Monday, 30 November 2015


Time to fit the underfloor heating system and in spite of a lengthy planning process
 ( we started in April) its been the most disorganized and harem scarem part of the build.
After much head scratching, many phone calls, endless discussions and an eternity of reading installation manuals by our installers, the cassettes are finally laid on the whole of the ground floor. Progress .

More phone calls, more head scratching and even more reading and the water pipes are 
eventually slotted into the cassettes.
And all pipes connected to the manifold
We recognize our two fitters have no chance of successfully pouring the huge amount of screed unaided and press our genius plasterer and mate into service. It was not a high tech process.

Eventually all the tubes are submerged into 22ml of screed ( or at least most of them).We are now waiting for the installers to decide when thy can return and commission the whole system.
Commitment phobic, its like trying to get blood from a stone. Meanwhile all other trades are on hold till we have the floor died out and we are living in the arctic wastes of an unheated house. Not nearly as much fun as the film. Let it go, let it go.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

One down and one to go.

A great big thank you to all the exhibitors, friends, family and
lovely new customers who made such a great contribution to the first
Workshop Christmas Sale PORTSMOUTH. If you didn't make it, you missed.

The talented Pazuki's gorgeous scarves and Hilary Graysons intricate, inventive textiles.

Malisa and her minions from Cinema no6. 
Miesje Chafer with her bold and bang on trend textile creations. 

The energetic Clay Station perfectly embodying the fun and diversity of clay.
Exquisite jewelry from lydia feast.

Fun and functional fused glass from Josephine lapage

Fine art prints from Kevin Dean

Now girding our loins for the 5th December at The Workshop Christmas Sale London

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


In the midst of all the noise and clamor the Studio is the oasis of calm we retreat to for snatched moments of creative bliss.
Were enjoying our annual clear out when we cull all our surplus stock, seconds and all the weird and wonderful experimental samples that never make it into production.
This year we have two selling events where you can add to your collections at bargain basement prices. Join us with over 20 other talented Designer makers at  

The Workshop Christmas sale PORTSMOUTH. Sat 21st/Sun 22nd Nov.

The Workshop Christmas Sale LONDON. Sat 5th Dec.
Here are just a small sample of our many bargains on offer.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Progress report.

The house renovation is plowing on with a noisy, dusty, relentlessness that's has us reeling in its wake.
Upstairs now has windows and we've moved into our lovely new lake view office.
The smallest room in the house is now handsomely clad in our Blue Orbis tile collage.

Our state of the art boiler is installed and working and looking for all the world like a miniature Pompidou center.

All of the main walls are down and out and the debris that hasn't settled on our hair and clothes has been expensively hauled away in an ever growing convoy of skips. The main beam has been installed Phew and were getting a feel for the final space at last. 

Our kiln room is finally up and running and currently providing excellent extra service as a field kitchen.
Onward  and upward.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

We've been to the Venice Biennale so you don't have to.

October every other year finds us in Venice for the Biennale as my birthday treat.

Highlight of this year was the Japan Pavilion. Two wooden  boats in a complex web of red yarn, hung with thousands of keys, packed an emotional punch and tangled our hearts in its webb.
The Russian pavilion opened with a typically understated piece of Russian bravura.The face in the respirator was animated and followed you as you moved around. 
Canada recreated a backwoods shop with all the merchandise boxes and labels just off focus, very disconcerting and a re imagined painters studio with lots of jolly paint dribbles,. Fun Fun Fun.
We loved the Australian pavilion. packed with multiple collections of crafted objects with leaves and money, old sardine tins, bread and driftwood.

The weather was  heavenly so we took a trip along the Brenta canal where many Venetian patricians built the summer houses. The first visit to the  gem Malcontenta by Andrea Palladio set the bar too high for what was to follow so we jumped ship after a couple of hours and fortified by a canal-side lunch hopped on a bus back to Venice.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Informal formality.

One of our most exciting Christmas pressies was a box of Heritage vegetable seeds. They were burning a hole in my creative pocket, so to speak. In the light of the slow progress on the house renovating  front, we pressed on with the creation of the productive area of our garden.
Using oak sleepers stained black to create six raided beds across the whole width of the garden. The gentle slope created the stepping effect we had seen in so many formal Italian gardens. Using more of our recycled paving slabs and brick mowing strips with grass paths.


Molly was a great help in moving the 8 tons of topsoil and promptly made good use of the raised beds as a bed.!

Planting got underway immediately .
 Little in this world is as unprepossessing as a packet of seed and nothing touches them for explosive potential.

We are now practically vegetarian and enjoying freshly harvested French Beans, Borlottie beans, Courgettes, Asparagus peas, Beetroots, Perpetual spinach, Carrots, Sweetcorn (decimated by greedy Badgers)Rocket, Mitzuna,Radish and looking forward to Ruby chard Pak choi and Black Tuscan Kale.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Into the garden maud

In between the joyful intricacies of planning /designing and finding a builder for our mid century eco renovation project, we decide to take our frustrations out on the garden.
This one is a very different proposition to our former garden, crated from an old walled rectory garden, quite shaded in parts and bounded by a high wall. Wrapped round the house, packed full of rare plants and very high maintenance. My pride and joy.

The new garden is a conventional 1/3 in front of the house and 2/3 behind the house.
 We wanted this one to be a combination of three disparate elements.
(1) Italian formal. (2) Productive fruit and veg plot, (3) The wild landscape of Norway's Valldal valley location of the stunning Juvet Landscape Hotel.
The one thing they all have in common is green green green and though this may not be a marriage made in heaven  at least we hope to get them all on speaking terms.
After the studio went up we realized the long south facing border in front would make a perfect site for a longed for Asparagus bed.
The borders are lined with reclaimed bricks from our demolished dilapidated summer house and the main path uses aged but inexpensive patio slabs from the existing rear patio. Softened with grass between the slabs ( easily maintained with a hover mower) it immediately gives the landscaping an aged look. We filled the bed with compost brought from our former garden and planted five each of an early, mid and late season Asparagus. There may only be a week or two between them but its called hedging your bets. We now have to be patient as ideally asparagus should be left for two seasons to bulk up before harvesting. Tick Toc Tick Toc.
Attached wires to sides of the shed and planted twoTrachelospermum jasminoiddes. This well behaved evergreen climber turns a seasonally jolly red in cold winters and is smothered in very fragrant flowers for four months 
As a surprising bonus tomato seeds from last years compost have germinated and we are currently enjoying an self sown glut of tomato variety's.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Here comes the sun

The impending reduction in the feed in tariff sent us into overdrive.
The reduction is only a small percentage but over 20 years amounts to a lot of money.
After a complicated jig involving installers, deliveries, scaffolds an so on, it all came together in two days. The solar panels were installed and commissioned just in time to qualify for the higher tariff. Phew.

Thrilled to be generating 16Kw a day in the first sunny week of installation.
Totally different approach to using electricity and spent the first few days switching electrical appliances on instead of off .The feed in tariff pays you for half of what you generate so if you can use it all yourself your quids in.
We all recognize the need to make a rapid transition from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy. As individuals it signify s one less household dependent of fossil fuels. One less household  dependent on irresponsible energy companies  exploiting our beautiful Earth.   One more household contributing to saving the planet.