Weekly Photo Challenge – A Good Match

A happy accident holds huge appeal and this picture is no exception. I have been experimenting with newly inherited ceramics materials which probably date back to the 70s. I’m so glad that the raw materials needed to make glazes don’t appear to be any less effective with age because they are so expensive to buy these days.

So what you are looking at are my early test tiles made with a tiny tile cutter found at the back of a cupboard. The colours are oxides, found in unlabelled boxes. So my only option was to test them out. I made the textures in the surface of the clay with a wooden butter pat and some metal sculpting mesh. Once bisque fired I washed a dilute solution of each mystery powder, labelling each tile as I went to allow for easy indentification later on. A coat of clear low firing glaze and off into the kiln for a second blast.

What emerged was, for me, the luckiest outcome. I was easily able to identify the colours as cobalt, red iron, manganese, chrome, nickel and copper. Joy of joys they are in harmony and are now waiting to be grouted into something memorable.

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Tiny

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Most of the photos I take appear to be close ups. I like detail. This image was taken at Charlecote, a National Trust property outside Stratford upon Avon. If you need a culture fix and an overload of Shakespeare, come to this part of the world. You will not be disappointed. As much Tudor as you can take. Anyway back to the lichen. Teeny tiny plants gripping onto a barren surface totally oblivious to the fact I am bearing down on them with my camera and about to have a cheese scone and coffee in the NT cafe. A world within a world.

Glenn & Zoe Reveal It All – On Camera

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It is possible that what we were looking forward to most of all was the chance of getting our sleep patterns back to some form of normality. The night before the reveal day for us for example, was probably more how Christmas Eve feels for a six year old. We were thrilled, full of anticipation, happy, proud, curious, full of lists of small jobs to be done in the morning. My parents and the film crew had come over the day before. Their reaction had been more than enough for both of us. We felt surprisingly impressed. Even though we had witnessed every shovel load of soil that had been moved in that garden, it took other people’s comments to bring it home. They were swearingly complimentary. Quite right too, it looked fantastic.

The basic running order of the day was thus; we get up very early and faff around the house and garden, the film crew arrive and set up, they chat to us and film us, Monty arrives, we film his first impression – many times. Our guests arrive, we film their reaction – many times. We have cake and champagne and speeches – many times. Monty grabs slice of cake, kisses us goodbye, dashes off to next garden. Crew pack up and go, guests filter off, the end.

Monty was charm itself, as ever. Full of compliments and very keen to know how on earth we had finished on time. He spoke generously with our guests and discussed the finer points of champagne versus prosecco. Our family and friends were perfectly behaved, despite my dad getting in the way of the filming with his enthusiastic photo taking. It all felt a bit flat after everyone had gone. So that was it, see you around sometime, that whole ‘keep in touch’ promise that you know is well meant but unlikely. The date for the series to go out was in the air, changing all the time so we would just get on with life and not worry too much about it.

IMG_4943But without wishing to sound too romantic, it wasn’t the end, it really was just the beginning. We had something we had made together, something we had never thought we would or could do. A garden which would never have happened had we not met Monty Don or Sarah Raven. For all the utter excitement of being involved with a TV series we were left with two things, a beautiful garden which was set to grow with us and a new found passion for gardening, together.

Of course we also had a wedding to finalise and focus on. The driving force for the planting had been the flowers for October 24th. Now all we had to do was tend and encourage our stock to burgeon, despite the onset of Autumn. We had initially thought table decorations only but we expanded to bride’s bouquet and now it was looking as though we could cater for the whole shebang. Oh and could Lion TV have some wedding photos please.

 

Next time on Sowing, Growing and Cups of Tea;   A Marriage Made in Salisbury