Archive for the ‘Vessels’ Category

My plan to post all the stuff I made before class finished kind of fizzled out as you may have noticed. It’s hard not to be disheartened by the lack of a class and people making comments about education priorities like pottery was just an excuse for a middleclass social club. I agree that colleges need to be helping young people but community hobby classes aren’t a middleclass luxury – we had retired people, people with learning disabilities, and people who couldn’t work due to other health conditions who came, and it was an important opportunity for them to get out and spend time with people.  One of the lovely things about pottery is that everyone can do it.

Anyway, enough politics. I’ve been inspired to return by ‘Making Mondays’. It  originated with this post by Natalie of the Yarn Yard, although I heard about it through my knitting friends. She writes;

We all make things. We knit. We sew. We bake. We write. We paint. We make a home for ourselves and the people we love.

So I thought that we could, collectively, make Mondays our day for blogging about it.

So my plan is to (attempt to) post every Monday, we’ll see how it goes!

Today’s make is these thrown bowls, which perfectly illustrate one of the things I love about pottery – it can be pretty and practical! They are stoneware clay decorated with velvet underglazes and then clear glazed, and one of them has already graced my table holding homemade apple sauce when my partner & I had guests to dinner a few weeks ago.

Handpainted thrown stoneware bowls


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The bad news is that my college classes have fallen victim to the financial crisis so I’m missing my weekly clay fix until I find a new class. I do however, have a pile of pots, pendants, buttons and beads to post about so I guess that is better news for my readers (if I have any left by now, I’m such a bad blogger!).

I’ll start you off with these pots that I collected this afternoon in my final trip to college. I spent the last few weeks of term throwing in an effort to produce a whole bunch of different things fairly quickly, and also to practise my less than perfect centering technique. I glazed these slightly wonky pieces in blue-grey matt and albany because I’d never tried the two glazes together and thought they might work well. And they did, which is typical – if I’d put them on the least wonky pots, they wouldn’t have come out half as nicely!

Still, I think they look pretty good, although my photography hasn’t improved either :/

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Coilware vase

So finally, here is my coilware vase, lately referred to as the termite mound vase, in all its matt blue-grey glazed glory. Coilware is hand built using sausages of clay layered up and ‘glued’ with slip and then smoothed together. It’s an easy construction method to learn but getting a finished object that doesn’t look like a primary school child made it is harder than you’d think! I’ve made plenty of coilpots before now but they are all relegated to being plant pots or pen holders, this is the first one that is decorative enough to not need a function. The key was using the clay drier than usual – I was scared it would have air bubbles in it and explode when it was fired but the firmer material meant it wasn’t prone to sagging during construction and kept its shape better. I’m really pleased with the subtle ribbing and the textured glaze, it feels lovely as well as looking it, and I always think the best pottery makes you want to touch it.

If my experience of visiting Pot Fest is anything to go by, coilware isn’t an awfully common construction method among professional potters, I guess because it is so much more time consuming than throwing and therefore tends to be very expensive, but I was inspired by David Wright.

Vase by David Wright

It was a year or two ago that he had a whole bunch of coilware bottles on his stand at Pot Fest Scotland and he seems to have moved on to more rounded or abstract shapes in his latest work, but here’s a picture of the most similar design I could find on his website. You can see how my glazing was influenced by his style if not the shape.

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I finally got around to photographing my favourite of the rest of the raku pieces I made before the summer.

Multi-glaze, raku fired thrown pot

This little thrown pot is probably my favourite piece overall. I dipped the base in the white crackle glaze, the top in green glaze, and then dribbled several different coloured glazes down both the outside and inside of the pot. It came out all irridescent, and green and red, and coppery, with bits of the charred clay visible for contrast. My other favourite piece is this mask:

Hand built raku mask

It’s glazed with a mixture of white and clear crackle glaze and the copper-based glazes, with a lot of bare clay for contrast. I was slightly disappointed that the coloured glazes all reduced to just being coppery, but on the other hand, the crackle glazes, particularly the clear, came out really well. I also made some more stars (probably destined to be wall hangings), which actually show the different colours quite well (I got one to reduce to an irridescent colour rather than just copper!), and raku fired some of my press mould panels (click on the pictures for a full size view).

Raku fired press moulded panels

A range of raku glazes

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Hand painted vase

I have been very poor at keeping this blog up to date but it doesn’t help that this is the first time since last summer that I have had new finished pieces to show off! Making plaster moulds and then casting from them is a slow process with things needing to dry in between, so I don’t have those finished yet but I do finally have 2 pieces to show you:

This slip-cast vase (an undecorated one from my evening classes last year) is painted using velvet underglazes and then clear glazed over the top to give a smooth, glossy finish. The design is inspired by the celtic cross I saw in Ireland and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it when my press moulded plaques are finally finished, because I’ve also made a version of it as a plaster press mould.

Hand built friendship bowl

This is a hand-built bowl, thus the ‘rustic’ feel, which I’ve glazed in two different colours; I used Blues and Greens first and then dipped the rim in Norwegian Blue. I’m really pleased at how the glazes ran together and gave such a lovely colour variation and almost metallic, high shine finish.

Next week, I’ll be glazing the first of my wall plaques and casting a bowl from my new drape mould. I’ve also been learning new decorating techniques using slip and glazes. Maybe I’ll remember to take my camera to class with me next week and then I can show you works in progress; I might actually update every week that way!

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new_necklacesI’ve been busy making some wire-work and bead jewellery recently; shown here are the green & sliver bead set (necklace and bracelet) I’ve made for my Mum, a little heart and bead pendant, and a collar inspired by Native American jewellery which I made by pairing some wood-effect beads someone from my pottery class donated as she had no use for them, and some of my ‘harvest time’ crystal glazed beads. As promised, I’ve also got around toSmall goblet photographing my new smaller goblet design. This first one is glazed in transparent and albany stoneware. I love the albany glaze; it comes out almost irridescent, dark, dark shiny brown on its own, or a rich toffee colour over transparent, and I made use of both effects here.

Also new around here is a self-portrait of yours truly on the ‘About’ page, sporting my lovely ‘Emerald Clouds’ bead choker, which is probably my favorite of the jewellery pieces I’ve made so far.

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Things are a bit hectic around here because I have a short fulltime work contract just now but it’s the last pottery class of the term tonight so I’m off to collect the last of my crystal glazed beads and hopefully the stoneware pendants I’ve been waiting on for ages. I should also find out whether my experimental vessel, inspired by the gunpowder flasks of the musketeers at Edzel, has survived biscuit firing – *fingers crossed*

When I get chance, there will be photos of a new goblet design and some bead & wire-work jewellery for you to oogle, and my next project is catalogging all my pretties, photographing them individually, and trying out an online store or two to raise some money towards next term’s college fees. So watch this space!

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