Coiling (& Raku preparation)!

Apologies for the long delay in posts, life has gotten extremely busy. Working full time and taking care of a family doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Access to SB’s studio has been on and off as well due to similar circumstances. However the last week or so has seen some pottery action!

We are doing a raku firing in about a week, which meant making a couple of pieces early enough to have them bisque fired, glazed and dry enough in good time!

I have grown in confidence in my slab building however coiling is probably my weakest skill. Therefore I decided to take the opportunity to try and get better at coiling whilst preparing some items for a raku firing – two birds; one stone!

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to keep a coherent shape when coiling. Perhaps I’m working with the clay too wet? Should I be waiting until the clay is drier before coiling? The pot seems to sag and lose shape. Getting the sides smooth inside and out is tricky too. Perhaps my coils are too thin as well.. Any tips or advice would be great!

I read in Clay Craft about using a former to begin the piece and then to coil on top of this. This was more successful, but still not easy!

Nonetheless I created a few items – a coiled bottle, two coiled bowls using a former for the base and then an orb using two pieces shaped using the former. I shaped one of the bowls into a triangular shape just to mix things up a bit!

SB had created about six or seven glazes for the firing. I dipped items, used tape to keep parts of the clay clean, brushed on glaze and dripped it to create movement! Hopefully this will mean I get a lot of contrast between the colourful glazed areas and the naked clay, which will go black in the firing. Plunging the hot pieces into a bin of sawdust and paper will also affect the colours, so I will consider how to create as much reduction as possible before the big day!

I’m afraid I don’t have a picture of the glazed items, but we’re doing the raku firing on the 22nd July so I’ll take as many photos as possible.

SB’s studio is now closed for the summer but I bought a new bag of clay, so I’m hoping to get back to throwing and building more regularly over the next few weeks – and blogging of course!!

As ever, keep up to date with my comings and goings on Instagram and keep an eye on my etsy page for some lovely things!

P Stratford xx

Amaco Glazes

SB got a whole new bunch of Amaco Glazes around Christmas time – Potter’s Choice cone 5/6, which alone in 2-3 coats give lovely vibrant colours, but also layers and striped, create some really beautiful effects! Having worked on my pieces at home recently, and therefore used my own Mayco/Botz glazes, I’m only just getting back pieces I made with SB and the Amaco glazes.

I wanted to share with you some of the pieces I’ve gotten back over the last two weeks – which if you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen already, because I love them. I LOVE THEM. Seeing these colours puts the biggest grin on my face. You’ll also see my lovely wave roller from Scarva which is my new favourite tool! £10 is a lot to spend on a small roller, but the depth and clarity of design are much, much clearer than the sugar rollers I have used for my star pieces.

  1. Slab built wave rectangle flower pot
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  2. Small round wave trinket box (available to buy from my Etsy shop)
  3. Pink and blue wave mug
  4. Slab bowl with stamp detail design

I’m going to have a play around with colours and textures in the next few weeks and post the results. There is an entire Facebook Group dedicated to these glazes and some of the results are just stunning!

So far they’ve behaved well for me, interacted with each other but not run at the bottom so I’ve had no problem with pieces sticking to kiln shelves or such the like. I’ll have to ask SB what temperature she’s firing at, but so far I’ve been really, really happy with the results!

Is it too early to start a Christmas list?

PS xx

P.S. Throw Down Semi Finals Tonight!!

*SPOILER ALERT*

Devastated Nam went last week. His Russian Dolls weren’t up to scratch, so it was the right call, but he was by far my favourite. I loved his creativity, his designs had clarity and were really playful in different, dyNAMic ways, he seemed like a really genuine and compassionate human being. Let’s see who survives the Great Toilet Challenge and what Johnny Vegas gets up too this week!