Friday, 25 February 2011

shards and fragments..........................



Many years ago , when the railways around this area were still operational, loads of waste from the towns were brought out to the country and spread on farmers' fields.  Presumably there was a useful amount of organic waste which was good for fertility building, but also, amongst that waste there were old bottles, jars, clay pipes and lots of broken china and pottery.











A local, branch line ran alongside our farm and the adjoining fields still turn up lots of interesting bits and pieces even after all these years.  When the fields have been grubbed or ploughed, it's fascinating to walk over them picking up interesting pieces which have been newly unearthed by the machinery.  A good time to look is just after a shower of rain as pottery brought to the surface is washed clean and shows up clearly on the ploughed land.










Over the years I have collected a lot of pieces, and it's interesting to rummage through them  looking at all the lovely patterned shards and fragments and wondering where they came from.  There is a lot of spongeware,  pieces of salt glazed pottery and of course masses of willow pattern in countless shades of blue!













We have a rather unattractive brick pillar which is part of  a shed at the back of our house and I'm planning to cover it with a mosaic created from my collection of pottery.  However, that's a summer project and maybe this year I'll finally get around to it.





I have put together some little collections of these finds and they are always of interest to visitors who are often amazed at what's out there in our fields!


8 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing that delicate, fragile glass bottles can appear on the surface unscathed, having been grubbed, ploughed or treated very roughly. I particularly love sponge ware fragments and found quite a good selection on Islay a couple of years ago. I'm saving my collection for our next kitchen or bathroom but I'd love to give you a hand to do your pillar mosaic and get it a bit of practice!

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  2. Fascinating collection, amazing what is hidden under the ground that tells so much about past years. Must be such a great feeling to be the one to find it!

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  3. What amazes me is that even after walking over the same fields for years there are always lots of new pieces appearing. It's like beachcombing when the tide has gone out. Some local people also say that broken pottery from various Glasgow factories was dumped out in the country and that would explain why this stuff is sometimes referred to as Glasgow clay. However, we are about 75 miles from Glasgow and I'm sure there were places a lot nearer the city to dump broken pottery!

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  4. My mum's garden was and probably still is full of bits of broken china. I remember collecting it and sometimes finding clay pipes too.

    I love the way you have displayed your finds and I think a mosaic will look wonderful.

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  5. What lovely photos! And what a good idea to make a mosaic of your finds. I've done the reverse procedure. I'd been keeping broken pottery for years in the hope that one day I'd mend it. Last year I decided the best thing was to let future generations find it rather than keeping it in my cupboard. So, it's now lying about in my garden, looking distinctly weird but I hope it will eventually get mixed in with the soil for someone else to find.

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  6. It reminds me of holidaying at Tostary Cottage in Mull, every night sheep would range around the cottage and in the morning there would be new shards of spongeware on the grass.
    J x

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  7. What a beautiful collection, I love how you have it displayed. I used to pick tatties in my youth and there was one field in particular which was excellent for such finds.

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  8. What wonderful pieces! I live in Bath and blue-and-white shards turn up routinely in the garden, hinting at an era before mass waste collection.

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