Merry Mayco Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho! Meeeeeeerry Christmas!

I spent a good few hours last week making Christmas decorations and mugs in preparation for my first biscuit firing at home – and I’m happy to say it worked great! The kiln fired perfectly at home and the results were fab.

With a loads of Christmas tree decorations, trinket boxes and mugs to glaze, I got going with my new Mayco foundation glazes. It recommended 2-3 coats, so I applied 3 on pretty much everything. I also did a few testers indicating 1, 2 and 3 coats. The blue, grey, green and white came out well with 3 coats, although I’d go as far as to say go for 4 coats if you wanted a more bold colour. The ‘coral’ pink colour was quite washed out at 3 coats, so I’d definitely do 4 coats or even more if possible to try and get a bolder colour.

Having biscuit fired one day I was able to get the items glazed and fully dry by the weekend and fire for glazing! This was really exciting as I’d pack the kiln to the absolute brim, balancing stars on kiln accessories just to try and squeeze everything into the one firing. I even use the bottom of the kiln and tripods to add an extra layer. I don’t know if you should use the bottom of a kiln, but I did and it worked out fine. This isa  photo of the kiln lid being opened after my first low temp glaze firing!

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And here are a few more pictures of what came out. You can see I used a designer liner to highlight some of the snow flake pattern and on one of the stars I used a blue glaze over a white glaze, which gave a nice effect for the snowflake.

And here they are hanging in the tree! Lots of friends and family will be getting these little stars for Christmas!

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And then mid-week I was able to get back to SB’s to pick up some things that had been glazed a few weeks ago! She’s shut for Christmas now, but I was happy to pick up a few items as they were made as presents for people as well.

First is a little cup I threw on the wheel and added a pulled handle. I twisted it slightly and then glazed on an angle too – I really love this little mug, although if the twist had gone the other way, it would be comfier to hold. But it isn’t bad! And the new glazes SB has got are great – the colours are vibrant and overlap really well!

These were a pair of mugs I made, using lace to add detail to the clay and then highlighting the lace area with the pink/purple glaze and the rest of the mug with the blue/brown and a white glaze inside. I really like them and I know they’ve gone to a great home!

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And finally a tea jar to go with my coffee jar and two little vases I made! The tea jar came out great, although the lid slightly curled up.

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And the two vases were inspired by my Phnom Penh vase – I used the techniques from the larger vase to develop these little pieces – there is a 3rd but it needs more work so these were glazed in anticipation first!!

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It was my birthday recently and beloved got me a spot on a glaze making class in the spring, which is so exciting! Didn’t he do well? And I got a few ceramics books and bits and pieces from friends and family. I’m one lucky Potter Girl.

So there we are! Christmas eve is a week away and I can’t wait for some time off work to spend with loved ones! Clay is all wrapped up for now but no doubt I’ll be back on it again over the Christmas holidays – much remains to be made.

Wishing everyone a fantastic festive period and a happy and healthy 2017! Take care of yourselves

PG X

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Ho! Ho! Christmas Decorations!

Well, it’s about time I got making something to use all that lovely glaze, huh? I’ve been meaning to make some decorations for weeks now, but work has been very busy and by the time I’ve gotten Little One home, fed, bathed and in bed, I’m virtually asleep myself. However after visiting Kate Malone’s studio yesterday, I got my clay and tools out and had a go!

I used a star shaped cookie cutter and the snowflake stamp to make two designs. One is just a single stamp in the centre of the star and the second was created by stamping the entire clay surface before using the star cutter. I then used my own PS stamp for my initials and used a straw to poke out a hole.

In an hour or so I had made roughly 20 stars, which will do perfectly for little Christmas gifts for friends and family!

Although now I need to decide on colours – white? blue? Perhaps not green.. Grey or coral? Or should I try some of the Botz glazes? Not sure. I have a few mugs and egg cups that will need firing too. If I can make a few more mugs this week then I’ll try to biscuit fire this weekend and we’ll be on our way!

Sadly SB’s studio is pretty much closed for Christmas now, so if I want anything made I’ll have to do it myself. Fingers crossed the kiln works ok! Although I need to be careful because the Botz glazes fire at a higher temperature. But if everything is done with the Mayco I should be fine. I would like to make a few little trinket boxes as well.

 

I wish I wasn’t at work this week, I’d love a few days to concentrate on getting these Christmas pressies finished! But such is life. I’ll just have to get to bed early so I can stay awake in the evenings!!

I’ll keep you posted with my progress

PGxx

Kate Malone’s Open Studio!

This weekend was one I had been waiting for since meeting Kate Malone at Waddesdon Manor – Kate’s open studio!!

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I left Little One at home with Beloved as I wasn’t sure what her studio would be like (as it happened there were loads of kids in and out!), but I also knew that if I wanted to pick up a Kate Malone master piece (which I did, if possible) that I’d need to be there early!

Kate’s studio was easy to find down a little alley and what can I say… what an incredible space! A feast for the eyes. It was a well organised, beautifully lit place with a little kitchen, loads of work space and that huge wonderful kiln at the back. Upstairs was like a little Japanese studio, incredibly calm with windows the length of the building.

There was literally a pile of her famous pumpkins as we walked in the door on the left and some of her beautiful mugs, hearts and trinkets to the right. A pumpkin immediately caught my eye, a stunning blue, green and grey medium sized pumpkin. I grabbed it! I had to have it. I had a figure in mind and it was pretty much the top of my budget, but the piece was so striking, intricate and lush.. I felt like this was my chance to own a real Kate Malone piece and a pumpkin at that! The lovely assistant put it to one side for me and I investigated the studio.

Upstairs I met Rich Miller of The Great Pottery Throw Down fame! I contained my excitement and managed to have a chat about his pieces without my voice breaking with glee and even got to chat about the show! I had picked up one of his cups almost as soon as I went up stairs and after taking up so much of his time I felt like I owned the mug of his I had been clinging too, and so I purchased this as well.

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It really is a beautiful mug, well weighted and a beautiful handle. A great little cup! He used water colours to paint the different images which were reduced in size and then converted into little enamel transfers which were floated into place. The detail is stunning and Rich was an incredibly nice guy.

Upstairs I managed to snap a few pics of Kate’s personal collection – the pineapples, snapdragons and beautiful flower vases.

When I went back downstairs I managed to say hello to Kate again, she’s a very warm and happy lady! I tried to put into words my thanks to her for opening up the world of clay and ceramics to me through the TV show and her own exhibitions. I don’t think I really got any of it across, I probably sounded like a mumbly eejit.. but I tried. Clay means a lot of me, it’s my vehicle for creativity and stress relief.. it helps me balance my life. At a time when I felt like I was losing my identity, it has helped me forge a new one. I love it.

And now, I have a little Kate Malone treasure to call my own, my very own pumpkin. It’s been a great weekend!

…Can’t wait till next year!

PG x