2017 is here to stay

Well. Politics, both domestic and global, seems intent on repeating mistakes that were sworn to never be repeated. It’s been a tumultuous start to the year and one that many would like to forget, but as it is, 2017 is here to stay.

On an individual scale, life has been busy. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day or days in the week. Since the holidays and heading back to work, it’s been difficult to find time to do anything other than get on top cleaning/sorting/tidying the house however finally this weekend I got a few hours to myself and I thought – let’s see how a little bit of throwing goes!

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And actually, despite perhaps two-three months without throwing, it actually went reasonably well! I decided to try and batch throw a few mug shapes. Four mugs were produced, a bowl and a jug.

However, the jug and bowl were sacrificed in the turning stages – I need to practice turning as much as throwing!

 

I decided on pulling a few handles as well and again, this didn’t go as badly as I imagined. After being left to dry for a little while, four were selected and added to the mugs. Again I need to work on making my handles a little longer and thinner – they’re quite chunky at the top and this looks unbalanced when attached to the mug.

I carried on throwing this evening – the wheel was out, so why not! It’ll be at least a few days if not weeks before I use it again, so why not make the most of it? I played around with some recycled clay and indenting a thrown shape. It’s a little basic, but I quite liked the rippled rim and little narrow spout of these two, so I decided to keep them.

I even managed to convince Beloved to have a go this evening! Spreading the ceramics love throughout the household! I’ll have Little One making little cups and bowls in no time!! In fact, that’s a great idea.

After all the making before Christmas and the slurry from wp-image-455328090jpg.jpgthe wheel, my scraps tub was full and so the process of reclaiming began. That’s truly something I love about clay, there is so little waste.

I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I can make enough to do a biscuit firing and then two more glaze firings – one with the Mayco Foundation glazes, a low temp, and one using the Botz glazes, high temp. Although there’s no point just throwing anything in, it’d be nice if the kiln was full of things I wanted to make and give. In which case, it might be a while before the firings happen – but that’s ok. Good things come to those who wait!

Also, the second series of the Great Pottery Thrown Down starts this week! The contestants look a bit ‘cherry picked’ and seem to be far more experienced than amateurs.. but I’m looking forward to it all the same! For inspiration if nothing else.

PS over and out! Take care of each other xx

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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

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

Stamp, stamp, stamping

This past week at SB’s I decided I’d do something I’d been meaning to do for a long time, which is make a few large bowls! But seeing as I’m still getting to drips with glaze and not always achieving the effect I want, I decided to play around with stamps!

I have used stamps before, the one I made for example, but only occasionally. The actual stamp process is more difficult than it sounds as you have to apply even pressure and in a repetitive design, accurate placement. Too deep and the clay is compressed too much so that it extends out distorting the overall shape, too shallow and it will be lost under glaze.

As you can see with the triangles, I got a little impatient doing the geometric boarder for this bowl! But then again it was 10pm after a long day at work…

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I still have to decided on colours, but they’ll make great Christmas presents! They’ll have been fired this week so I’ll post the glaze results in a week or so.

Stay tuned!

PG x

Oh, hello!

Hello friends, hello.

Apologies for long gap between posts – PotterGirl has gotten herself a full time job, Little One is in Childcare and Beloved is doing just great. However while full time employment has meant we have more money coming in (yay!) it means less time for clay day to day (boo..).

Particularly when starting a job, things can take a while to settle and for new routines to start. I’m out of the house before it gets light and I’m back not long before it’s dark. Weekends are time to spend with Little One and Beloved, but I’m slowly getting back my evenings and a little time for clay at the weekend while Little One sleeps.

I’m also still visiting my favourite local ceramicist SB! Which is why I have a few photos of finished projects and one or two of a few things in the pipeline.

Also, I haven’t been able to get someone to look at my kiln yet, so things are still being fired at SBs rather than at home. Which is fine, but certainly slows up the process.. Mental note. Sort out kiln already!?

So here are a few items I’ve gotten back, in one piece thankfully! You’ll probably recognise most of them from earlier construction posts.

With the new work schedule things will be taking a while to complete, but there are still lots of projects to be working on! So please bare with me if there is a long time between posts – I am working away in the background and I will post as soon as I can! I’m on instagram and able to update that quicker so should you so wish,  please feel fee to follow me, @pmstrat

PG xx

Clay reclaiming complete! 

After leaving the clay to slake down for 24hrs and then laying it out about an inch or so thick over my home made wedging board, I left the clay to dry for 48hrs. I checked on the clay every few hours and I think somewhere between 36-48hrs is probably sufficient although I initially dried the clay outside and then under a lamp for a while. When I got up this morning the clay was a good viscosity in that it wasn’t wet to touch but wasn’t close to leather hard. I’d say it was damp to touch and my thumb left an impression easily in the clay without my thumb getting stuck or covered in clay! I hope that makes sense. 

I scraped the clay off the wedging board – this time I laid it on the canvas side but next time I think I’ll lay it out on the plaster side. The clay stuck to the canvas a little and from what I’ve seen on YouTube it should be able to come off in one piece on the plaster side. I wedged the clay a little on the plaster side and it stayed in one piece.

Overall from a 12.5kg bag or so of clay, I was able to reclaim 2kg! I’m really happy. Yes it’s a bit of work, but it’s part of the best thing about working with clay – you can reuse it! 

I am going to a throwing class tomorrow with the studio owner I first had a few classes with about 8-9months ago. He holds a throwing day, 10am-5pm in his studio for £70 which is much more reasonable than the 2hr one-to-one class for £60 I was considering in Hitchin! Other people were charging £100+ for a day. It’s madness.

Anyway I will write a post about throwing tomorrow after I’ve been to the studio! I will also get to work using the reclaimed clay this afternoon while Little One sleeps and see how that goes.

PG over and out x