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

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

 

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