Ceramic birdbath shapes

Dark ceramic birdbath on burnt oak base. Frostproof.
£3500 plus delivery, 2'9" high x 1'5" wide x 1'6" deep.

Orange ceramic birdbath on burnt oak base. Frostproof.
£3500 plus delivery, 2'9" high x 1'5" wide x 1'6" deep.

A black ceramic birdbath on a burnt oak base on a black limestone slab. No 5 shape.
Oxidised press-moulded stoneware.
£3000 plus delivery, 80 high x 40cms wide

Birdbath in cast iron

A large octagonal cast iron BB. Its upper surface is coated with aluminium.
£2650 plus delivery - 45cm diameter x 57cm high

A small octagonal cast iron BB. Its upper surface is coated with aluminium.
£2000 plus delivery - 53cm W x 27cm high

Photography by: Tess Lari, Kari Lari and Sarah Walton.

In this video clip, Sarah explains how landscape has influenced her work.

These birdbaths comprise a frost proof ceramic form on a green oak base. The design is such that its pool of water, should it freeze in winter, has room to expand both upwards and outwards. Though of different materials, base and birdbath have been worked to finally be one form. They often look their best in a dormant winter garden covered in frost, when they become vehicles for light and shadow. Of these pieces, Sarah says, "From an early age I walked, drew and painted landscape, those of the South Downs and Lake District making a special impact. I saw their thinness of soil as a beauty of spareness and it is that quality I've tried to bring to these pieces. I also saw tarns encircled by hills, in low light conditions, glistening silver."

The public are welcome to visit her studio in East Sussex, where current stocks of birdbaths are set out in a woodland garden. Alternatively she is able to supply digital images and then dispatch by courier a chosen birdbath.

Wintering a birdbath
Sarah Walton started out on these pieces having observed that birds felt safe using puddles. So her first were that shallow. Then she observed that such a quantity of water evaporated too quickly in summer, so she began by degrees to deepen them. She then observed that during hard frosts, that the stresses on the pieces from such increased quantities of water when it froze (and thereby expanded) were considerable. To avoid this hazard she reasoned that at the onset of winter, half of the upper form should be filled with sand. This displaces half the quantity of water in the birdbath and thereby the quantity that becomes solid ice. She supplies sand which she tell customers to put into their birdbath at the onset of winter - and remove in spring once all fear of frosts is past. Providing a birdbath has sufficient sand put into it, the piece will withstand the hardest weather and thereby last indefinitely. She appreciates that some customers take their birdbaths inside during winter but to her mind they often look their best in a winter garden.

Siting a birdbath
Birds are wary of their predators and feel safe if there is shrubbery fairly near in which they can hide before approaching a birdbath. Once on it they also need a clear view to spot an approaching predator. The quieter the location the more birds will use it,but also somewhere where you can see it from the house. Be ready to change your mind about its location after a while. In that time you will have observed it in different lights, in different seasons. If it stands in direct sunlight photosynthesis will create a red algae. In a slightly shaded place this will not occur. When installed place four small bits of slate between the base and slab allowing the lower surface of the base some ventilation.

The technique used to produce most of the birdbaths here is known as saltglazing. This is one in which no one piece can be exactly repeated; even two made in an identical clay and fired in the same firing will be different. All that can be predicted is a possible 'range of qualities.'Sarah Walton has worked with this technique for over 40 years and throughout has, as we say, sought to 'work with what the kiln gives me'. This expression belies the skill and experience that the potter must bring to managing a firing. Therefore exact copies of one piece are not possible; instead she asks that a customer respect the subtle differences that are the character of such wares and consider each on its own merits.

We can quote you and then arrange pallet delivery by courier to your door or you are welcome to collect from the studio at Keepers. Courier delivery is available both nationally and internationally.

A birdbath about to be dispatched by courier.