Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to make it much more than just a pitiful list of the relentlessly mundane minutiae of my daily existence but if you feel that I have failed try to imagine all the stuff that I haven't posted.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Back in Leicestershire

The best and most unanticipated thing about doing this project is visiting places, that I wouldn't usually see or spend much time in, in quite an intimate way - and meeting some great people, who are a wealth of information and actually interested in this rather weird thing that I am doing.
For the last couple of day's I was back in Leicestershire collecting more samples from previous test sites and from new places. The first image is Groby Quarry, which hasn't been mined for 15 years, just biding its time really until it is worth quarrying again.

Today the weather was far better and my clothes started to dry out from yesterday. I was shown around Beacon Hill by one of the rangers, who was extremely generous with his time and knowledge. It's the second highest point in the area and represents an exposure of the oldest rocks in England. It is a volcanic tuff, which was deposited in the pre-cambrian era.

Then it was a short drive to Mountsorrel, where there is a huge quarry, mining the slightly younger granodiorite. The woods around the quarry are full of these spectacular boulders.
It was also a chance to stay with Ben Brierley and hit the dazzling streets of Loughborough for a fantastic curry. Check out his blog http://ben-brierley.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

First results

So, this is what happens when you heat up parts of Leicestershire! Various igneous rocks here next to preliminary melt and glaze tests. Yes there's a lot of brown, but I think it's going to be a dark area. High in iron. But there is significant variation in the samples that I've collected.
The next image shows a biaxial from one of the darker rocks, varying quartz and dolomitic limestone.

The following images are lineblends from two of the areas I've collected from. Darker results from Leicestershire of course, but starting to get some subtler results including, would you beleive it, a blue(ish) celadon and a lovely deep green.
The clay tests didn't fare quite so well - I might photograph them once I've scraped/ground them off my poor kiln shelves!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Too much beer and then Ebay

Well at midnight after a few too many Fullers ESB's anything looks like a bargain! This little beauty caught my fancy. A cast iron corn mill. If only I had a tractor to run it from.....but I've cleaned it up and it is all set to become a fantastically useful tool in my future career as a rock crusher. I've tried it out manually(!) with some calcined granite and it's pretty good.
I haven't blogged for a while and it's because I've been busy creating a map of the Alps on my hands entirely out of blisters with a mortar and pestle making up series of lineblends and biaxials from the samples I got in Leicestershire.

Who would've thought that so much work could be reduced to such a small photo? Everything is loaded up into the test kiln and tommorow I'm doing a couple of consecutive firings - test reduction to cone 9 and a biscuit in the big kiln. I hope I don't get confused between the two!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Government plans to sell off our forests

Please go to
and protest about the government's plans to sell off our own country, the few woodlands we have left in England.