I have just returned from a fantastic weekend with some of my friends – we went glamping (luxury camping) in idyllic, sunny Oxfordshire. We stayed in an enormous yurt on a campsite called Turkey Creek, and had a wonderfully relaxing weekend! We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather – storms were forecast, but it only ever seemed to rain when we were sleeping or in the pub! The remainder of our adventure enjoyed balmy breezes and warm sunshine.
The vast majority of our weekend consisted of eating! We had a barbecue on the first night, with meats from the local butcher, and on the second night we feasted on wine and cheese! The weekend was also interspersed with various helpings of tea and cake, ice cream, and was finished off with a classic pub lunch on the final day.
However, we did also find a small amount of time to partake of a little crafting. Our yurt was situated about 10 minutes’ drive from Aston Pottery, a fantastic place which not only sells but also produces beautiful stoneware items. They also provide a ‘paint-it-yourself’ service, which proved to be an enjoyable activity.
Aston Pottery has a very distinctive style, which is created by stippling glazes onto items using stencils, usually (but not always) inspired by nature. We were taken to the loft of the building, where we each chose an item to paint. We then perused lots of envelopes, containing stencils from different themes. Once we had selected some stencils to use, we were ready to go!
Our guide explained that the best way to get an even effect was to hold the brush vertically, and tap it twice into the paint, followed by tapping it once on the side of the palette. This gave a fairly dry brush for stippling the design.
We each chose a different theme: Hannah selected some sea creatures for an aquatic-themed mug, Katie stencilled flowers and leaves onto a milk jug, and Kat made a woodland mug for her fiancé. As regular readers of my blog will know, I love desert imagery, especially anything where I can incorporate native american iconography. I opted to paint a background of mountains onto a mug in shades of green and brown. I then stencilled a few cacti on in various greens, and added a blazing sunset in yellows, pinks and oranges.
At first, we all found it a little fiddly to hold the stencils in place whilst painting, but we soon got the hang of it. Just like with other underglazes I have used, the pattern is not set until the item has been fired – the liquid in the paint evaporates quickly to leave the pigment as a powder on the surface of the item until firing. As I layered my design, I was worried I would spoil my previous layers of paint. However, the design remained in place most of the time. This feature of the paints came in handy at times when you needed to remove a mistake!
The items needed firing, so we left them in the capable hands of Aston Pottery, and eagerly await them in the post in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to show you the finished items! A lovely souvenir of a brilliant weekend.