Tag Archives: kiln fired art

Time for change.

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.
Clay toolsNow I just have to work out how you fit the rollers onto the handle tool.
Clay tools

My Last Raku Firing Of The year.

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.
Ceramic leaves, raku leaves, wall art
There were lots of fish.
Raku fish wall art

Hanging ceramic fish
This spotty one is rather textured, I thought of firing it again but I like it as it is.
Raku ceramic fish

Trinket dishes too.

Raku ceramics
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.
Moon gazing haretI 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.

Ceramic Wall Art – Leaves And Fishes

Just a short post today; I have been taking things more slowly this past week, having said that I have a lot of clay work drying, I have a box of finished items that need listing in my Etsy shop, I’ve been sewing, and cooking for the freezer. So I haven’t been unproductive but I feel less frantic about getting everything done having given myself permission to slow down.

I have a bit of a plan, part of which is to get the raku stock made now rather than wait until people start Christmas shopping. It’s not much fun braving a dull cold and even rainy day to raku fire under the porch. I have a few more firing days planned in the next couple of weeks before the weather cools down.

So for now I’m listing leaves and fishes in my shop, Kiln Fired Art

Here’s some of my favourite leaves in my shop now.
ceramic leaf wall art

ceramic decorationsThere are ceramic fish too, including mackerel and sprats.

bathroom wall art ceramic fish

shoal of fish ceramic wall art bathroom decoration

I had a stoneware glaze firing yesterday so lots more to come including earring charms and succulent pots as well as some new items, I will show you what came out of the kiln shortly.

Dyeing my Japanese crossover apron

While the sun was shining last weekend I started to prune my apple trees, the leaves were stripped off and put in my large catering pot to make some dye. According to my books they should yield a nice bright yellow green dye with an alum mordant.

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The pot simmered away, giving an apple / cabbage smell to the house which wasn’t  unpleasant. The liquid turned a golden yellow colour.
UntitledAfter straining out the leaves the mordanted apron went into the pot and was boiled for over an hour. It was rinsed and hung out to dry.
UntitledThe colour was a nice golden yellow, not green at all, sorry I forgot to get a photo.

The next day I dyed the other apron with a turquoise dye, then I gathered my printing leaves choosing ones I know print well, geranium and cotinus, rose and wild strawberry. I used an iron dip on the leaves and some vinegar on the fabric. The fabric was just damp, as I have been told this helps in achieving clear prints.

I thought the best way to position the leaves would be to turn the apron inside out, lift the flaps, place the leaves then fold over the flap, then repeat on the other side. I added some onion skins too.
UntitledThe apron was folded and folded again, bundled and tied ready for steaming in the fish kettle. (Sorry no photo)
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UntitledOnce my bundles were cold  they were untied and unrolled.
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UntitledThe leaves were picked off , the aprons were washed. Sadly the turquoise dye washed out as it doesn’t work on cellulose fibres, but I had forgotten that as I’m used to working with silk. I have to say I was slightly underwhelmed by the leaf prints, and I may have gone overboard on the onion skins. One of the things you have to accept with eco printing is the serendipitous nature of the process, but I like surprises. Cotton is supposed to be the hardest fabric to eco print on, but I have had some great results on cotton blankets used when dyeing silk scarves so I had hoped for better results, more well defined leaf prints.
Once ironed I think I like them more.
Eco printing on Japanese cross back apronThe apricot colour is stronger than it’s showing on my monitor, it is a pretty colour.

Eco printing on Japanese cross back apronI had planned to hang them on the apple trees to photograph them, but the weather is so bad I had to photograph them indoors.

Eco printing on Japanese cross back apronWhat constantly amazes me with eco printing are the variations, these two had the same fabric, mordant, leaves, onion skins, and steamed together and yet some onion skins have printed green on this apron but not on the other one.
Eco printing on Japanese cross back apronThere are some areas that I really like on both aprons, and I love the apricot colour from the apple leaf dye, I think the onion skins modified the colour slightly.
Eco printing on Japanese cross back apronMy daughter loves them and thinks they would make great tops for festival going.

I dyed a couple of pieces of fabric that could be used for pockets, I was undecided whether to add a front pocket but I think it would be very useful on an apron, don’t you ?

Working with the seasons – trying to keep up

A lot of the work that I enjoy doing involves working with the seasons, using the leaves and foliage available at certain times of the year. Last year I only got a couple of hosta pots made before the leaves fell victim to the frosts. So this year I patiently waited for them to come into leaf. But then we had a couple of trips away so it’s only now that I have had the time to make some more pots. I made some small incense stick holders and tea light holders, or they could even be used as a ring tray.
UntitledI made some ‘fossil’ tiles too, but I missed the buttercups and late spring flowers that I wanted to use so I tried some new ideas like clematis and lavender as well as seed heads.

Working with the seasons

Working with the seasons
UntitledAnother thing about working with the seasons is the weather, it’s been quite hot so I’ve worked in the garden, playing mud pies and recycling some clay.
Working with the seasonsIt’s firming up nicely now.

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I took some time in the shade to make some fish, hares, and soap dishes for my handmade soap. I think I need to make a few more for the shop. I had to work quickly in the heat and keep everything damp while I was working. Handling the clay kept me feeling cool, I love playing with mud on a hot day.
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I’ve been out collecting leaves for eco printing too, more on that later.

 

Raku clocks

I finally got my raku clocks fired during the week, I was so excited about finishing these.

Some are textured and have metallic flashes; on the wall they catch the light beautifully.

Raku clocksYou can see how the flames have licked the glaze surface.

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Others are painted with designs inspired by my sketchbooks, they have crackle glaze, colour(including some copper) and smoke stained lines.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksSome clocks are flat and some are slightly curved, each one is unique.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksThe nature of raku glazes and firing means you get some cracking and crazing, this is part of the process,  it’s ok so long as it doesn’t go right through the piece but unfortunately I had a couple of rejects including this one below,  I really like it so I finished it and will now have to find somewhere to hang it.

Raku clocksThe pointers are very fragile so I had to find a way of protecting them, I got some clear plastic pointer covers off the internet, then I tried different packaging inside the boxes to keep everything in place, rolled up cardboard and a little bubble wrap seemed to do the job best. Problem solved!

I fired some raku art tiles as well, I will show you those soon.

Have a great Sunday!

 

New Raku Work In My Etsy Shop

Finally I have found the time to list some new stock in my Etsy shop.

There’s more to follow but I have made a start listing raku pieces. Click on the images to go to my shop.

Lots of raku leaves listed in various sizes.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsThe shoal of small fish are back in stock, as are the mackerel. The fat fish will be coming soon but I need to fire them still.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsI made some abstract art tiles, these have a hanger on the back, a lot have sold already. I will be making more of these, I have always loved painting abstracts, they make me feel I’ve injected some energy into my work. Also I have a plan for this year to make art tiles using various decorative techniques in order to push my boundaries.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

There are raku wall clocks to follow, and some butterflies, they need to be fired.

I have some stoneware and porcelain pieces to follow, as well as lots and lots of jewellery components sitting here waiting to be glazed. All I need is more hours in my day and some warm dry weather.