It’s great to get something finally finished! This was a vase I hand built, inspired by the markets of Phnom Penh. It was my first time using under glazes and I think the results are mixed… some very patchy, some uneven, some look ok, some look great! Some areas were painted with different types of glaze, which seem to be more effective and consistent than the under glazes. I think on close inspection the glaze reveals the inconsistencies, but the overall effect is better!
Inspired by the techniques of this vase, I used the circular decorations on two thrown items, a bowl and a vase. I think the glaze for these will be much simpler, perhaps a glaze that changes colour with different textures.
I’ll put up the results when they’re ready!
As I was throwing this morning I started thinking about studio/home pottery. From the beginning I have always referred to myself as a home potter. When I first began to work with clay I didn’t know the history or significance of ‘studio pottery’ and it is something I am still learning about.
I looked up studio pottery on wikipedia:
Studio pottery is pottery made by professional and amateur artists or artisans working alone or in small groups, making unique items or short runs. Typically, all stages of manufacture are carried out by the artists themselves. Studio pottery includes functional wares such as tableware, cookware and non-functional wares such as sculpture. Studio potters can be referred to as ceramic artists, ceramists, ceramicists or as an artist who uses clay as a medium.
But what then is the difference between a studio potter and what I have called a ‘home potter’?
Yes I work alone and complete all stages of production myself and my items are usually unique or very short runs. Am I a studio potter then? I guess the biggest difference is the fact that I do not have a permanent studio space. I work almost entirely from home, in short and often sporadic bursts, and have to clear up and tidy away everything!
The photo below is a typical scene when I’m working at home – vinyl fabric down to catch slurry splashes, an old ikea shelf for holding wedged clay and vessels drying, newspaper, an old milk carton for water, my tabletop Shimpo on a stool and normal life paraphernalia in the background – in this case, namely the pram!!
Perhaps I am a studio potter, but I feel the term ‘home potter’ better reflects my work environment. When I finally get my dream shed with kiln, drying space, work surfaces, glazes… when I finally reach that dream, then and only then will I call myself a studio potter!
Morning! Monday is here again.
Over the weekend while beloved was watching the Euros I was busy with my first attempt at making my chess set. I used my 6mm rolling guides to roll out a slab and then cut out rectangles for the pawn pieces. 6mm was far too thick so I rolled down to 4mm which was much better and went on re-cutting my shapes! I used the handle of a wooden spoon to shape the pieces into cylinders but after getting 10 or so done, the difference between the pieces was far more than the uniformity and so I scrapped them. I actually thought at the time that I will have to change my design as little cylinders were proving very tricky to get uniform. (I’m not aiming for perfection but there does need to be some continuity in height / thickness).
I thought about making solid pieces or hollowing out lumps of clay.. nothing really seemed more effective. Then I thought – I can make one long cylinder around the wooden spoon and cut pieces from this! And.. It worked!
I’ve made a few spares but these are my pawns and rooks (rooks need some shaping still) but I’m well chuffed!
There is a fair bit more to do but now I have a method that works, creating the basic forms isn’t too bad!
As little one napped this afternoon I thought I’d continue on with my teapot. What had originally started out as a sphere, after cutting the triangular lid, I decided a triangular shape might be better. The sphere was saggy in the middle and the lid hole wasn’t sitting right in the centre after I had finished trying to save it from collapsing, so I thought a triangular shape might be good. I began trying to cut a foot out and before long as I was trying… Trying! To make the sphere more triangular (with limited success) I realised if I wanted a triangular shape, slab building would give me much better edges, flatter surfaces and cleaner lines. So I scrapped it.
It felt quite good!
I guess that is the beauty of clay.
And I am learning my art, there was no need for me to desperately salvage the teapot.
On the other hand (ha!) the joining of handle and cup went much better than expected! I started to make my own slip over the weekend and actually, after scratching the surfaces and applying a little slip – I thought it went rather well!
I have purchased some rolling guide sticks and a few bits and bobs from Scarva.com (I’ll write a review once I receive them!) so I will wait till they arrive to continue with the slab rolling and then be able to progress with the teapot and other things I have in mind.
Sorry teapot, but Woohoo handle!