Rabbits! The finished pieces

Hello all,

Just to update you on the status of the rabbits! They were glazed with an iron wash and then had a matr white glaze poured on – SB’s own recipe. I had tried for a little more colour variation but overall I’m happy with them! What do you think?

The rabbit sitting up has cobalt eyes and the rabbit sitting down has a glossy amaco brown glaze on the eyes.

More posts to come shortly.. Watch this space!

PS xx

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Underglazes, Dipping Glazes, Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Morning all,

Apologies for things going quiet on the blog – 2018 has thus far been a challenging year. Which gives me all the more reason to enjoy and celebrate clay when I get the chance.

A few weeks back SB’s studio opened up again on Tuesday nights and I popped down. I made two little dishes for mothers day for my mum and mum-in-law and a couple of bowls. My intention was to start playing with underglazes and try to understand dipping/spraying glazes more rather than just brush on.

The underglazes were ok to use, but to be vibrant they were low fired and so not suitable for food SB said. But as the dishes were more like little trinket dishes this was fine. The underglazes were fine, one colour must have been a little thick or not happy as it bubbled and burst away, but I had more issues with the clear glaze I had to brush ontop that got a bit claggy (is that a word?). I think SB has a clear crackle I can use next time that was more light and less err.. claggy.

The green glaze I sprayed on gave a lovely coverage but a blue cobalt I used came out much more strongly that I had anticipated – a bit garish. And the tags yard I used under the spray on glaze burnt away mostly, so was barely visible at all. Overall I really didn’t like either of the green bowls I made at all. Last night I worked to re-glaze them and see if they could be salvaged. I don’t like discarding things – I don’t like to be wasteful. So I’m hoping they look a little better with a second firing..

I also poured on a blue dipping glaze. I think I need to get much better with my pouring or perhaps some glazes are more forgiving than others – because the coverage was really uneven, especially on the sides of the dishes. Likewise I used a blue cobalt and tags yard to try and bring out some detail in the bowl, but again the blue as garish and the tags yard virtually burnt away. Hopefully next in two weeks or so I’ll be able to get them back in a better condition. Regardless I will post the results as its useful to share failures as well as successes!!

And so apart from battling with glazes, I decided to make a rabbit last night! Well, a hare. I had seen an article in Clay Craft where they used two small pinch pots to make a basic rabbit shape. I have wanted to make Little One a rabbit for the garden since I began working with pottery again – but I was intimidated by sculpture. Handbuilding is such a different skill to throwing, and I have never had much luck with coiling and pinch pots. But my mind was restless with other things and I just started, regardless. I think seeing the Clay Craft article gave me confidence. I joined two large pinch pots and used a third smaller pinch pot for the head. And from there I pushed, added, scrapped, moulded and prodded the clay into a hare standing on its back legs. I worked a little from an image of a real hare on my phone, but as you can imagine the phone kept shutting down, so it was largely from eye and memory. I wasn’t going either for ‘animated’ nor ‘real life’ but something in between I guess. I battled with memory vs a picture, as a hare has quite long front legs, which looked strange to me when I made them in clay, but the proportions were roughly correct from the photo of the hare.

The plan is to use oxides and underglazes to glaze him but keep it quite low key. I’ll definitely be doing a few test tiles before jumping in and glazing him – that much those awful bowls have taught me!!

I’d like to have a go making more animals – mostly for the garden and for my Little One to enjoy. It was a really different building experience to throwing or slab, and I’m glad I finally made a rabbit (hare), just in time for spring! As ever, I’ll do my best to keep you posted

PS xx

Here’s to 2018! A vintage year for Ceramics?

Hello All,

I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and are well recovered from festivities and/or dry Jan or Vegan Jan or other. Can you believe it’s February already? I honestly can’t. I think our experience of time changes as we get older… but that’s for a different post and perhaps different blog all together!

Just to let you all know that I am alive and still here! We’re all recovering from this rotten flu-stomach bug-cold that’s been going around here like the plague! But we’re slowly returning to form.

There will hopefully be some big changes in the Stratford household this year. I have plans. And they include a shed. Oh yes. Big pottery related shed plans. But let’s see how things turn out.

Looking forward to keeping this blog alive and well with some more posts and pottery related adventures! I bought a galvanised steel bin incinerator a few months ago now to do some smoke firing! I’ve been collecting paper from the shredder and looking up how to get different effects, all I need now are some bisque pots and some dry weather. I’m also playing around with designs to create a ‘range’ of some kind. And I’ve been inspired by the incredible work of The Key West Pottery – their ceramic totem poles, vibrant colours and playful pieces make me want to create something just as bright and fun for my home..

So! Lots of pottery adventures to come.

I’ve had some great comments back recently from old posts – if anyone has any tips, bargains or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Best wishes as ever,

PS xx

Cast Munchkin Pumpkins!

Yes, Halloween is long gone. But since writing a post about making plaster casts, I have been busy making as many munchkin pumpkins as I can! And I love the results! As you can see I’m channelling my inner Kate Malone.

Unless specified otherwise these pumpkins were glazed using Botz glazes. As you’ll see below some are wild pinks, blues and metallic! Whereas others are more natural looking with greens, browns and white.

Some of these pumpkins have already been picked up by family but I will make sure I get a few on etsy asap!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Love

PS xxIMG_20171219_231645_667.jpg

(Above: pink and blue pumpkin is glazed in Amaco Potters Choice)

(Below: metallic pumpkin is Amaco glaze Palldium)

 

(Brown and blue pumpkin below is Amaco Potters Choice glazes)

Christmas Goodies!

It’s Christmas! I think it’s finally safe to say… and as such, I have been making Christmas themed goodies! All hand made by yours truly. Check out my Etsy Shop!

Christmas Tree decorations! Two for £5. Two designs in four colours:

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Snowflake Vases (20cm tall) £20 each!

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And a load of other lovely things including bowls, vases and mugs!

PS xx

Lisa Hammond (Maze Hill) Open Studio! 2/3 Dec

The wonderful Lisa Hammond of Maze Hill Pottery also has an open studio this weekend! 2nd – 3rd December, down in Greenwich 10am – 6pm. They have a particularly fun part to the weekend – a kiln opening! Saturday at 11am. Alongside Lisa, Darren Ellis and Dominic Upson have their work for sale.

I’ve never been to Maze Hill, to be honest I just assumed Lisa Hammond worked in Stoke. However it looks like an incredible space, a former ticket office not far from the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich area.

I met Lisa at Ceramic Art London this year, and she was so friendly and approachable. She talked about the way in which they achieved the glaze effect on their mugs.

I’m going to do my best to get to both Kate Malone’s studio and Maze Hill. If you’re going along too do say hello!

PS xx

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Emma Bridgewater Factory Tour

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In the summer Beloved and I were back in the midlands and decided at quite short notice, to visit the Emma Bridgewater Factory!

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The Factory offers Experience Days, Factory Tours, a cafe and decorating studio! We tried to book onto the Experience Day (£30 pp) which included the tour, afternoon tea and a half pint jug for decorating, however we were booking at short notice and there was not enough room for two of us. So, instead we went for the Factory Tour (£2.50 per adult, under 16s free) and booked a slot shortly after in the Decorating Studio.

The tour was one hour and led by a lovely knowledgable lady who took us through from the mixing machines where the special slip is prepared, through the slip casting room, drying areas, kilns and finally the large decorating area! It was wonderful to see everyone working together and seemingly having a great time – there was a real sense of community and pride in the work they were producing.

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Following the tour and the sneak peak at the new christmas range – Beloved and I headed to the decorating studio, where people are able to use the left over sponges used in the original designs, to decorate all kinds of pots, mugs and plates! We chose two espresso mugs and two plates. Beloved had a great time decorating a little espresso mug for Little One (she isn’t a coffee drinker – YET – but she loves dinosaurs), whereas I decided to have a go at making Little One some colourful plates. Getting an even sponge print is harder than it looks!

The decorating studio was wonderful and for £5 you can post as much as you want to anywhere in the UK! And three weeks later, what a lovely delivery to receive.

Overall we really enjoyed the visit – even Beloved recognised Emma Bridgewater pieces. The Factory Tour was extremely reasonable and the decorating studio was well equipped and reasonably priced. And there were vouchers all over the tickets and bookings for both the seconds shop and the gift shop, so you really could grab yourself a bargain!

If you find yourself in Stoke or the midlands, it’s definitely worth a visit, even at short notice!

PS xx

p.s. Apologies, I wrote a post on this months ago, but somewhere between uploading the photos on my phone and writing the blog post on my laptop, it disappeared?! So As you can see from the date on the plates, we visited in Factory in August, not November!