Tag Archives: kiln fired art

Back to work – back to a different kind of normality.

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.
Hanging leaf Silk scarves, send to a friend, or Mum with a note from you included in the package.
leaf print silk scarf
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.
glass lightcatchers

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.

Take care.

 

Getting a grip on handles and some pottering

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.
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There’s a few hearts and trinket dishes too.
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While tidying up I came across some tools that I haven’t had the chance to use, one is for making handles.
UntitledI’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.
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I made a lidded trinket box, the lid and box are made in one piece.
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UntitledI’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.
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For now pottering is enough. Stay safe and well.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wall

After waiting for a month the rain finally stopped just long enough to get a raku firing  done.

This batch of ceramic leaves have particularly good colours, don’t you think?
Ceramic leaf wall art from Kiln Fired ArtI hate keeping my customers waiting but hopefully they understand the slow nature of ceramics, especially when you have to wait for improvements in the weather to do a firing.

My ceramic leaves can solve a specific need in interior decor. Some of my customers send me photos of how they are using my leaf wall art on those awkward walls above a window, around an arch, above a doorway, up a staircase. I can’t show you photos of my customer’s homes but I can show you my leaf art installation which hangs on a narrow wall between two windows. I love the way it connects indoors with the outdoors.

leaf wall art I have added a few more leaves since that photo was taken. That’s the beauty of having a ceramic leaf art sculpture hanging on your wall, you can keep adding to it when you feel the need. I would love to make a large leaf art installation one day, I wonder which wall I could use, maybe up the staircase.

Some of my leaves are heading off to their new homes this week but there are still some available in my shop and I will be glazing more this weekend. I wonder how long I will have to wait for the next dry day to fire the next batch of leaves? Hopefully not too long.

On that note I will leave you with some more eye candy, do you have a favourite leaf?
Hanging leaf wall art from Kiln Fired Art

If you look at KilnFiredArt on Instagram or Facebook you can see some videos which show how gorgeous the colours are and how they change in the light.

Snowdrop Ceramic Art Tiles Finally Finished.

The weather hasn’t improved yet so still no raku firing, so I’ve had to adapt, it’s rained every day so I have contented myself working indoors staining up the snowdrop tiles and these ceramic hearts.

staining ceramic snowdrop heartsI love how rustic these look, I think that’s down to the choice of clay and the colour. I like how adding the colour reveals the delicacy of the snowdrop flowers.

Ceramic snowdrop art tiles

I took a slightly different approach with these pulmonaria wall plaques, leaving the speckled stoneware as it is then using a very small brush I painted in the pinks blues and greens of the flowers and foliage. The process reminded me of my china painting days. These pulmonaria  flowers are dear to my heart, they remind me of my Grandpa’s garden, as a child I was in awe of these pink and blue flowers on a single stem, how could that be?

Rustic ceramic flower tiles

Here’s a closer picture of one of the tiles, you can see the tiny details in each flower petal. They still make me smile today. I think pulmonaria, or lungwort as it’s also known are one of my favourite plants in the spring border.

plant ceramic art tiles

The light hasn’t been so good for photographs this week so I will leave the ceramic hearts and ring dishes for another post. To see more photos of these ceramic tiles click to go to my shop.

Now I’m off to glaze some soap dishes, what are your plans for today?

Enjoy your Sunday.

The Slow Art Of Ceramics

This week I’ve haven’t been able to get much done because of the weather but I did manage to get some bisque firing done, the pieces that I made before my holidays. Snowdrop tiles, little ring dishes and hanging hearts, you can find them here in my last post. Just as well I got them made before I left as the snowdrops had gone over before I got home. I have just opened the kiln in this photo and they are hot, hot, hot.

Bisque fired ceramics
I love working with the seasons, however it’s not always “slow living” when you have to get something done before the flowering season ends.

You may not have given much thought to it but making ceramics is a slow process, there’s a lot of waiting, you have to wait until the clay is at the right stage of dryness to do what you want to do. After rolling I have to wait until the clay firms up a bit before rolling in the plants, then once you have made your pieces you have to wait to do the fettling, I like to do this at leather hard stage. Then you have to wait until the pieces are dry enough for bisque firing. These snowdrop pieces sat for almost 2 weeks before they were fired as it’s been so cold and damp, but slow drying is a good thing.
Once dry the ceramic leaves and fish are bisque fired, that’s another 24 hour ( or longer) wait before I can open the kiln.

Fish to hang on the wall

Seasonal (and weather) influenced work certainly teaches patience, I just hope my customers are understanding.

The bisque pieces now need to be glazed, the ceramic fish and leaf wall art have an application of raku glazes which have to be fired outside, this is where the looooong wait has come in. I can only raku fire when the weather is right, it needs to be dry and not very windy. We have to stand around all day putting pieces in and out of the kiln so it helps if it’s not too cold.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wallSo that’s where I’m at, waiting and watching the weather, it’s not looking good for the coming week, I just hope my customers are understanding. These  pieces will be making their way into my Kiln Fired Art shop as soon as they are glazed and fired. Patience is definitely a virtue where the slow art of ceramics is concerned. Fingers crossed for better weather soon.

More handmade ceramics

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.

Ceramics for the home wip from Kiln Fired Art

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.

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 ?