Category Archives: Work in progress

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo

I’m potting in the rain
Just potting in the rain
What a glorious feelin’……

Yes, it is August and it is raining…..joy! But I have been in the potting shed today for a mammoth throwing session….and it is good to be back on the wheel.

Full of ‘mountain inspiration’, I now have a selection of bowls, pots and mugs that are crying out for some creative glazing.  Newly invigorated with a 1970’s glaze book, I am determined to mix up some delights…..well, that’s the plan!

Also threw an absolute whopper of a bowl….assisted by my new friend…the hot air gun (liberated from the bottom of a box in the garage).  This enables you to dry the clay sufficiently, as you are going, so you can add new sections there and then without it collapsing, rather that waiting for a day for it to go cheese hard.  It was going so well, but then maybe I got a little ambitious and it flew off the wheel like Gene Kelly round a lampost.  I re-wedged the clay pronto so not to dwell on the demise of ‘bowl deluxe’ and turned it into something else…still made in sections….but not quite as large.  Know your limits!!!

Pots in the biscuit kiln too….interested to see what happens as I have made slips from the Maryport Slag and from clay collected from Stonycroft Ghyll.

Throwing the 'bowl deluxe'...just before it swung off the wheel and into my lap! It doesn't look that big in the picture....but you will have to believe me...it was massive.....

The reincarnation.....

The drying shelves were looking bare...not anymore....

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New creations brewing…

Whilst the kiln was firing in the garden, two new creations were brewing in the potting shed.  Easy to identify the first one, but I think the second draws inspiration from some of the wonderful knarled tree bark I have taken photos of recently.  It was not at all what I set out to make, that idea didn’t look right…..and this appeared instead…..like it.  Both are destined for the raku kiln.

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Getting into it….

The day in the potting shed didn’t get off to the speediest of starts.  I have a long list of things to make, but the old faithful distraction tactics began creeping in.  I kept finding more interesting things to make than the things I should have been making.

I now have a whole family of duck bums, no idea if this is what people at craft markets are interested in, but I have really enjoyed making them.

Got on to the wheel eventually, I have found the key is to use big balls of clay, it will all get recycled in the pug mill, so it’s not being wasted.  Technique is much improved when you have more to work with.  Thinking though that the clay needs to be softer, I had to wrestle with it to get it centred, wet clay up to my arm pits….nice, good job only Flo watching. I am really looking forward to the throwing workshop this weekend and hoping that 2 full days of throwing will really improve my skills and make throwing pots on the wheel much less of an ordeal.

Biscuit kiln packed and ready for firing tomorrow…..there is a possibility that I may be ahead of schedule…..more by luck than judgement though.

Small Jar - Very chuffed at throwing the beveled rim

Salt Pig

The clue is in the name....'Salt Pig'....why not ears...and tail?

Duck Bum Family

Small...oh, only needs 2 feet!

Medium

Large

Duck bum Colander....a step to far??!!

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Day 1 – Production…….

Having taken great strides and booked a table at the Odiham Craft Fair, I have swung into full production today.  The aim being to produce smaller items suitable for this event.  It started well on the wheel, 3 colanders, 2 mugs, a custard jug, 2 small biscuit barrels…..but as the day went on, I slid back into my comfort zone of bizarre creations….  Ended the day with a house sign, I have been meaning to make for ages……all we need now is a house to put it on (is currently a bungalow)…..Oh and it is too big for the biscuit kiln too, so need to work that out too.

More focus on the end goal is required for tomorrow.

Started well.....

Mini biscuit barrels....just need woolly hat lids now

Pitcher (this was already made, just added funky handle, spout and rim)

House Sign (mad cycling fanatic lives there!)

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“What is the crazy pot woman doing now?!”

…..well, I don’t need a squirrel questioning my antics…..I’m quite capable of wondering this myself sometimes.

I have been trying to recreate a vessel seen in an old version of Daniel Rhodes’ book on Kilns, given to me by pottery guru friend Desmond.

It was a picture of someone loading a large brick built kiln and on top of the car were these wonderfully shaped pots.  I know understand them to be rhubarb forcers, which is a bit of a coincidence considering my involvement with rhubarb lately.  Anyway, this is not a rhubarb forcer, I certainly don’t need any help with that, but an interpretation of the form.  I have coated the outside with the black slip I made a few weeks ago, but with the addition of silicon carbide.  I read something a while ago that mentioned silicon carbide slip and thought I would give it a try.  The desired result is a textured volcanic finish, once the silicon carbide reacts with the glaze on the glost firing. So, watch this space and let’s see what happens……

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Duck Bowl

New desgin, just a duck bowl this time, no bum.  He does still have 3 feet though.  How else would he stand up?!

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Harbour ‘Slip’

So, I have a lunch box full of clay from our trip to Chichester Harbour the other weekend. I’ve got no idea what will happen to it when it is fired, it could disintigrate, flop, burn away…..explode!  It will have a high salt content, so I am hoping for something interesting.

Salt fumes have a dramatic effect on clay under heat, the sodium acts as a flux and reacts with the silica in the clay body, enhancing it’s colour.  At high temperatures, over 1280°C (2350°F), salt becomes an active vapour throughout the kiln interior.  This coats and corodes the elements in an electric kiln because a dilute form of hydrochlic acid is given off as a vaporous by-product.

I have made a couple of test pieces, which I will fire in Desmond’s gas kiln.  One simple pinch pot and one stoneware body covered with a slip made from the dug up clay……

Stoneware body, with Harbour Slip

Pinch Pot...eyes off that flapjack in the background. (not made by me....I only deal with making things out of mud!!)

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