NEOS packing list 1


Just taking some quick pictures before packing my pieces for North East Open Studios (NEOS) which previews next Friday. The work will be displayed at Art in the Buchat. Glenbuchat. Do pop along if you are in the area.


This is a damascus steel bowl on a burr wood stand, it’s so tactile.

The spoon story


The small spoons that I’m just finishing for the Unit Twelve Spoons exhibition have come a long way from this layered iron billet at the Bushfire Forge.


I forged the layers of the billet together and out into a rod.


and twisted it hot.


I hammered the rod down and shaped the end.


I then ground the spoons to make them the shape I wanted and to start revealing the pattern. I refined the shape of the spoons, sanded and polished them.


Last week I heat treated the spoons in my enameling kiln – hardening and tempering them.


Then more grinding, sanding and polishing to remove the oxides.


Then the magic moment in the fondue pot on the camping stove – using ferric chloride to reveal the pattern layers.


More re-used kitchen items – the tea treatment to clean the remaining oxide. A few other finishing processes and they’ll be ready to send off to Unit Twelve in Stafford.



These are some that I made earlier.

If you are nearer the Borders there are some of these spoons at the White Fox Gallery, and if you are in Fife there will be some at ENOS Open studios this October.


Damascus plans

Not to be left out on the Big News front, I have met with Pete from the Ratho Forge and set up a date to work further on my Damascus steel. Beat some more swords into ploughshares – well knife-metal into spoons. He has an amazing range of power hammers, an oil-fired forge and twenty-six years of experience, so that is pretty exciting.


Damascus teaspoon etched, but not yet sanded back


A different spoon etched and sanded back.


A couple of pretty pics

The witch hazel in my garden in January snow

Damascus long spoon


I have made a long spoon from one of the damascus steel twists (and have bought some photographic equipment so that I can get some better pics)


The spoon is shaped with an angle grinder and then filed and sanded smooth on the parts where I want to reveal the pattern. The steel is then etched to reveal the patterning, then the raised parts gently sanded to leave the contrast of the two metals.

I think it is my second favourite piece to date

Week 3 Materials experiments

I threw some bowls to practice simple forms for casting and also to make sure that I didn’t ‘waste’ my Crail clay. I have put some slip on some and burnished them after trimming the bottoms.



I also made a pinch pot with colis out of some of the Crail clay, again it needs trimmed and burnished. The ceramics workshop room is very busy at present so I haven’t thrown the Crail clay yet.


I had two days on the beach following up local bricks as they link to clayfields and have found an Anstruther brick; I’m very taken with the colour they have fired (blue in the middle) and the pleasing shape some have become.


I forged part of some wrought iron that I found seriously rusted on the beach and the heated rusted parts have also come a great colour.



With John Scott’s assistance I twisted and flattened a billet of two steels and I like how that looks when etched, sanded and oiled. I have since heated colours into it.


Materials experiments – Week 2

I forged one of the pieces of iron bloom that I smelted, with the assistance of John Scott. We took it as far as it would go and achieved some cracking and a generally great surface and shape. I shall try running silver onto it to accentuate the texture.

ironbloom forgedi



We also forged one of the pieces I made last year by forging two strengths of steel together. We went for a general bangle shape so I learnt how to use the pegs for bending. The best bit was where the steel started burning off because it got too hot.

ironbangleoxideI tried different surface finishes – sand blasting, filing, disc sander and finally heating and dropping in oil. This final effect I like. I don’t like the form though and next week I propose to forge it further to see what happens.


Orissa 2

In the village they also did beading using these beads and wire wrapping.


We watched a man in his 70s make solder and then forge solder a small box.


The forge was heated by hand turning a fan/bellows.


The work was poorly finished, but was for the local market – the boxes were for herbal talismans worn on the arm.