Porcelain bowls

small porcelain bowl with red, black and blue glazes. Approximately 5-7 cm diameter.

small porcelain bowl with red, black and blue glazes. Approximately 5-7 cm diameter.

A collection of small porcelain bowls.

A collection of small porcelain bowls.

Put the flags out! I am now officially a full time ceramicist/potter. After 19 years nursing locally, of which, nearly 13 years with Bpas.

My leaving do was last night. I made some little porcelain bowls for the great team I have worked with.

 

I have been experimenting with a different way of glazing. They have just splashes and brushes of three different glazes and the rest of the clay is left unglazed. These have been fired to 1240 degrees celsius ( I may fire them higher next time).

I am making more now in different sizes as well as these little ones.

New mugs

These mugs are a commission.  The shape was described with hand gestures to suggest cradling a warm cup of tea.

Not much to go on, but I understood the concept. I then just made shapes on the wheel to fit my imaginings of what was wanted.

Black and white glaze was requested. I don’t use a glossy black, but I do use a  warm black/brown on my figurative sculptures and so decided to try that.

The client was really happy. That is a big relief and also a real pleasure to have got it right.

new mugs

work to do

Good Friday and it’s a beautiful Spring Day. I am taking a week off, so was just checking everything in the studio is safe to leave.

unfired figure just drying out

unfired figure just drying out

porcelain bowls

small porcelain bowls waiting to bisque

bisqued work for glazing

bisqued work for glazing

new pitchers

new pitcher shapes drying.

I can leave things at this stage and a week off will give me time to think of how to glaze these, as well as time to sketch new ideas. I will have plenty to do when I get back to the studio!

We’re on Vimeo

Earlier in the year Richard was approached by film maker Tom Hartwell.  He suggested making a short film of us at work, as he was putting together some films on crafts. Never ones to say no to something new, we agreed.

A meeting was held to decide what and how we were going to film and to map every step of the process. We spent a cold but sunny day in February with Tom following our every move as we made and fired hares.

It was surprisingly enjoyable.  I certainly felt very self-conscious to start with, but Tom was excellent at his job. I can’t say that I forgot he was there, but apart from when he put the camera right up close, it was not intimidating.

This is the finished result which he has entered into a craft film festival.

Good luck to him.

Demonstration this Friday

We set up the exhibition at the Upstairs Gallery in Berkhamsted today. It is looking good. Peter’s lovely landscapes and portraits on the wall and the ceramics of Chantal, Chris, Jeremy, Richard and I around the gallery. The exhibition starts tomorrow, February 16th.

Richard and I will be demonstrating  this Friday, February 19th, from 10am for a couple of hours. We will be making some of our Raku animals. Peter Keegan will also be demonstrating his painting skills. Hope to see some of you there.

Upstairs gallery poster

Chinstrap penguins

These Chinstrap penguins were made for SOTA Gallery in Witney  (www.sotagallery.co.uk).

chinstrap penguin heads

Variations in crackle on these penguins from the same firing.

It is always interesting approaching a new sculpture idea. Photographs are used for reference, but the main thing is to capture some character in the animal. As each one is completely uniquely made, it is great fun to play with the pose and expression as the sculpture progresses. They start on the wheel as an enclosed cylinder, After the clay has dried a little, they are shaped and the head, feet, and wings added. It is getting the head and beak right that gave these fellas their character.

penguin group 4

The one on the far right looks like it might be in charge of this lot!

Richard and I both made these. Can you tell who made which penguin?

Pepper

I inherited  a plaster mould from a friend, Sara Johnson, who died a year ago. She was known for her slip cast earthenware fruit and vegetables.

stoneware glazes press moulded pepper

stoneware glazes press moulded pepper

I wanted to use the mould, but experiment with my clay and glazes. I press-moulded the pepper and used stoneware glazes. It is more difficult to glaze the bottom as you cannot use stilts in a stoneware firing so easily.

It is different and it was fun to try. I am not sure I am happy with the base being unglazed.

Eggnog commission

Commissions are always a challenge. In this case I was commissioned to make a set of eggnog cups.

The brief was quite specific.  There is always the worry of whether the finished piece or pieces will live up to expectations not just from me but from the person who has placed the commission. When the colours are specified, as they were here, there is the difficulty of knowing whether the glazes will do as expected in the firing. Glazing always has an element of unpredictability. Opening the kiln is like Christmas- sometimes you are over the moon and sometimes it is a disappointment.

These cups were dipped twice to make a diagonal line with two different glazes. Fortunately, or I should say, as planned, the colours came out well.

Eggnog for Christmas – delicious!

6d_MG_3366

Eggnog cups, approx. 6 cm high

 

Christmas Event in Amersham on the Hill

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Micro penguins. Raku fired smaller penguins.

This Saturday (5th December) Amersham Artisans are taking part in the Christmas fun at Amersham-on-the Hill. We will be in St Michael’s Church from 10-6pm. There are some talented local artists showing their work such as jewellery, textiles, photography, metal art, glass, and much more.

The high street will be pedestrians only and there will also be a number of outdoor stalls and activities, including ice skating, carols and switching on the Christmas Tree lights.

Brighton mugs

Brighton mugs

I have made a few items with a Christmas feel, but there will also be the usual animals, bowls, mugs and jugs. Richard and Alice are enjoying the Christmas markets of Bruges this weekend, so Chris may need to be persuaded to lend a hand.

Click on the smaller images to view at full size.

Cheeky micro chicks

Cheeky micro chicks