52 inspirational photos – week 30

Speedwell.

speedwell

made with Chip it!

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Doors and windows are in

The windows and doors are in now, it’s starting to take shape.
studio

studio

You might be wondering why I chose PVC windows and doors when the building is all wood. Well there was a significant difference in price and I had to keep it in my budget, but mainly the reason is down to weather proofing, we get driving rain and strong winds which means windows and doors sometimes rain in, so we want them as water tight as possible.

We are now waiting for the insulation and plasterboard to go up, hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

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Kintsugi- a Japanese technique for mending ceramics

Kintsugi is a Japanese technique for mending broken ceramics using gold, the mended piece becoming more beautiful than it was before it was broken.  Kintsugi my way uses china painting products and kiln firing to 780C.

Because of the character of my lamp base I decided to use I- relief which is textured. I would have chosen enamel if I had wanted a smooth mend.

The I relief was mixed with waterbased medium and a few drops of water as I want it to dry.

kintsugi with I relief

I mixed the paste quite stiffly as I needed to fill and stay in the crack.
mixing I reliefI taped the crack inside the lamp base and more or less pressed the paste into the crack.
kintsugi repair

I thought I might have to repeat the process to build up the filler but this wasn’t necessary. After firing you can see the texture which adds to the piece.
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I then applied liquid platinum and fired again.
kintsugi repairI think it does add something extra to my lamp,  I love it , imperfections just add to it’s beauty in my eyes.
kintsugi

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Using overglaze enamels to alter the colour of ceramic pieces

If you follow my blog you will have seen my lamp base and coasters that I made, but I  the pale green colour of the glaze wasn’t right for my room so I decided to use overglaze enamels to make them more blue grey. Then it occurred to me that this was worthy of a blog post as it’s a technique that could be useful to others working with ceramics.

pebble coasters
P1160101However it will only really work on a light coloured glaze and / or clay

I decided to mix the enamel powder with an open oil based medium, this means the enamel doesn’t dry so it can be smoothed and blended easily.

The enamel was mixed with the medium using a palette knife, to a toothpaste consistency. I used a large brush, conditioned with oil and blotted out. You have to paint as dry as possible or the paint will run in the kiln. If you can see an oily shine on your painted area you are using too much oil, it should look quite dull if you are using the right amount of oil.

overglaze enamel

I wanted to keep some ‘sky holes’ as Bob Ross called them so I applied the paint in a cross hatch manner leaving gaps, and not worrying too much about brush strokes. To paint quite dry you have to pull the paint out and spread it with the brush. You get a feel for this with a little practice.

ceramics overglazeThen I smoothed out the paint with the fan brush, and quoting Bob Ross again, ” two hairs and some air” LOL!
porcelain  paintingI did repeat this process again with another shade of blue as I decided it needed to be a little brighter. Then the piece was fired to 780C with a 5 minute soak, this is much lower than a qlaze firing but as you can see I’ve created the desired look, it’s more blue than before.

hand built lamp

fossil pebble coasters

You can read about overglaze painting techniques in my teaching pages.

 

 

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Bringing the countryside inside with my ceramic lamp base and coasters.

cow parsleyI decided to make some ceramic pieces for my new bedroom, I wanted to bring the countryside inside. I love cow parsley, even before it was everywhere in the craft world I was painting it. I picked some on a walk up the lane and now it’s nice and dry ready to use.

I have a thing about pressing plant material into clay, or fusing it in glass, preserving it for ever, like making a fossil. So I thought why not make pebble shaped coasters for the bedside cupboards. Then I thought why not make a lamp too, a straight tube shaped lamp base couldn’t be too difficult, could it?

 

A lot of cursing later I had a wonky hand built lamp. Bone china isn’t the easiest clay for a beginner, and I started making mid afternoon and I was working with wet clay, so I was up working late into the night. I was impatient and I almost lost the piece a couple of times. Note to self don’t pick it up until it’s leather hard.
hand built ceramic lamp base

The pieces were left to dry for quite some time, and I kept turning the lamp and covered it with plastic but still it  cracked on a stem, so I made a repair and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, the crack  opened up on firing, but actually I like it.
cracked lamp base

So you are now wondering why I  like my cracked lamp base.

Well I like the idea of beauty in imperfections and I was quite taken by something I found on the internet the other day, where the Japanese artisan potter would mend pots or fill cracks with gold giving the ceramic piece more beauty than it would have if it was perfect. This technique is called Kintsugi.

I could do this to my piece using raised paste or I relief if I wish, but more about the technique in another post, first I had to glaze my ware.

I was going to just use a translucent coloured glaze but the character of the piece was telling me to use stains applied in a wet painterly way at the bottom, fired, then I applied some clear glaze and fired.
P1160098
kiln fired art lamp base
cow parsley lamp
cow parsley coastersAnd here they are after firing.
cow parsley coasters

kiln fired art

cow parsly lampI do like these pieces as they are but the colour isn’t right for my bedroom, I had used a little bit of green stain with some grey stain but they are just too green, so out came the china paints, that’s another post along with my Kintsugi technique, but here are my finished pieces, I love them and they are perfect for my bedroom.
hand built lamp

handmade lamp

fossil pebble coastersOh, just in case you are wondering why there are three coasters, that’s all the clay I had left, and I only need two.

 

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52 inspirational photos – week 29

Crocosmia Lucifer.
Crocosmia Lucifer

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Topping out and first fix electrics

The roof is finished, all the shingles are on, and the first fix electrics are in. I’m starting to sound like Kevin McCloud!
P1160123

first fix electrics in the studio

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