A new direction

Parsnip Pottery has taken a new direction for the New Year, moving into brighter and lighter colours and a new style of decoration, inspired by my previous experience of drawing for colouring books,Β some beautifully decorated pots from Pottery by PD, and Corinne’s Tins & Things, a stall selling beautiful decoupage on up cycled tins that I and my stand spent a weekend opposite at the end of last year.

I’m really excited to start selling these and have listed my first batch of mugs on Folksy. Of course we don’t really have room to keep more stock, so I’m going to be listing last year’s mugs and things on eBay to move them on. Our first craft fair of the year isn’t until April, but this will, I hope, be the year we can start making more sales online.

Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚





Four weekends in a row now with either a craft fair or a rat show. Heaven knows how I ever found time to go to work. It’s going to get even busier towards Christmas! πŸ™‚

I’ve been busy making a skull cauldron as I’ve already sold two and they are fun to make. It took me a couple of goes to make a decent original for the skull, but now my mould is good to go. There’s one of the sold ones in the third photo.

Also in production are a blizzard of porcelain snowflakes. My new snowflake cutters arrived earlier in the week, but it took me a while to work out how to get a good cut from them. They have the cutouts built in, but at first I couldn’t get the snowflake out without destroying it. I tried plastic bags over the clay, but the cutter wouldn’t cut down to the board like that. Then I tried cling wrap, which worked better but the cutters went right through it, leaving tiny bits of plastic everywhere. Not a good idea. The third try was using a square of the tissue paper I use to wrap my craft fair sales and the result was really good. The cutter pulls the tissue paper down into the cut as it goes through, keeping the cutter clean, it lifts right back off again, and any bits of paper that won’t sponge off later are safe to go in my clay scraps bucket. Total win!

Because these snowflakes have holes I can use them to make chains of flakes and beads. Can’t wait to get them done.

Thanks for reading

Annette πŸ™‚




3D pet pots


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So what can I tell you today? Well first of all, we’re going to be selling pots at the Autumn Craft Fair at Hatton Shopping Village tomorrow and Sunday, so if you’re close please come and see us.

I’m still working on adding relief pictures of animals to my pots, so that’s taking up time. The process I’ve evolved is to trace my picture onto tissue paper using a water based felt tip pen. That means is will transfer to a slab of soft clay if you lay it over and rub it down.Β  (Tissue paper is handy for transferring designs to pots too, as it will curve around the pot and stick to it quite nicely). Then I cut out the shape of the animal, remembering not to make any undercuts, and draw in the main details using a scribing or carving tool. If I leave it too long the clay will absorb the pen lines, so they need marking in before they disappear. The clay then needs to dry a little before I can start shaping it. Somehow, just by carving down to the lines and adding the occasional high spot it begins to look like the image I began with, but in flat 3D.

Once the original has dried I bisque fire it and use it to make the first mould. The original will usually drop out of the mould quite easily as long as there are no undercuts. I leave the mould for a day or so to harden, then trim the edges to make it more shallow, tidy up any rough areas and add any details that are easier to put on a negative.

Once the mould has been bisqued I use it to make a new shallow copy. This is how the clay sprig would look if you fixed it to a pot, but at this stage I put it on a new flat slab of clay, and tidy up any details that look wrong. This copy can then be used to make a second mould that has nice flat edges and is easier to use to make the sprigs for my pots.

The useful thing is that each iteration of mould and copy gets smaller in the kiln, so I can keep going until it is the perfect size, or make myself a series of different sized moulds to fit different pots.

Here’s a video of my kiln opening on Monday – it shows some of the animal sprigs at the end.

Thanks for reading.


Annette πŸ™‚




I have my first bisque moulds ready to let me put ratty shapes on my pots, although the ones I have right now are too large for mugs, so they are going onto vases. Clay is quite useful in that it shrinks when you fire it, so I can make smaller versions simply by using my moulds to produce new originals and then use those to make smaller moulds. Just takes a little time. πŸ˜‰

I’ve been collecting ideas for Christmas Trolls on Pinterest for a little while now, and have just worked out how I want to make my own. They are really fun to make! They’re actually just cone shapes made from a third of a circle, and I’m planning to make some into Christmas tree bells as well as making shelf standing versions.


Before that, though, some new sparkly glaze has arrived today, Amaco Cosmic Tea Dust, which I’m hoping will work over black to make some fun Hallowe’en mugs. Those will keep me busy until I have the smaller ratty shapes.

On the non-ratty side, on leaving my job a couple of weeks ago I was given the amazing gift of a lovely new bicycle, so much cycling is also taking place. I’m lucky to live less than three miles from the local reservoir, so it’s easy to ride over there and do a quick circuit whenever the urge takes. My mum’s also about three miles away, so I can use the bike to pop over there as well. Life is good.

Thanks for reading,

Annette πŸ™‚



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Wednesday was the day for bisque firing my designs for the new sprigs to attach to pots, so I spent much of yesterday making moulds of the newly fired originals to let me reproduce them. Some ratties, some cats and a hamster. Now I have to wait for the moulds to dry and be bisque fired before I can use them. I’ve left the details on most fairly soft because I want to be able to add sharper carved details once they are on the pot, although I went a bit further with the hammy as otherwise it was just a blob.

My moulds have all come out fairly well except for those for the ratty coaster, which I think will have to be used just to pattern the clay before I cut it out properly with a biscuit cutter. I’m sure there will be a way to make it work.



I’ve also had a big session making more of the orange slice tumblers because the first set turned out so well. They are very good practise at making consistently sized cylinders and also good practice at attaching clay sprigs, because there are five ‘orange slices’ attached to each one. Fourteen tumblers, 70 sprigs. Ergh.

Take care,


Looking forward

Quick update on what I’m up to. All the current ratty mugs are packed for the Midlands Rat Club show tomorrow.

I’m working on making mugs with pictures that stand out in relief, like the hare mug that’s drying in these pics.

The tumblers with orange slices on were made the same way, taking a mould from those dried slices you can buy at craft shops. They were glaze fired yesterday and I’m waiting for the kiln to cool down enough to have a look. That’s glaze firing #50, so I hope to get a decent video of the opening.

The ratty is an original for ratties to put on the next batch of mugs. I had already tried some, but they didn’t turn out right and ended up in my clay recycle bucket. The first ratty model wasn’t thin enough, and the curve of the mug adds bulk so it made the mugs really heavy and clunky.

That’s all for now. Take care,

Annette πŸ™‚


I’m currently preparing for the next Midlands Rat Club show on Sunday 5th August. Ratty mugs are made, ratty incense burners at the ready, and a pile of other goodies to take along.

I’ve also been preparing to go full time with Parsnip Pottery, or at least as full time as life will let me. I’m resolved to keep up with my email, blog posts, email newsletters and facebook posts. Not sure it will be possible, but we’ll see.

Here’s a preview of the items I’ve made specially for the show. I intend to start work on more of these for my Folksy shopΒ as soon as I can.

Annette πŸ™‚


Ratty vases and mugs

Ratty oil burners

Ratty oil burners

Looking ahead


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After a weekend manning my Parsnip Pottery stall at Hatton Country World in the sunshine (so hot that I caught the sun even in the shade), I’m looking forward to leaving work at the end of July, which will give me much more time to concentrate on learning and on selling pottery. There are still so many ideas that I don’t have time to try right now. I have begun to carve animals onto my pots and have some ratty and saluki ones waiting to be glazed, but I want to create relief models of some of my colouring book pictures and then turn them into sprig moulds so I can put them on pots or relief panels, sort of like the sprigs on Blue Wedgewood. Gonna be fun!

triss mug

Saluki prototype


Cat yarn bowl

Keep on pottering on!

Bye, talk later,

Annette πŸ™‚

Ratties, drippy cups and slow going.


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We’re down to just five ratties here as of today. My last girl went to live with my daughter and her rats a couple of weeks ago, leaving me with just six boys. Then last night we noticed that Hashtag, one of the boys, was very off colour, so we took him into the vets this morning where he was diagnosed with bladder stones and a very full bladder indeed. The vets gave him some painkillers and then tried unsuccessfullyΒ  to dislodge the blockage with a catheter, then tried their ultrasound to see if that would help. When his bladder was still completely blocked we decided it was best to let him go whilst still under the anaesthetic. It’s always such a blow when they go downhill so quickly. Upsetting. This is why I need a break from ratties. 😦

On the clay side of things, I was hoping to do a bisque firing today, but most of my greenware is still not dry enough. Things seem to be taking weeks to dry at the moment. Three of the mugs I was going to fire had the handles cracking off too, so I bunged them back in the clay recycle bucket. I’ve got some vases and yarn bowls that I’m itching to get glazed but they just don’t want to dry out. I did get a few mugs through earlier in the week, trying a speckled clay and a drippy glaze effect. Very cliche, but fun. The sienna glaze I tried didn’t work too well as it pulled away from the rim of the mugs leaving a rough surface to drink from, but the blue glazes have done a really nice job. I used Amaco Textured Turquoise over Amaco Blue Midnight. There are five more to glaze, so I’ll use the same combo for those I think. The bare clay at the bottom looks well vitrified and I think has picked up a slight sheen from the glaze above


I’ve also bought a big stack of plastic boxes to transport pots to shows in, as we realised last weekend that cardboard boxes aren’t a great idea when the ground is damp, and it takes a long time to unpack and re-pack when there are several layers of pots in each box. This weekend I need to move my pots into the new boxes. 18 litre Really Useful Boxes – I think I can fit 12 mugs in a box and they stack nicely.

I picked up a nice little mirror on a wooden stand from a charity shop this morning to use when throwing, so I can see my pots from the side. Just Β£3.99, which isn’t bad at all. You might get to see it in action, because I want to make a process video to play on my stall next time we do a show. A bit of telly always brings people over.

OK, I’ll stop talking now.

Take care,

Annette πŸ™‚