revisit and refresh

pebble vasesI’ve been trying hard to experiment and develop new work this year.   Of course,  it’s when I stop doing that,  relax,  and revisit old favourites that the pots really work out. Like these, using my old favourite pebble glaze on new oval vase shapes. I just sent a batch to Kellie Miller Arts in Brighton.


pebble vasesNew science seems to agree. I’ve been telling everyone (sorry to those who have heard it already) your brain can only take so much focus, after an article in the Harvard Business Review. They report on the
“Doing Mostly Nothing” – sorry – that’s what they used to nickname the Default Mode Network. It’s what your brain does when it hasn’t got a task, when it’s ‘idling’, to use a car analogy. But, thanks to new brain imaging, surprise, surprise, it’s doing a lot: DNM uses 20% of your energy, versus 5% when you are focussing on a task.


pebble vasesThe DMN activates parts of the brain to do with memory, identity, emotion, and story. No wonder it’s so necessary to a maker’s practice, especially creating meaningful new work. So I suspect that my recent holiday might have had something to do with the sudden burst of new pieces. It’s anathema to me that working less hard is what works. I’m going to have to work at not working (doh! failed again!). See also: a great set of radio pieces on our obsession with busyness: Oliver Burkemann is busy. Thanks to my sister for the link.


Clawdd wallThe original pebble glaze was inspired by the stone buildings of North Wales where I grew up. I went back to the new RSPB reserve a while ago to help build a clawdd wall there (I’m the one with the wheelbarrow).


And for my holiday this year, I’ve been working on walls again, volunteering at LLwyn Celyn, near Abergavenny. I spent most of time repointing, using lime mortar. It was amazing to see the Grade I listed 1420 medieval farmhouse, and work on the outbuildings – my buttress is part of the GradeII Beast House. And then back to pebble… a coincidence?


Carys with wall

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