‘Grits’ Vase


Sandstone stem vase

This stone is known as ‘Grits’ – a short-form for Millstone Grit.

Millstone Grit is the name given to any of a number of course-grained sandstones of Carboniferous age which occur in the British Isles.  The name comes from its use in earlier times as a source of millstones for use principally in watermills.

millstone grit stone vase

The term gritstone describes any sandstone composed of course, angular grains, and refers to such sandstones within the Pennines and neighbouring areas of Northern England.

Various sandstone beds of Millstone Grit have been quarried for building stone, paving flags and roofing material.  It is also used, usually where outcrops are plentiful, in dry-stone walls.  It found use in agriculture where is was hewn to make animal drinking troughs, and as mentioned, was used widely in cornmills where it was favoured for grinding stones.

Lingberry Sandstone vase

This vase is in Lingberry – the quarry is located near Barnard Castle, County Durham – which yields high quality building stone.  Lingberry Sandstone dates back to the fifteenth century when the original Streatlam Castle was built on the nearby estate.  In 1710 Streatlam Castle Hall was also built using Lingberry stone.

stone vase

I love its texture, the mix of medium and course grains – and the colour – you can see the fine bands of darker veining, mixed with sandy buff and grey.  It is an especially good contrasting foil for cut flowers or plant material I think – these are some leaves from the Buddleja in the garden, picked just today.



Today I’ve joined ‘In a Vase on Monday’ hosted by Rambling in the Garden who has rose-buds in her vase!




  1. Comment by Cathy:

    Your vases and other scultures are absolutely delightful, Jennifer – I just know they will be so tactile and I hope to treat myself one of these days. I can just imagine cupping one in my hand…. Good to know the quarries the stone has come from too. The Buddleja leaves serve to subtly enhance the colour and texture of this one. Thanks so much for sharing

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thanks so much, the leaves do look so delicate don’t they. I’ve been wanting to join your In a Vase on Monday for ages, and watched your weekly and everyone’s wonderful displays. So motivating, and wonderful to see what is in everyone’s garden – I’m eagerly picking up tips! Thanks again.

  2. Comment by Kris P:

    That vase is beautiful, Jennifer, and I can almost feel its texture just looking at your photos. Does it hold water well? I’ve got a lovely onyx stone vase that presents a challenge in that regard.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Your Onyx vase sounds lovely, what beautiful stone that is, though I’ve never worked it! You’re right about the water, I have inserted a glass vial for the water in this vase, it doesn’t have a huge capacity, but enough for a few stems. All my vases have a glass for the reason you mention, as most stones are porous to a greater or lesser extent. Some smaller vases I make are just for dry stems for this reason.

  3. Comment by AlisonC:

    That is beautiful and such a pleasing shape. Wonderful colour and texture too.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thank you so much – I’m loving seeing everyone’s vases.

  4. Comment by Noelle:

    What a wonderful thing to make from stone…just how water tight is it? Do you have to place a mat underneath it to protect the surface. The idea of making vases out of stone really appeals to me as I love stone and am in a group of amateur geologists exploring the Mendips in Somerset.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Noelle – I certainly think it is wonderful! This stone isn’t watertight at all – but that doesn’t matter as I when I make them I include a glass vial insert with the vase, and this serves the ‘water-tight’ requirement perfectly. What a fascinating group, and I’m really interested to hear what you find in your exploration of the Mendips. Do have a go at making a vase – and let me know how you get on!

  5. Comment by Amanda Colquhoun:

    I love the simplicity of your beautifully shaped vase and the leaves of buddleia. A wonderful combination of colour and texture! I love it! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-featherweight-vase-on-monday.html

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thanks so much Amanda – I love your feathers too – my resident Barn Owl leaves me some after a night’s preening sometimes, so I must try them in this vase, the colours are just right.

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