Above is a quick shot of my Instagram page, the arrival of Instagram and the 'friends' I have on there have helped me see what I'm doing, it's a great way to get feedback on daily decisions that I make. And it's great to share what going on around me. I'm sure a lot of people who have blogs work on their own, it's great to feel like I can connect with others when some days on I'm my tod all day.

Below is my chair, a Christmas present from Jon a few years back, and it's loaded up with hand made textiles, a cushion pad by me, just colour and shapes, a crochet blanket from my aunty, I wish I could learn how to do that, and a tapestry cushion by my mum of a Hoo Poo, it makes me giggle! 




Happy Chinese New Year! It's been a very long time since I've posted on here, solely because I've been flat out. I had thought that January would be a quiet time of year but I didn't understand how the restaurants work, if anything this is a really busy time for them as they re-organise themselves and plan for the year ahead. Needless to say this involves planning new dishes and new ceramics to match. I've missed this though, it started as a visual diary for me.



Whilst I've been busy making lots of people have been busy photographing their food with our products, there's been some real stunners, I love the two above, the first by Stefan Johnson who visited us just before Christmas and the chocolate dish by Marcus Bean. It's great talking to the photographers and chefs and finding out what they are after, they work so hard to get the presentation of the food right.


And with all of that I've continued to explore new surfaces and new glazes. I looked on the gallery page here and quite a lot has changed, it's been gradual but with the gap of posts from me, it does look quite different. The light pink above and below is one of my latest glazes and I really love how subtle it is, food looks great on this glaze too. It's early days to get an order from a chef for this glaze but I'm sure as more see it, it will happen.



Above is the first dinner service set completed this year, a real mixture of glazes but all within the blue/green colour palette, it worked really well together.

Early February, awful weather, far too wet outside, no reason to take time off and chill so working through the orders as they come in. Throwing some new shapes, some really large shapes and enjoying working closely with the chefs and customers. The next thing we really need to sort is our website. Its proved pretty impossible to keep it 'stocked' with the range we do. We tried keeping it stocked with a limited range but when the orders come in people (rightly) assume we'll post out asap, rather than add to making list. We'll sort it, just need a bit of help! 


We had our first holiday for over two years this month. It took a lot longer than I thought it would to sit back and relax but by the end of the week I really wasn't thinking much further than where to go swimming and relax and which resturant for tea, I'd recommend Croatia, beautiful country! 



And home, back to work, fore filling orders and meeting a few more chefs. Holidays are great for putting ideas into perspective and it really helped me to see how the business is developing. It leads itself in a way, there's far more demand from chefs then I knew and their orders are playing a bigger role in what I do. I think what seems to be happening is some products are made purely as stock, what people expect to be able to buy then and there and other pieces are for order only. It's not an exact science yet and still needs evaluating but this will guide me in my throwing.



So that was summer! 

Busy as ever and lots going on and lots of exciting links made. One of which was meeting Deborah and Jon Thompson, two lovely Canadians over here working. Deborah's a chef and worked at some of the top places and her other half is a photographer and they've started a fair collection of Sytch Farm products. We've already seen a few beautiful photo's from them, more to come too! It continues to surprise me with the inventive ways photographers use our wares.


And we meet Luis Troyano at Ludlow Food Festival, proper lovely guy and a great demo chef too. Ludlow Food Festival was great, great venue, great traders and clearly well supported by the town. We had a fab time and really enjoyed trying out the local produce. It was a food festival where you really could buy the bread, cheese and pickle and have a picnic, not all food festivals are like that and it can be expensive for families.



Last weekend was our final show for a while. We showed at Clumber Park Festival of Food and Drink.

By pure coincidence John Torode was one of the chefs there and the week before he'd been filming with our products in London. His demo's were fast and funny but really clear. Very kindly he used our products and gave us a mention and knew more about us then I thought, he brought his lovely girlfriend a pressie and she brought him a few too!


Above and below are his dishes, both looking beautiful!




So now mid September, getting chillier, and shows over for a while. It's going to be heads down working now on stock ready for Christmas whilst meeting orders we've gained over summer.









I've been working on a set of Autumn colours, testing some festive colours too! as always supported in company by these two!








More photo's here from the lovely Sandrine, I'm loving these, they give a real feel of how it is round here most of the time although it's rare I ever decorate a table quite so well!



I've slowly started adding some of them to the website and have settled to the fact that the website is always going to need work, as the work is always developing.

This week I've hard a few hours to play with my jugs! I've been exploring a shape which is more like a decanter and have a few samples I'm happy with, as always, I'll add photo's when finished.




Whilst she was here Sandrine also did a series of shots in the house which was kind of her. Really interesting to see my house through some else's eye's.


And Bill was around to oversee all proceedings, he's around mornings and evenings and has enjoyed raspberries whilst they have been in season.

And now? Well September is a busy month with orders and shows coming up. I'm pleased with how the work is progressing though and the contacts we're making. Lots of visitors to the studio and I'm getting sorted on what is 'stock' and what's commission only. That's going to help manage the space we have available to store work. 

This morning I ran with my friend who helped me do photo's last summer, some of the first we tried to take and I honestly thought that was two years ago - I remember thinking at the time it would be good if I could get a photographer to photo the products here at Sytch Farm and a year later Sandrine arrived! I know there's more photo's to come and I can't wait.



I've been playing with glazes, again, and above are two little dishes I'm in love with at the moment, I let two glazes blend into to each other. I've tried this before but the difference this time was keeping both of them really thin and man! I'm keeping these two, they look like abstract paintings!



I finally got to meet the lovely Sandrine who visited us this week. We spent an afternoon and morning together setting up shoots and layouts, she worked fast and instinctively, reacting to light, props and opportunities as they arose, some beautiful images came out of it and I can't wait to see her final pictures. The picture above is one of her's., below are snaps I took whilst she was working.






And there's more images to come. Her photography will hopefully really lift the appearance of our website and give people an idea about how the products can be used and appear, it's like the last missing link really.


And I'm starting to understand how the website needs to work, we can't put every product on there in every glaze as it's simply to much. I think we're going to look at working with more of a limited range for the buy now shop and encourage people to order bespoke so they can have exactly what they want. 

That why everything is available, just on a time scale which will depend on the time of year or orders waiting. 

Writing this waiting for some dinner guests to arrive and looking forward to a relaxing evening, first test run of the pizza oven! Not pizza though, shoulder of lamb on a grill rack Jon welded together today, I'll add photo's later.

My mum will be pleased to know I've had a night off as we booked ourselves into Hampton Manor as a treat whilst delivering the last of their order.


Above was our room, it was huge and so well thought out, massive bed, beautiful bathroom and lots of thoughtful additions. I would really recommend staying here.


Even a cute map of the 46 acres that belong to the hotel which your free to roam round on your visit, beautifully designing by Fjona, the wife of MD James, a lovely lady. We really enjoyed meeting Fjona and discussing the future plans for the hotel.




And dinner, we had a treat for dinner and made our way through the Taster Menu, delicious, inventive and in a room which was so beautifully decorated and relaxing. We were in heaven!


Above bread, warm, fresh and so tasty, so here's the dishes, I can't remember the names for all of them but each one was fab.

Starting with a muse bouche, you can tell me if I've spelt that wrong, in my bowl,


followed by Heirloom Tomato, Burrata and Basil, a truly tasty dish, my cut and altered dish,


Organic Salmon, cucumber, horseradish with lemon and dill,


Then, Foie Gras with Sweet and Sour onion and bacon,


followed by Wild Turbot, cauliflower, orange and Iberia ham,


And on to the duck dish where they even supplied the Laguiole knives, we visited the little town in France where these are made a few years ago.


Muscovy Duck, Lavender, carrot and golden raisins, I was struggling by now even though the portions were taster menu size, the flavours were incredible!


so onto desserts, Passion Fruit, white chocolate 'aero' and liquorice,


Hazelnuts and chocolate on my plate,


And finally, on another one of my plates, Strawberries with tarragon and buttermilk and yes by now I was stuffed!


Needless to say we had very little for breakfast. It was such a beautiful place, the foods incredible, all the decor is inspiring, all the staff were superb. I'm booking to go again. It was such a buzz too to be served on our products and in speaking to the staff to know how much they love them. 

I throughly enjoyed the day James brought the team over to meet us at Sytch Farm and design the pieces they wanted, a brilliant experience to see the finished dish.

And after a great night away we're back to work. This week I'm finishing another order for The Hand of Flowers, owned by Tom Kerridge and a restaurant in Harrogate, The Wild Plum. Also getting ready for Carfest next weekend, and hopefully getting a little more on top of stock supplies.

I'm also excited as Gill from River Cottage has received a selection of pieces for photography for a new River Cottage book, can't wait to see how they use them. 

Still pinch myself, how did all this happen!