Tag Archives: ceramics

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.
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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 🙂 🙂 🙂

Raku bowls hot out of the kiln this week.

Finally the weather was perfect last week for a couple of days of raku firing. The firing is done outside and you have to stand around whilst doing it so it has to be a fine day, it’s not  something to do if it’s wet or windy, or even too hot and dry as it was over the summer.

We fired for 2 days, that’s 41 kiln firings in total, I can only get 1 or 2 pots or leaves in the kiln each firing. If you follow on Instagram you will have witnessed some photos and videos live as things happened.

I got some amazing colours on my leaves (which are now in my Etsy shop) but today I want to show you my pots.
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Some have the most amazing colours. They show up especially well in a video ( look on my Instagram) a photo doesn’t  capture the iridescence.

This bowl below has a lot of copper and iridescence as well as some crusty craters.

Raku bowl

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UntitledSadly this bowl cracked in the base but every cloud has a silver lining, I get to keep it. It was my biggest bowl yet, and with beautiful colour. You can see a line running around the base, that’s the crack.

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I had 4 bowls crack in total, it’s a  risky process but I think it was how I had trimmed the foot rings, I’m still learning.

But it’s worth the failures when you get a bowl like this one.
UntitledMost of the bowls will be going off to the gallery but I have kept some smaller ones for my shop, as well as some of the leaves.
I was in a hurry taking these photos, they could be better, and if I could link to my videos you would see that the colours are wonderful. For some reason my phone can’t upload video to Flickr, I need to find out how to do that.

EDITED to say… I did it! 🙂

Here’s another one

Enjoy your Sunday!

Art Elements May Challenge – Tide Pools

When I saw the theme for the May challenge on Art Elements I was very excited, you might say obsessive as I thought of nothing else for 3 days. Then we went to Liverpool which gave my brain a rest. I wrote a list of at least 10 ideas before I left so not to forget, but on my return I knew which two I wanted to investigate further.

I gathered together my rock pool photos,  none of which are turquoise or azure blue like those on the internet but I do feel connected to these less colourful pools of the UK as I grew up near the coast.
Robin Hood's Bay 230 (2)
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P1340455Both ideas use techniques I’ve not used before, or I have only just learnt but isn’t that what a challenge is all about, stretching oneself?

I started with something that was familiar, out came the clay and my shell moulds and I got to making the ‘rockpool’. I was so engrossed I forgot to take photos.

While the bowl sat drying I started on the textile part of my make. I have only just learned about water soluble fabric but thought it might be perfect for making anemones, and the seaweed was made from tyveck which was stitched, painted, cut out and burned along the edges with a soldering iron.

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Whilst waiting for the bowl to dry I was thinking about the term tidepools, as well as rockpools. While going through my photos I  came across a photo with the tide going out, there are shallow pools left in the sand. Tidepools right?

I decided to make a stitched picture, as I need the practice having only just finished a stitching course, my thread painting technique needs working on.
Photos from a happy day at Newton by the Sea with friends.
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It didn’t start well, I had some tension issues on the underside, and not enough colours of thread!
P1500171 I realised that there was something wrong with the darning foot of my new machine, it’s fortunate that I kept my Gran’s old 1970’s Singer machine, the feed dogs don’t drop so I covered them with masking tape. It worked like a dream. Two days of stitching later I had something resembling the picture in my head.
P1500176This is stitched on felt which was placed over a larger piece of soluble fabric so it would fit my hoop and also because I wanted seaweed spilling over the bottom edge. I love the way the stitching distorts the shape of the piece, I wonder if you can have some control over this. Next the fun part of dissolving away the solvy fabric.
P1500173I stitched some seaweed and a weedy thread on the spare soluble fabric rather than waste it.  I wasn’t  sure if the weedy thread would work but it did, apart from getting tangled up in the bowl of water.
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P1500179 The next stage was to drill some shells and while I was going through my seaside stash I found I had a piece of driftwood the exact length for my hanging.

When the fabric was dry I hand stitched some pebbles and then assembled the piece, all will be revealed at the end of this post.

Back to my rockpool bowl now ready for firing.

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The fired the bowl didn’t quite live up to my expectations, not sure why but I don’t really like it. It’s probably destined to be a bird bath in the garden. I wasn’t sure if I should spend the money on the resin but following a discussion with OH, who asked what had been my intentions with this piece, and did I meet those intentions, (which it did so far apart from adding the’ water’, I just don’t like it) so I decided to continue with the rock pool as it’s all about learning new techniques and answering those ” I wonder what if” questions, so I ordered some resin.

The resin arrived , I couldn’t wait to see my seaweed and anemone’s underwater.

And here is the finished rockpool, my lovely husband drove me 4 hours so I could photograph it on the beach.

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Saving my favourite ’til last here’s my finished wall hanging, which I love. It’s the first thing I see in the morning, and it reminds me of a lovely day at Newton by the Sea with friends. Happy days!

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Ebb Tide at Newton by the Sea.

P1500187I have started anther ‘rockpool’ inspired project but I will save that for another post.

Here’s a list of everyone participating in the Art Elements blog hop, why not head over and see what they have been up to, I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s blogs.

Guests
AE Team Members:

Thank you Lesley for a very inspirational challenge.

New Stoneware Bowls

It’s been a long winter this year, feels like I have been stuck inside for months. But I have been planning new work and dreaming of holidays by the sea.

I should also confess to drinking wine by the log fire and cooking up some heart warming meals, well it’s all in the name of hygge and staying warm and cosy. There’s nothing like a homemade pie when the weather is dreek outside, so it seemed pie dishes were inevitable.

 

These are my individual ‘Pudding and Pie’ dishes, although they could be used in a multitude of ways.pudding and pie dishes

My thoughts of being at the seaside seems quite evident in some of my new work.

These bowls have a lovely turquoise glaze, the one on the right , turquoise and white, evokes memories of sunny days on the beaches of the Isle of Lewis and the crystal clear turquoise water and pale sandy beaches.

stoneware bowls

These bowls reflect the colours of the Norfolk coast, remember my seal trip at Blakeney?  I want to design this range so that each bowl will have a slightly different look, I love to see the contrast of glaze and the warm speckled textures of the clay, each glaze/ bowl is a little different but they all coordinate beautifully.

Kiln Fired Art ceramics

Most importantly these bowls have glazes suitable for tableware and they are high fired so they can go in the microwave and dishwasher.

Once the weather warms up I shall be throwing some more to add to my shop, I’m trying to think of a name for the range, ‘Seaside’ seems to be the obvious choice. What do you think of it?

I’m glazed over!!

It’s been a very busy week of glazing and firing.

Also, I started out doing the last week of Dionne’s Drawing for Textiles course but I broke all my felting needles, the textile techniques came to a halt so I went back to drawing. I really enjoyed the course and I have so many ideas to explore when I have time.

I’ve also glazed some of those beads from last week for my Etsy shop.
Ceramic beadsSeeing the weather forecast was going to be good for a few days I thought it was time to get some raku work fired. It’s been frosty but once the sun came up it was reasonably warm, which is good when you are standing around in the garden all day for 3 days.

P1490322Raku has a will of it’s own and can be fickle, some pots had to be refired but that’s ok, some cracked, but I get to keep those, and some blistered very badly so they went in the bin.
I love this one, but it’s cracked in the base so it’s mine.
P1490393This pot is a bit rough but I love it’s textures and colour so I get to keep it.
raku bowl by Kiln Fired ArtThese raku bowls will be going off to the gallery, the first two are quite large, they have some lovely colours and textures
raku bowlsraku bowlThere are a lot more raku bowls heading off to the gallery for a spring event but I’ve packed them up before getting photos.

raku dishAnd there are raku pendants too
raku pendantsSo as you can see it’s been a very busy week, I’m now feeling shattered, that’s why my post is later than usual.

I could do with a rest today so I’m taking it easy reviewing my drawings, the more I look I  find more interesting things to inspire me.

Enjoy your Sunday whatever you are doing.

 

A week of finishing off and preparation

Not much to blog about this week, it’s been one of preparation to get ahead and finishing off stuff.

I’m thinking about my spring events, I made a list ( I love making lists) of what stock I have left and also what I need to make.

It’s mostly been about bisque firing this week, I now have bowls ready to raku glaze when the weather picks up and OH is feeling up to helping with the gas bottle.
P1480979I also bisqued some raku leaves, and 3 bowls of beads and another of pendants, but I forgot to get a photo of those when I was out in the studio.
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I brought my work into the house this week and made these hearts hares and wrens, the studio is just too cold, hopefully I can work out there in the next few days as having the kilns on every day has warmed the place up a bit.
P1480980And I made an effort to finish my tunic, I thought if I didn’t get it finished soon I wouldn’t be wearing it much ’til next winter . Now I have a problem with buttons, I made some red ones but they aren’t the right colour, so I’m going to use a contrasting glaze and make some that are sort of a metallic pewter colour. Fingers crossed. x

P1480983Now I’m heading off to clean the very messy studio so I can glaze beads next week. I’m starting another online course next week for 3 weeks so you can see my need for organisation. I hope to work in the morning and do my course in the afternoons. I’m really looking forward to Drawing for Textiles  with Dionne Swift.

I feel as I’m getting older it is even more important to me to learn new things.

What day of the week is it?

Since the turn of the year I seem to have my days all mixed up, I think because I’m not going to the gym (since OH’s accident) I have lost my ‘yardstick’ for measuring the passing of the days.  Before it was either the day before gym, or the day after.

So I decided it was time to try and get back into a routine, the holidays are over, there’s work to be done. I was having a glaze firing so at least the studio was warmer than it has been of late, it’s not very inviting to go out and work when you feel you are going uncomfortably numb.

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown anything, maybe a couple of months, I’ve dreamt about throwing, I dreamt couldn’t remember how to do it.

I decided to throw some raku bowls first, everything went fine.

P1480758Then I decided to have a go with some semi porcelain. I have tried and failed with this clay before, it’s a difficult clay ( to me anyway ). I decided a fluid rim would be lovely on these little bowls, I textured the outside, they look and feel very tactile. I think this would be enhanced with a celadon glaze.

P1480756The 2 clays are really quite different, imagine making a pot with cement and compare that to making a pot with butter, that’s how the semi porcelain feels after sanding my fingernails down with the raku clay.

I do love the feel of s p though, it’s like silk between the fingers; honey rich sticky silk, if only it didn’t want to flop when you reach a decent sized pot.

I  have really enjoyed this past week ( if only there were more hours in the day)  I’m doing an online sketchbook course with Dionne Swift, something to keep me busy indoors when it’s too cold to head out to the studio. I have another week to explore the techniques I’ve learned then I can translate some of my work into ceramics and textiles.
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5 Highlights of 2017

  1. I got a wheel                                                                                                                                      I started to teach myself to throw in March, this is my first pot.

pot

I practiced, and practiced

potsNow I have some tableware that we use every day.

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I also made a raku kiln and fell in love with the results
20170909_1146542. My family came home for a visit                                                                                    It’s unusual for us all to be home at the same time.
P14005643. A trip to Wells next The Sea                                                                                                I think of Wells as my second home as I spent so much time there as a child; fond memories!
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4. Wildlife watching                                                                                                                        Highlights were getting close to seals off Blakeney Point

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Seeing avocets for the first time

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And a close encounter with a brown hare in the Scottish borders.

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5. Walking

We walked in Scotland, NorfolkYorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria.

The highlight has to be reaching the summit of Scafell Pike, it was long overdue and I really don’t know why I put it off for so long.

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At the moment I am stuck in the house and can’t get out much, I am pining to be out there in the wilderness but I am contenting myself with my view and the garden birds that are keeping me entertained.

My family know me well enough to have given me foraging and identification books for Christmas.  As well as an incredible book that moved me so much I had a tear in my eye reading the beautiful words; it’s The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. A beautiful book to treasure, for those old and young who love wildlife, nature and language.

As for creativity, I’ve done nothing for a few weeks, apart from cooking a bit of knitting. I hope to start making pots again very soon. I’ve also signed up for an online course to get my mojo back in gear next year.

I’ll see you in 2018 !