Tag Archives: beginners ceramics

One year on.

What a week it’s been, we haven’t had as much snow as most parts of the UK but it is bitterly cold, and I did experience an earthquake at the start of the week.

I’ve had my wheel for a year now, doesn’t time fly? Thought I would look back through my photos to see how I’ve progressed. This was my first little pot, it’s not great but I’m attached to it, I use it for mixing salad dressing.

P1400367I’ve come to realise I don’t want to throw pots that look perfect, that’s for machine made, but I do want to be skilled enough to be able to throw a perfect pot.

I want my handmade pots to always show the hand of the maker in some way, and these ‘imperfections’ are marks of identity showing the process and the hand of the maker, it says “that pot was made by me”!

P1490311These are my most recent bowls, I had hoped to have them glazed by now but the weather has prevented me doing so.

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I hope you are not having too many snow related problems where you are, I’m spending my time by the log burner as our central heating boiler has given up. Stay warm folks!

Tableware progress – bigger dishes!

I decided not to throw anything until I glazed some pieces and made a bit of room in the studio, but the other day I slipped out to have a look at something in the studio and it just happened!

Out came the clay and I wasn’t seen again until I had made some serving bowls. For some unknown reason things seemed to just work. Centering was much easier, I even centered two balls of clay on top of each other to make a large serving platter. It’s as wide as I can go on my batts, the biggest thing I’ve thrown to date and perfect for roasting vegetables.
throwing progressThen came a straight sided dish that will fit in the halogen cooker.
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Also a pie plate.

P1460077They still need a bit of trimming but I have left them on the batts a little too long so instead of wiring them off I’m hoping, like my plates they just pop off as they dry.

I made a little jug too.
P1460078And a lidded pot, with a gallery and a knob on the lid, I was on a roll.
P1460079That’s until I tried the lid in the pot upside down ( I’d read that was a good way to dry them as the fit together better)
The problem was I should have let them get leather hard first. So half a day later I had managed to get them apart, but the lid was reduced in size with all the trimming and I messed up the gallery, which I fixed. The lid is a little slack now but there is the thickness of the glaze to consider, and at least it doesn’t fall inside.
P1460100This 18cm tall jug has just come off the wheel, it’s too soft to put the handle on it just now. This is my tallest piece so far, I keep thinking back to my first piece which I made 7 months ago, things are definitely growing 🙂

I’m continuing glazing, but I admit it’s not my favourite thing to do, I may have shown these already, forgive my excitement but my pile of dishes is growing. We have eaten off them too, the large bowls are perfect for a hearty soup, noodles or porridge.
P1460090The mugs are smaller than I like but they are fine for an after dinner coffee, I can make some larger ones eventually. I did have an issue with the glaze running onto the batt on a couple of mugs so I will have to try and grind them smooth, fortunately I made 2 spares  of everything.
P1460095The plates have stayed flat, no cracking or warping, but they are more of a breakfast plate than a dinner plate, maybe I should call them weightwatcher plates.
P1460093Then there’s my small dessert bowls, maybe too small, but ok for ice cream, fruit or yoghurt.
stoneware bowlsI have my fingers crossed for the serving bowls, I hope they come off the batts soon, and as for the rest of the glaze firings , no more runs please!

I eventually bit the bullet and did it!

I bit the bullet and finally glazed one place setting of what I had called my ‘dinner set’. I had already realised that my dinner plates were too small, more of a breakfast plate size.

I have just opened the kiln to reveal all, the plate on the top shelf was just the colour I was hoping for, and the glaze looked even…… result!

The next batt revealed the bowls and mug, yes they all survived the firing and the glaze looks pretty good, although it’s more green and not as dark blue as I had hoped for, but I still like it so it’s not a problem.

I think my mugs and dessert bowls could have been larger but as this is my first crack at it I’m happy enough with them. This is more of a luncheon set than a dinner set, for soup and a sandwich, some fruit salad and coffee these would be just perfect.

I have another 9 of everything to glaze and then I can make some larger mugs and plates, some serving dishes, a tea set, oh the list is growing.

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I do love them though and can’t wait to use them, better get some more glazed so OH and myself can enjoy eating off them at the weekend. Smaller plates aren’t a bad thing, they will be good for my waistline. I’m chuffed to bits with how they have come out, what do you think of the glaze colour?

Feeling the force

I feel I made a breakthrough this week throwing pots.

With great advice from Tim See I have practiced and I managed to make some pots close to the size and shape that I want to decorate.
I’ve gone from nut bowls to small vases which I feel is a bit of a breakthrough.
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I even managed a slightly wonky batter bowl.
P1410743I have given much thought as to how I want to decorate my new pots, do I want to continue with decorating using overglazes and lustres following my ‘Brand’, or do I venture into new territory and use underglaze techniques?

I decided for now at least, as I’m intent on learning new stuff to try underglaze decoration so I’ve ordered some, I can always use overglazes later if I want.

Some pots are very simple in form but as I really like some of the qualities of hand built pots I decided to distort some. I just want to pick these pots up when I look at them.

P1410739My copy of Claycraft magazine arrived so I had a go at making a matching pair of mugs, this is really tricky, I kept altering each one in turn but they still aren’t a great match. Alas my pulled handles dried out too much so I just rolled these out, they are too chunky and a bit ugly but I will do better next time.
P1410742I’ve saved my best pieces ’til last. Having watched Tim’s centering video over and over, I finally got it, then he watched me throw and gave me advice how to do better ( Thanks Tim) this cylinder and bowl are the result, they didn’t need much trimming and are my best pieces so far. 15cm tall cylinder vase, 15cm wide bowl.
P1410741One thing that crossed my mind when learning centering the clay; I’ve never tried another art or craft where touch is one of the most relied on of senses. I love the tactile quality of the clay and found myself at times using my sense of touch and ‘seeing’ with my ‘inner eye’ rather than actually looking. Made me think of Star Wars….. “Luke feel the force” 🙂