Ceramic Wall Art in time for Christmas!

We braved the cold weather earlier this week to have a raku firing. It was cold but bright and most importantly there was little wind, which helps the firing process, but also we managed to stay warm.

I had lots of small fry to fire, about 80 in total. It’s a bit fiddly lifting them in and out of the kiln so I tried some on a bead rack. Unfortunately they didn’t get enough flame in the combustion bucket so I went back to firing them individually.

Raku ceramicsNext came the mackerel, if you remember last time a lot of these cracked, this time we cooled the kiln down more between firings and went very slowly in heating up and they were fine.

Raku ceramicsI made a hanging hare as an experiment, I was concerned about the ears and feet breaking but they didn’t.  I felt the hare could be blacker so it was cold painted just to get the dark really dark. I think it worked well, now I have other ideas brewing.
Raku ceramics

I was asked if I made butterflies so I did 🙂

Raku butterflies

I used some new glaze combinations on the fat fish, I love these, it’s  going to be hard to part with them but they have gone into my shop. I will be making more of these soon.

Raku ceramicsAnd of course I can’t  have a raku firing without making more leaf wall art. I never tire of making these leaves and I love the way each one is unique. There will be another raku day tomorrow then I  will get some leaves and bowls listed. The hare and butterfly have now sold so I will have to get cracking and make some more.

Busy busy 🙂

 

 

 

 

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More Raku Ceramics

I’m still adding raku pieces to my Etsy shop, I thought you might like a look too.

I have to say I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to my raku pieces, I find myself just standing staring at them, I could happily keep them all.

There have been some gorgeous leaves, click on the images to find out more.
raku leaf

copper leaves wall art

raku leaf

This one has some amazing colours. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a video of this one.

leaf wall art

And here’s a selection of my raku bowls and ring dishes.

raku pots

green copper raku bowl

raku ceramic bowls

Raku bowl

heart ring dish

This one will be difficult to part with, the inside reminds me of a starry sky and the outside looks like a landscape.
landscape bowl

raku bowl

raku bowl

I do get to keep some, my cracked pot collection is growing. Every cloud and all that 🙂

Raku bowls from Kiln Fired Art

Enjoy your day 🙂

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Art Elements October Challenge – Petroglyphs

This month’s Art Elements theme challenge is petroglyphs. My mind immediately went back to just a few days ago, to the Banksy ‘petroglyph’ in the British Museum which I had read about. I have to say it put a big smile on my face. I hope you enjoy seeing it too if you haven’t already seen it.

Then I got to thinking about Neolithic and Bronze age rock art in the UK, which is mostly cup and ring art. There are some great images here

I like the idea of making a garden sculpture with cups and rings and little connecting channels so water can flow between them. Maybe just rainwater and over time the ‘rock’ would weather and maybe grow mosses and lichens. But I have little time this month so I need to keep this challenge simple, I don’t want to do what happened last month and run out of time.

A couple of weeks ago I visited a stone circle at Castlerigg, I always take visitors there as it’s such an amazing place and I enjoy their reactions to the site. So I thought I’d look on the internet and see if there were any petroglyphs on the stones. I saw some visible lines in the rock but I didn’t see any obvious carvings, only contemporary graffiti. The University of Durham have done some 3D scanning of one of the stones which shows a vanishing spiral carved in the rock.

Next I had to explore the rock art carvings of Northumberland, the county of my birth. I do remember seeing some when we were out on family picnics. They are all quite simple but I like that, it confirmed my decision to work with cups, rings and connecting channels.

I think I have a plan!

Bear in mind I don’t have a lot of time just now so my original plan of making a water feature for the garden became a plan for another day 🙂

Looking at the petroglyphs on these websites I started thinking of points and adjoining lines, a bit like join the dots. Then I thought about a join the dots shopping trolly, thanks to Banksy; which took my thoughts to the Plough and other constellations, as a child I used to look at the Plough from my bedroom window and always thought it was a pan and not a plough.

I made some balls of clay and pressed them between my palms to make pebbles which I would decorate with petroglyphs of the constellations, and on others I’d carve some rings and press in to make cup marks. Sorry I forgot to take photos.

My pebbles were bisque fired, then tumbled to give them a lovely smooth feel.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Then I connected the dots with china paints and fired again.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

I am going to use my pebbles as scent carriers for room and drawer fresheners . Hopefully I can keep those pesky moths out of my woollens. I think lavender oil works well for keeping moths away but I will have to check.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Now I’m heading over to Art Elements to see what everyone has made 🙂

Guest Artists:
Jill Egan: https://kilnfiredart.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams: http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog
Alison Herrington: http://AlisonAdorns.blogspot.com
Alysen: http://chicchixnchampagne.blogspot.com
Sarajo Wentling: https://sjdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
Jenny Kyriach: http://anafiassa.blogspot.com
CraftyHope: http://CraftyHope.com
Kathy Lindemer: https://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt: http://www.lesleywatt.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor: https://jdaviesreazor.com
Cathy Spivey Mendola: http://cmendola.blogspot.com
Sue Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Caroline Dewison: http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk
Laney Mead: https://laney-mead.blogspot.com/
Marsha Neal Minutella: http://blog.marshanealstudio.com
Claire Fabian: https://saraccino.blogspot.com

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Out and about in Sorrento

I was planning on posting some new raku pieces today but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

We were in Italy last week, I had planned some work for my return, I got lots of bisque firing done so I could finish the glaze firing when I got home. What I didn’t plan on was catching a virus and feeling rotten, so not much work has been achieved this week.

We had an amazing time so I thought I’d share some photos over the next couple of posts, and hopefully they will be interspersed with some new work posts too.

I have wanted to go to Sorrento since I got my first job at 17 but my friend had to cancel so we didn’t go.

First thing I usually do on holiday is head for the sea. This is Marina Piccolo, just to confuse it’s the larger harbour.

Sorrento 2018

Vesuvius dominates every view along the coastline.

Sorrento 2018

There’s a lot of steps down, but there is a lift too.

Sorrento 2018

Next it was time to explore the streets, once you leave Corso Italia the streets become very narrow, very bustling and vibrant with beautiful small shops offering passers by samples of lemoncello, chocolates and biscuits. There are gorgeous leather shops, and the cake shops can’t be ignored, cannoli and lemon delice were my favourites.

Sorrento 2018

These narrow streets, called ‘The Drains’ were laid out by the Romans.

Sorrento 2018

Sorrento 2018

Sorrento 2018

In the evening everything takes on quite a different look

Sorrento 2018

With lots of al fresco dining.

Sorrento 2018

Intarsia woodwork, such intricate work.

Sorrento 2018

This restaurant is well named, it was certainly a favourite of ours. Owned by the same family since 1868, it’s famous for being the place where cannelloni was invented.

Sorrento 2018

It may not look much from the curb but it’s a rabbit warren inside , and it has the most beautiful garden where you can dine amongst the lemon trees.

Sorrento 2018

Of course we had to try the cannelloni 🙂

Sorrento 2018

I think you could spend at least a week exploring Sorrento, finding new places.

Sorrento 2018

It took us ’til the end of the week to discover Marina Grande, the old (small 🙂 ) fishing harbour where I watched the fishermen unloading a catch.

Sorrento 2018

And whenever I’m at the coast I have to look for inspiration and have a paddle. I will show my inspiration pix in another post later.

IMG_2887

Enjoy your Sunday.

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My favourite stone circles

I was working on my Art Elements challenge piece last week , which is inspired by petroglyphs. This got me thinking about the stone circles I have visited in different places in the UK.

Let me start with the most famous stone circle Stonehenge,  it is impressive but it’s  not my favourite stone circle. Maybe it’s to do with the location which doesn’t have the wow factor of some other sites I’ve been to.
stone circles

Avebury is the largest stone circle in the world, it’s older than Stonehenge. We we visited one misty Autumn morning, the place certainly had a spiritual feel. I can’t find my pictures of Avebury but that doesn’t really matter because the circle is so big it encompasses the village and is best viewed from the air, you can see an aerial view and find out more about it here. 

The Callanish stone circle on the Isle of Lewis is probably one of the oldest stone circle in the UK, estimated to be 5,000 years old. It’s my favourite stone circle, it feels intimate, with tall slender stones set in a beautiful location.

stone circles
This is the view from the circle.
P1320032

The stone circle with probably the most impressive location is Castlerigg stone circle, it’s surrounded by the fells of the Lake District, which form a natural amphitheatre. Castlerigg is an early Neolithic stone circle.

stone circles

The stones aren’t large but the location makes up for that. There is a rather unusual feature, a rectangular area marked out within the circle, we can only imagine it’s use.
stone circles

A video to show the circle in it’s beautiful  setting. Click on the image, then play , if it takes you to my Flickr page.

castlerigg

I have a bit of a thing for stone circles, I’ve found an online list of stone circles, I think Long Meg will be one to visit fairly soon.

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New Ikebana Bowls and Succulent Planters

I have ceramic pieces drying all over the studio, they all need to be bisque fired, glazed and fired again before I can get them in my shop.

I have changed my production method slightly, the bowl part is wheel thrown then the top is hand built. It’s easier for me as my wrists prefer throwing to rolling clay.

Untitled

I made some more of the ever popular ‘Ella’s Doily’ succulent planters which can also be used as as an ikebana bowl. I do love making pieces that have more than one use. It seems to make sense doesn’t it.

Who was Ella? She was a lovely lady who I knew from my childhood and who lived next door to my friend in later life. She must have loved to crochet, she had some lovely doilies and cloths.  I think she would be smiling knowing what they are used for now.UntitledI think this new hosta leaf style ikebana bowl come succulent planter is my favourite, each one is unique, as they are all made from different leaves. The leaf only lasts for one imprint just now as they are starting to die back and become fragile. I will have to wait ’til spring to make more. I like the fact my ceramic art is governed by the seasons.

Untitled

I haven’t tested glazes out on this clay yet,  I’d hate to have these go ‘pear shaped’ in the glazing process so I will have to be patient and test out some glaze colours soon. So now I need to make some ceramic jewellery components in the same clay.

It’s all go!

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Making Ceramic Leaf Art

It’s been a busy week,  I have been putting stock together for topping up a gallery as well as making new work, and listing pieces on Etsy. At times I feel I could do with an extra pair of hands but then I tell myself to chill a bit and enjoy the season. I hove this time of year, seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

I have sets of leaves to follow in a couple of weeks, as well as raku bowls, stoneware succulent pots and ikebana vases, more on those later.

I’m making this a short post as I have so much to do, I will leave you with some photos of my new ceramic sycamore leaves. Click my Etsy shop for more information on what’s available.

ceramic leaf wall artraku leaves for the wallclay leaf hangingleaf wall decorationceramic leaf decorationleaf decoration kiln fired art

I love the way the light plays on the glazes

Ceramic leaf wall artEnjoy a bit of hygge time today, Autumn is a wonderful time of year!

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Chatsworth – mixing the old and the new

I have visited Chatsworth three times now and each time I learn something new from this incredible house. It’s been a while since my last visit but my favourite artworks were still there. What blew me away this time was the mix of contemporary artworks interspersed with the classical pieces.

The current Duke of Devonshire is a true patron of the arts, giving contemporary artists free reign in the making of their artworks. The Duke is an avid collector of contemporary ceramics which I especially enjoyed seeing.

Firstly let’s look at the Great Hall, just look at the ceiling. The first time I saw it my jaw dropped.

Chatsworth

What I loved about the Great Hall this time was the collection of ceramic pots in each of the fireplaces.Chatsworth

This is an interesting article about the contemporary ceramics at ChatsworthChatsworth

Next the captivating Veiled Vestal Virgin, by the Italian Sculptor Raffaele Monti, it looks so delicate and yet it’s carved from marble.Chatsworth

Then a contemporary statue, Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain  by Damien Hirst 2006

Chatsworth

Jan Van Der Vaardt’s Trompe l’oeil violin is one of my must see artworks at Chatsworth.Chatsworth

There is an interesting video about the violin here

Chatsworth

In every room there seems to be a new contemporary surprise, I would have loved to touch these.
Chatsworth

Aptly positioned between the family portraits and the ceramics room one of my most memorable pieces on this visit, the 2014 DNA Wall  by Jacob Van Der Beugel, I wish I had taken more photos but the video explains it so well.Chatsworth

Ceramics in the library.
Chatsworth

More beautiful pots

Chatsworth

This is the dining room where Queen Victoria had her first public banquet at the age of 13.

ChatsworthOn the mantelpieces there happened to be 2 beautiful collections of ceramic pots.

ChatsworthThere is such a lot to see at Chatsworth and I look forward to my next visit, maybe one day you might visit the house yourself if you haven’t already.

I did go home wondering if the Duke might like some of my raku leaves to add to his collection 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Ancient Tribal Jewellery Components

Remember not so long ago I designed some new ceramic jewellery components, mainly ceramic pendants with a hand carved and stamped design based on the whirlpool Corryvreckan? You can read about it here.

I decided to use the same stamp on some new black clay and make some rustic pendants and earring charms.

I was disappointed when I opened the kiln as they were a lot more ‘rustic’ than I’d planned. I couldn’t see the potential for these pieces and that’s where my Facebook friends stepped in with fresh eyes and suggested I try out a wash of metallic acrylic paint on them.

I have to say I am more than happy with these pieces now. They now look like they have just been dig up, my mind is thinking of ancient tribal jewellery fit for an Iceni queen, jewellery for Boudicca. Or Cartimandua queen of the Brigantes, or maybe something a Viking shield maiden would wear.

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

Ancient tribal ceramic jewellery components

I’m pleased that I now have two completely different styles to add to my range of ceramic jewellery components in my Etsy shop, now I just need to find the time to list them.

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My weekend catch – raku ceramic fish

We braved the weather last weekend to have another raku firing as I needed stock to deliver to a gallery. One good thing about it being windy, it blew the smoke away.

The firing was a bit of a mixed bag with a few breakages. The pieces that broke were the new fish pieces, which always broke in the same spot.

  • Is there a weak point in the design?
  • Is the clay too thick where the hanger attaches?
  • Are the fish too thin?
  • Are we heating them too quickly?

Hopefully things will be resolved on the next firing.

I did get some great results on the ones that didn’t break, well mostly!

If you know the raku process you will know that serendipity plays a big part in the process. I like that, you never quite know what to expect with the glaze colours. These fish have a glaze that’s usually very colourful but this time it’s very dark with some copper. Not what I was hoping for.

Ceramic fish

These two leaping salmon both have the same glaze, but one had less oxygen in the reduction bin so it has more metallic copper colour.

Raku leaping salmon

Raku salmon

The little fish came out fine.
Raku fishes

I just love the shoal of sprats, each one seems to have it’s own identity. I found myself giving them names and little life stories as I was cleaning them. You see the one bottom right, he feels quite smug with himself and considers himself ‘a bit of a looker’, a squid in a bar once told him he had a shark-like smile and now his friends call him Sharkey. When you are as small as a sprat looking like a shark makes you feel like one of the big boys.

I could happily keep these but they are my shop now.

Raku ceramic fish
I had a few losses with the mackerel but a couple with great colours were glued and will get to live with me. Once I get some clay I will be making more.

Broken fish

This one didn’t break so he swam into my shop. I can’t keep them all.Ceramic fish

I think the texture on these raku fish is just gorgeousP1510133

They came out just how I had imagined them, it’s great when that happens.P1510134

 

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