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

 

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

Sharing is caring 

Evening all!

I wanted to share with you the results of some of my bowl stamping experiments. I am still getting frustrated by not getting glazes the way I want them, either in terms of coverage, colour or effect. It’s something I hope to work on in coming weeks.

For example the large floral  bowl I made didn’t, in my opinion, come out well. I painted blue glaze onto the flowers and poured on a white dipping glaze, but once in the kiln the blue smothered the flowers and the white pooled at the bottom giving a completely different effect to the rim. The centre of the bowl looked almost clear rather than white.

Perhaps this was a result of my pouring or applying too much blue glaze to the flowers, I don’t know.

The bowl with the geometric stamped rim came out much more even with the green dipping glaze (although still patchy in areas) and even a drip from another item in the kiln seems to have brought it to life. I wasn’t mad on the green glaze tester but actually it is my favourite of the bowls for colour.

I have another bowl to show but this one was done quite differently – I’ll explain more when I take some photos!

As ever I try to view my work as learning opportunities and here are definitely things to be learnt from these bowls.

Beloved looked at me last week and the piles of ceramic dishes piling up and so I selected a number of pieces to go to friends and family. It’s nice to think they have gone to good homes and are being used rather than sat gathering dust. Friends and family are so supportive and of course have a very different view of a pot compared to the potter. Whereas I see primarily imperfections, they might have a more positive overall impression. It feels good to share and sometimes we all need to little positivity and encouragement.

Some things in the pipeline are Christmas related goodies, more throwing practice, working with coloured slip and my big project… a dolls house for Little One!

Thanks for all the likes and comments, it feels great to receive them and I am always appreciative of advice and tips! 

Keep potting 

PG xx

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

First Bisque Firing… Uh Oh.

 

Last night I tried my first biscuit firing. I had made a few small egg cups, a mug and some tester discs for my glazes. Everything seemed ok and I was set for a 7 hour firing, including an extra hour on the dial. I was home and started the kiln low then ramped up slowly every hour at first then two hours. However when I went to check on the kiln at the 5th hour, the light was off and I couldn’t hear anything. It was still hot but I didn’t think it was working. I left it another hour and when I cam back the handle was cool enough to touch. Something had gone wrong!

I tried to turn the kiln on and off but nothing was responding. I checked the cone and it hadn’t bent at all, so it hadn’t gotten anywhere near 1000 oC. I’m guessing it’s something electrical.

It’s frustrating. I’m away this weekend and I’m not sure what to do. I could open it up, but I’m not sure what I’m looking for. SB said she has a good kiln guy, perhaps I’ll call him and see if he can diagnose whats wrong.

If anyone has any tips or knows of online resources to help diagnose kiln problems please let me know! The stumbling block I’ve come across is that it is an old kiln and most things online are far more modern. Mine doesn’t even have a programmer!

Frustrating! But the price you pay for a cheap second hand kiln I guess.

PG x

A few pieces, fresh from the kiln!

Hello!

I wanted to share a few photos with you of finished pieces. Often my posts are talking about the construction/formation process or ideas, but it isn’t so often I get to post about finished pieces. I won’t be going to SB’s studio for two weeks or so, so this morning I popped over to collect a few items I had recently glazed and that she had fired.

These pieces are more experimentations with shape, form and glaze. I slowly feel like I am getting the hang of the construction process but I am still getting to grips with glazing! Whereas I know roughly what colour items might be, it’s still difficult to decide upon what glazes or colours for different items.

Of the pieces that came back to me this week, I really like the consistency of the white glaze used on the bowls, egg cups and inside the star mugs and bowl. The tek moku glaze on the turquoise/light grey bowls created a really interesting effect too, although I think it might have had even more impact with a different coloured glaze.

 

The star mugs were actually glazed with a low temp blue and a high temp white and fired at high temp. I was really happy to see how clearly the stars came out and the even coverage of the blue glaze. I think the contrast between the blue and white is classic and effective, I particularly like the white on the inside I think it gives a more professional finish.

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Finally the white outside and turquoise/green inside bowls look great! Both glazes gave good coverage and the combination of colours is one I will definitely use again. It was interesting to see the different results depending on the shape of the rim (thin and pointed or thicker and rounded) and whether the green was taken right to the edge or the white brought in.

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Each time some pieces come back, I learn a few lessons and I feel that my next glaze decisions and techniques are better informed. Happy!

PG x