I had a raku glaze firing this week and it reinforced my love for the raku process. What really gets me is no matter how many Raku firings I’ve done I always find something wonderful and unexpected, like each time is the first time.
I need new experiences in my craft and raku has a way of its own which fulfills that need. I do everything exactly the same as the previous time, same clay, same glaze, same temperature, same reduction bin process but results are rarely the same and there lies the wonderment and excitement for me.
So I started thinking about what could be different if I look deeper, glaze thickness could vary, rate of heating, air temperature when they come out of the kiln, combustible materials, temperature and amount of oxygen in the reduction bin.
Fish glazed the same way as 100’s before but this time some have a yellow green colours.There were a few new pieces too including cosmic hares and wrens. Also a few hearts and trinket dishes and pendants. And leaves of course. These have all made their way into my Etsy shop Kiln Fired Art. If you would like to see little videos of how the colours change in the light ( you just can’t capture this in a photo) then follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
I’ve made the decision to open up my Etsy and Folksy shops again. At some point things have to start to return to ‘normal’ what ever that is now. Things will probably be this way for the foreseeable future and we/ I have to get on with our lives at some point. I have to say planning a trip to the Post Office gave me a sleepless night wondering what the best time and route are to avoid people, I could quite happily stay a recluse, I think a lot of us feel that way.
At the start of the year I made an action plan to take my business forward in 2020, listing everything I needed to make over the summer months to keep me stocked up until the following January. This plan has now gone to pot, like many creative people I have struggled with creativity and making at this time.
What I decided was just do a little bit when I felt up for it, for example I went to tidy the studio , looked at a bag of clay and made a few pieces, much nicer to do than tidy up. I walked around the garden saw the smoke bush had leaves so I did a bit of ecoprinting, and so on.
I have reopened my shop mainly with little gift ideas, like flat hanging leaves which can go in the post box and can be sent direct to a loved one to let them know you are thinking of them. Silk scarves, send to a friend, or Mum with a note from you included in the package.
I made some small fused glass light catchers, I used to make lots of these, they are made with recycled glass they are environmentally friendly . Another small gift that will go through the letterbox and put a smile on someones face.
I have plans to make some small stitched pieces as well as some small artworks so hopefully they will make it into my shop before too long, I’m doing a little when I feel up for it and keeping it fun. There’s lots of raku fish and wall art leaves to list too but all in good time, I’m just going with the flow and easing in gradually for now.
For the past month I haven’t felt able to do any ceramic work, however this week I decided to tidy up the studio . When I got in there I thought it would be a shame not to capture in clay some of the spring plants flowering in my garden. After all I would have to wait ’til next year for them to flower again. So instead of tidying I have just dabbled with the clay each day, no mass production just a few little things each day.
There are tiles with brunnera, perennial forget me not, ransoms, bluebells, sloe blossom and lungwort. I tried primroses and violets but they didn’t print very well.
There’s a few hearts and trinket dishes too.
While tidying up I came across some tools that I haven’t had the chance to use, one is for making handles. I’m rubbish at pulling a handle. So I decided to throw a couple of mugs and get to grips with handles. These look much better than any handles I’ve made before.
I made a lidded trinket box, the lid and box are made in one piece.
I’ve had an idea playing in my head for a while now but I will save that for another post, I made the ‘canvas’ which I intend to paint on it once fired, more then.
For now pottering is enough. Stay safe and well.
It’s been a busy week, making new stock each day and now I am running out of drying space.
So what have I made besides the snowdrop ceramics featured in my last post?
There are raku fish, including the ever popular mackerel and sprats, also some tropical fish including clown fish. There’s raku hanging leaves and ceramic soap dishes and trinket dishes made from stoneware clay.
These all need to be left to dry before bisque firing, then they will be glazed and fired again so it will be a few weeks before they make it into my shops. I’ve no space left to make anything more so I can have a little rest and plan some new work.
It’s time to get back to work after a much needed break this month, however the snowdrops are out and they won’t last long so I’ve got a production line going making snowdrop themed ceramic hearts, ceramic ring dishes, and snowdrop tiles to hang on the wall. These items would be lovely gifts for Mother’s Day, or birthday’s or little thank you gifts.
Here they are as works in progress, they have to dry out before they are bisqued, then coloured and fired again before they are ready.
There are a few cow parsley ceramic tiles and some pulmonaria ones too. Working with the seasons means I have to work with what’s available.
I do love how these delicate snowdrop flowers transfer to the clay, like a fossil, they will last for ever.
I don’t know about you but we are so busy at this time of year that sometimes we leave buying presents to the last minute. I have lots of items in my shop all ready to ship. Orders can be posted first class up to the 20th December for UK delivery.
If you would like it shipped to the recipient I can do that for you too, just add a note and the recipient’s address.
I have some plans that I’ve hinted at over the past couple of weeks. I’ve decided it’s time to give up selling my work through shops and galleries and slow down a bit.
Time is the most precious thing we have and I never seem to have enough. I have deliberated over this all year wondering what changes I should make. I’ve decided that it’s time for me to slow down my pace of work. I will still run my business, selling online but I need to relax the pace and find more time for other things in my life. I still have fells to climb and places to see before the old knees give out.
Of course it goes without saying I will always be making and probably selling.
It’s time to try out all those techniques, and new media that I have wanted to try but can never find the time.
I am looking forward to the changes, my first action once Christmas is over will be to make a list of all the things I have wanted to try making but they have just been pushed aside as I never find the time. Firstly there will be more textile art, and I want to explore different methods for ceramic surface decoration. Then there’s the tools and materials that I have bought but not used much like lino cutting tools and a punch needle. I bought a printer to make my own decals, but I have only tried it once. Then there are all the art and craft books with techniques that I need to try out as well as ideas in my head for makes that have never come to anything.
Exciting and relaxed times are ahead I’m sure, I think I will have lots of fresh ideas to share on my blog next year, I’m looking forward to it. That’s how this blog started, it was about sharing my experiments.
I don’t seem to have any photos to add to this post so I will leave you with the contents of a parcel I got in the post today from Bath potters, it contains pattern rollers, a wooden tool and a green rib. China clay and some stains. I plan to make some wall plaques using multiple techniques including drawing with ceramic pastels but first I need to make the pastels. Now I just have to work out how you fit the rollers onto the handle tool.
The weather forecast was good so we decided it was time to fire the rest of my raku pieces. The morning was bright and crisp with a thick white frost crunching underfoot. The sheep in the adjacent field seemed reluctant to rise but eventually as the sun came over the fells they rose leaving bare patches where they had been lying. With a start like this I just knew it was going to be a good day.
We wrapped up warmly and once the sun came round to the garden it was the perfect day to raku.
There were leaves, lots of copper colour this time. I do wonder why you seem to get a lot of one colour effect in a firing but there are so many variables.
There were lots of fish.
This spotty one is rather textured, I thought of firing it again but I like it as it is.
Trinket dishes too.
Phases of the moon with moon gazing hares, these got snapped up when I made the last lot. I have some more but I’m waiting for some cord to arrive. Shout up if you want one as they aren’t on Etsy yet. I hope to have everything else listed in my shop by the time this blog post goes live.
Then I will get my notebook out and start planning for 2020. Changes are afoot for next year, but more later…….
P.S. I will have more work to add to my shop next week so come and have a look next Sunday and I’ll tell you about some of my plans for next year.