Kate Malone @ Waddesdon Manor 

This morning beloved, Little One and I set off for Aylesbury to see the exhibition of Kate Malone’s work, inspired by the Manor itself. 

After nearly running out of petrol and a delayed start, we arrived at the Stables where the exhibition was taking place and who was the first person I saw? Only Kate Malone herself! I was completely awestruck. Beloved said I should chat to her, but for once – I was speechless. Genuinely speechless. 

It turned out she was giving a talk at the.exhibition – something I remembered reading online when looking up the details. As such, we didn’t have a ticket and so while the special event was taking place, we popped into the cafe to have lunch.  I recognised a few GPTD faces as well (Matt, Sally Jo and James for those interested).

Once we had finished lunch we returned and we’re allowed in to view the exhibition. Her work was breathtaking. Stunningly delicate and intricate and her colours and glazes were as bold and mesmerising as I had hoped. 

Then, just as we were walking over to the second part, who do we bump into but Kate Malone herself. She asked about Little One and introduced her friends before inviting us to her studio open day later in the year. She was genuinely warm and humble, at ease with herself and her magnificent work surrounding us. She was delightful. If I wasn’t already a huge fan of her work, I am an enormous fan of her as a person now. What an incredible role model for my little one, a gifted and creative woman who has time, patience and warmth for those she just met. 

Today was simply magnificent! 

PGx

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All the things…

This blog may have been quiet for a little while but that’s because this Potter Girl has been busy! Last night I went to SB’s studio to glaze some of the items I had dropped off for firing last week and to drop off a few more things for firing!

Friends are getting married so I made them three small pinch pot bowls (roughly 10cm diameter). I tried to make them as uniform as possible by weighing out the clay (300g) before hand and adding a foot – but inevitably they have slight differences.

I also rolled out a slab and cut it into a couple of different shapes to make desktop pen holders. My Dad had asked for one for Christmas, just a simple flat pen holder, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. So… I made some instead! I initially made a large triangular shape and added ‘waves’ to hold different pens, but then as I was finishing I realised that part of the utility of the pen holder is that it’s small and fits neatly on the desk. So I cut it into two parts and then used the cut off to make a third piece. We’ll see how they turn out after firing – one shape might be better than another to hold a pen!

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And, the project I’ve been working on for some time… I also finished my Khmer inspired teapot! It took an awfully long time, particularly getting the handle right. I had also made a larger spout but it looked out of proportion so I trimmed it down. Before I dropped it over to SB I neatened up the handle and etched into the base a diamond-tile-like pattern, to reflect the roof tiles and adornments that inspired the piece. Getting the glazing right for this will be a challenge!

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Close up of the lid…

 

All the items I’d dropped off last week had been fired by SB and were ready for glazing except… She had fired them on the wrong temperature. She said first biscuit firing was usually a low heat, then the items are glazed before being fired at a higher temperature. However, she had made a mistake and fired the biscuit firing too high. She seemed upset and was very apologetic, but to be honest I didn’t mind. It’s all a learning process for me! And, as SB explained, I could still glaze the items (although I was limited to low firing glazes) and actually industry does their firing this way around – high and then low. So all was not lost, not by a long way!

To be honest I was just chuffed that all my chess pieces, mugs, bowls, dishes and my box were all still in one piece!

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So last night I spent almost 3hours glazing… and barely got through a third of the items! I decided on a black/metallic for one part of the chess set and then used this for the underside of my bowls and dishes. I then used a clear crackle glaze for the inside of the bowls and dishes. I want a really punchy colour for the other chess set – I had originally through black and white, but the crackle isn’t coloured and will be more beige (the colour of the clay). So I will have a little think – there is a nice green colour that might work, but I think it’s high temp firing. These are the glazes I used last night (you can see the chess set in the background):

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So hopefully next week I’ll be able to see how one side of the chess set will look! As well as my bowls and small dishes. The dishes are supposed to be a present for someone, I hope they come out ok.

Last but not least I got one of my little Khmer jugs back! I’m pretty happy with it actually. I need to write down the colours I used on it for future reference, and the green dripped a little, but over all I think it looks pretty good!
Busy girl.

PG x

 

Biscuit firing and a few finished pieces!

Hello!

It’s been a while, but I’m back! I was hoping to get some inspiration or pick up some wonderful ceramic items while we were on holiday, but I didn’t find anything specific to the region and only a few things really struck me in terms of potential pottery projects. I’ll write more about that later.

I also had to wait another week before visiting SB to get some things fired and returned. I dropped off a ton of items: different shaped cups, dishes, bowls and a chess set for biscuit firing. I am going to spend a little time this morning thinking about glazing and colours for those items as I’m back in with SB tomorrow night!

But I also got back these two items! The first was a bowl that opened up to more a plate shape. I had painted a stain on the markings but perhaps another layer would have made the blue stand out more. Then on top I painted a crackle effect glaze. I’m happy with the outcome, it was one of the first things I made with SB. In hindsight I would have cleaned the rim, which is edgy and sharp in areas. I can’t remember whether the glaze is ok to eat things on so I’ll double check with SB on that, but other wise.. yeah! I think my favourite part is the crackle effect.

…And I got my castle back! I am very happy with how it turned out, although the brown is more red in colour than I had imagined. My little one loves playing with it – putting her little animals inside and taking them out again. Someone said I need to be careful that she doesn’t break it – but it was made for her to be played with and if it chips or breaks then so be it – I’m not precious about it. It’s hers and I want her to play with it!

I love hand building. There, I said it.

Afternoon! It’s Friday! Woohoo! And we’re off on holiday for a week tomorrow – I cannot wait!! Sun, sea and sand here we come.

But that means a week away from clay! And a trip to SB’s studio when I get back, so I realised I should get a few more pieces done for the kiln otherwise it’ll be another week or more before I can get things biscuit fired.

There were a few things I wanted to make, as I mentioned in earlier posts, including a Khmer teapot as well as a few dishes for someone in particular. So I went back to doing what I do best – hand building!

I really enjoy the process of hand building, rolling out slabs and planning the construction of a piece. You really have to plan and measure pieces, cut out accurately, make sure the clay is the correct dryness to shape or put together.. I have to say. I do really love hand building, much more than I thought I would have before I started working with clay.

I think most people imagine pottery is mostly done on a wheel. If you watched The Great Pottery Throw Down last year, almost all tasks were done on the wheel. It’s a very different skill I think.What I love about hand building as well is that I can work on a slab while Little One is sleeping, leave it when she wakes up and then return to it later. It works well in a home environment. Throwing I think needs a longer block of time and is much messier! Although saying all of this, I can’t wait to get a bit more time on my wheel. I would love to find a class but they’re hard to find – even in London. But that’s another post all together…

Anyway, a few photos from today! This is the base of my teapot being cut out…

And these are two slabs I have shaped and textured. They’re drying for a little while and then I will shape them into dishes!

Well. That’s all for a week or so! Have a lovely week and I’m sure I’ll have stuff to post about when I get back!

PG x