.
As ripples of water circling outwards,
Rings in the clay are spiralling upwards.

If the vessel’s unsteadied, movement is slowed,
And the clay is embraced until all becomes stilled.
Eyes always observing, watching over the clay,
To perform his will, as the clay remains
In the centre, of the potter’s wheel.

Refinements of form are done delicately,
Close up to the clay with finger tips only.
Sure, confident – yet sensitively,
Not hurried, but with patience and skill.

Final touches are made, then with a look of approval
The potter sits back, surveying his vessel.
Touched with his life, it soon will be ready
As a vessel that’s fit to serve those who are needy.

And our lives can be touched by the Life-giving Stream
That imparts God’s image to those He redeems
Transforming our lives to reflect His beauty,
Baptising our lives to live in His glory.

Ready to throw

pottery studio
The pottery studio at my new home.

Having moved into my new home, now with a pottery studio, I am finally ready to start throwing some new pots. No more walking across to my kiln shed in the middle of the night to place the bung in the kiln. The only thing I will miss is being able to look out at the garden as I work!

View from pottery shed at previous home
View of my garden from the pottery shed at my previous home. My potter’s wheel (bottom right) has a board over it.
jug just thrown