Blue – Brown! Amaco Potters Choice

A post a few months ago, Recent Work, showed a piece I had constructed in a relatively short amount of time but it has been a long time waiting to glaze. This is because I’ve found that sometimes my glaze choices have let me down! For example I love the depth of many of the Botz glazes but they’re thick and you need 2-3 coats, which means it just isn’t suitable for a finely textured piece. I’ve recently been using SB’s Amaco Potters Choice glazes which I really love! However she mostly has blues and pinks, and sometimes they merge into an almost denim colour. Which, if the desired effect is great! 

One glaze combination I’ve been enjoying is the Potters Choice combination of brown (55) and blue (pc20). Usually the blue is a Base colour you layer on top of however I’ve been putting the brown on first and using the blue to accent and it’s worked surprisingly well! 

I first used this glaze combination on a re-glazing and I liked the result. I used a dish made of scraps at the end of a studio session set in a former to try the glaze out on bisque and the depth of the brown was beautiful, particularly where it accentuated the marks underneath.

Re-glazed little vase.

I then tried the glaze in earnest on a larger piece I’ve been working on. It was built of textured strips, inspired by how urban forms and high rises begin to decay and look dated, are abandoned and sometimes find new life either through rehabitation or being reclaimed by nature. I used the blue glaze to highlight areas and wax resist to create contrast against the brown. I’m really happy with how it came out, the textures and marks are really visible. This is definitely a combination I will work with again! I want to put this piece in the garden near a crawler to let it become encapsulated by the plant. Hopefully it’ll grow in and out of the different parts and the green of the leaves will contrast with the deep brown.

PS xx

Recent work (part 1)

Hello all,

I thought I’d share a few photos some recent work. I’ve become increasingly interested in the interface of the natural and urban environments and structures.

I’ve been texturing clay, ripping, cutting and recycling the offcuts from other people’s cuttings in the studio – initially to help use up the used clay for SB, but actually using off cuts has added extra textures, shapes and forms became an interesting process in of itself. I’ve been using rollers, stamps, keys, lids, buttons and basically anything I can get my hands on to texture the clay. I try not to plan them too much but just let the pieces fit themselves together and layer them as required in order to strengthen them where needs be. Usually I have quite a fixed idea of what I want and I draw and plan it. Instead this time I’m trying out respond to the clay and not over think things.

I haven’t made the pieces into functional ware, instead I’ve been making pieces I want to glaze organically and have the pieces in the garden to become part of the natural environment again.

At the moment I’ve made two large pieces, photos of one piece below. I will add photos of their progress as I go.

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated!!

PS xx

Lesley Risby demonstration

Today The Barnet Collection hosted a demonstration with Lesley Risby, a ceramicist who has recently been featured in Ceramic Review.

Lesly demonstrated her techniques of using wire, cotton and porcelain to create nature inspired shapes. Her work resembles shells and seed pods and she said the skeletal effect was in order to show the fragility of nature. She also casts shapes and objects and uses these casts to create repeated forms. Her most recent inspiration has been from natural distribution, in particular the seeds of the sycamore tree.

It was a really lovely afternoon seeing an expert at work! I’m looking forward to future Barnet Collection events.

PS x

Ceramic Art London 2017

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It was Ceramic Art London this past weekend! My first time going, Beloved and I had tickets for the Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies over Kings Cross; a perfect day for wandering around the exhibition and chatting to exhibitors!

The show was in Central Saint Martins and consisted of 90 odd stalls of primarily artists and the odd stall from Ceramic Review, a book stall, Craft Potters Association and one raising money for the new Clay College up in Stoke.

There was a really nice vibe about the place, no doubt helped by the beautiful weather! Who doesn’t love a sunny day?

Having only really experienced Art in Clay at Hatfield House, I thought it might be a little bigger, but that doesn’t reflect the quality of the work on show. It was certainly dominated by statement pieces and less so about functional ware. Don’t get me wrong there were some selling mugs but unlike Art in Clay it seemed much more “art” than everyday use. Which is by no means a criticism! Just an observation. So my hopes of picking up a reasonably priced mug or something was a little restricted. However that didn’t stop me chatting to Lisa Hammond and buying a gorgeous storage jar from her. Her stall had a mix of big beautiful pots and smaller functional jugs, jars and cups. wp-1491230105438.jpgShe was so approachable and happily explained how she made the jar and decorated it with slip. I really love how down to earth potters are! Excuse the pun.wp-image-974943916jpg.jpg

I gambled my chances to win a piece on the Clay College bag lucky dip but sadly was not rewarded. I am now the proud owner of this lovely black tote!

Work that stood out for me was that of Peter Beard, whose pots look like they had been grown from the Great Barrier Reef!

Heidi Warr’s monochromatic pieces were incredibly intricate as were Raewyn Harrison’s historical architecture inspired pieces. Then I couldn’t help but smile at Midori Takaki’s huge polar bear!

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Peter Beard

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Heidi Warr

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Midori Takaki

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Raewyn Harrison

It really was a feast for the eyes wherever you turned. Beloved was impressed with the work of Finn Dam Rasmussen and the demonstration of the 3D clay printer.

Overall we had a really wonderful day and I came away with more confidence that I will be able to translate my ideas into meaningful pots! (As soon as I can find the time…)

And before I sign off – my little blog has appeared in the most recent issue of Ceramics Review! I feel very proud, if a little out of place.

PS xxwp-1491231385592.jpg

 

Throw Down is over.. But clay lives on!

The Great Pottery Throw Down is over… What is there to look forward too on TV each week now? Will they make us wait another 12-18months for the next series (assuming there is a next series). I’m not going to lie, Robot Wars keeps me happy on a Sunday night (yes, I admitted it. I like Robot Wars) but it’s nothing compared to the delights of clay!

And as anyone reading this blog, probably also follows The Great Pottery Throw Down, what did you think of Ryan winning? I guess he was pretty much up there from the first episode, it was nice to have Clover come into her own by the end of the series. I had a bit of a marmite relationship with Richard, I’m not going to lie. He made me roll my eyes probably 5-8 times an episode, with his 17th century flower pattern and subtle homophobia/misogyny (‘eww a kiss from KBJ… Throwing is mens work…!!?) but he was a big softy really.

I think from the beginning people would probably have put Elaine, Freya and Ryan (and Nam if there was a 4th space) up for the final. Their skills were clearly superior, but then it comes down to design fluency and the luck of the kiln firing. Some people were shocked Cait made it so far, but then she held her own, stuck to brief and was realistic about her abilities (although clearly needed bit of help with timing).

Overall I really enjoyed the series and it’s great to have more people talking about clay and ceramics! When we visited Godshill Pottery they commented how much more business and inquiries they had for classes and pots since the series had been on TV, which can only be a positive thing.

Over at SB’s studio we’ve all agreed to have a go at some of the main makes from the show. The first one we’ve tried is from an early episode, where the contestants made clocks. I decided to go for an art deco mantle clock and although the construction changed a little when I saw the depth of the clock mechanism, I was able to stick to my design and I’m generally really happy with it!

I rolled out two slabs, one I kept smooth and one I rolled with my wave pattern. I used various measuring devices and card templates to get the proportions right and then cut the pieces, let them dry a little, scored and slipped them together, let them dry a little more, and then it was fired facing down in order to keep the face as flat as possible. I also have a little support at the back that you can’t see. The lower semi circle projects back about 5cm and creates a sturdy base. I used my Mayco grey and green glazes for the colours, although in SB’s kiln she fired them high (at my request) and so the colour is less animated and deeper. The mechanism is gold and black, which doesn’t come across in the photo so well.

I can honestly say I’m really happy with my clock! It actually came out as I had imagined. Which is often not the case with ceramics..

Onto the next task! I’d love to make something for the garden (I’ve been playing with the idea of making a large rabbit, as Little One loves rabbits, although she loves pigs and frogs too…), a dinner set I might skip as we don’t have the space, and we have no need for an extra toilet… Perhaps we can do some raku and pit firing over the summer!!

So there you have it. The series may have finished, but the love for clay lives on.

Happy potting

PS xx

 

Ceramic Art London 

Ceramic Art London is nearly here! 31st March – 2nd April. Beloved has done good and got us two tickets to Ceramic Art London on the Sunday!

There are some great images and a sense of excitement on social media from Potters getting ready for the show. Tons of photos of full kilns and glazed bisqueware ready for firing! I really can’t wait to see what beautiful pots will be on display! I’m going to hold back on buying coffees and bring my lunch to work so that I can save up a few pennies in order to get myself a little something.

There is a great programme of talks throughout the weekend as well! We’re only going on the Sunday, but I’d so love to make the whole three days. I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop smiling  as I walk around – so if you see a grown woman grinning like a kid in a sweet shop – that’s me!!

Tickets still available. See you there!!

PS xx

HEY CLAY!

Hey!

Well haven’t you heard? The Crafts Council’s Hey Clay! Events are happening all over the country 8-9 April!

If you’re inspired by the Great Pottery Throw Down or just want to get your hands dirty or try something new, then why not see what’s happening near you! A lot of events are free and loads are family friendly!

I’ve submitted a request to attend two workshops, one involving enamel painting on bisque and one slip casting porcelain. Hello!? When else would I get to try something like these??

I can’t wait! Hopefully I booked early enough to get a place. Feeling huge pottery love right now.

PS xx