Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Art on the Street June 2013

This Saturday I was again selling my work at the biannual event, Art on the Street.  It was a beautiful sunny day with visitors enjoying the art and ceramics on display.

I have spent quite some time building up enough stock to take with me, here is a video demonstrating making the leaf imprint tiles.

Leaf Imprint Tiles

The work I had on display was both red earthenware clay and stoneware clay.  The stoneware was fired to a higher temperature (1250 C) than the earthenware clay (1120 C).  The following two videos show the pots  fresh from the kiln.

Red Earthenware Slipware


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Saving a bowl from the reclaim bucket

Before I went on my trip to the West Country I made a few pots that I wrapped up in plastic so that I could dip them in slip when I returned.
Here is one of the bowls with the slip added to the inside, I thought it was ready to biscuit fire and I had put it aside to dry.  I was unhappy with it because the slip had a few lumps in it and about four or five small lumps were stuck on the inside of the pot. Yesterday I picked it up and was struck by how heavy it was and its clumsy shape, so I decided it would have to go in the reclaim, no point in firing something you are not happy with.  Then I decided to give it a second chance.

I wrapped it in wet cloths to soften the clay and put it back on the wheel, I reduced the size of the footring and lifted the shape by trimming where the curve changes at the base (I always leave too much clay here when turning)

I have mixed up a new black slip but never used it so I decided to try it on this bowl.  I masked the bits of the pot I wanted to stay white using torn till receipt paper.  I scrapped off the small lumps of slip and made sure that the black slip covered that area.

When the slip was dry I removed the strips of paper

I was a bit worried when I took the strips off, the paper had crumpled a bit because of the curve and some slip had seeped underneath.  I quite like the effect it has produced and my Union Jack style bowl.

This bowl is destined for the Ceramics Show at St Joseph's on 9th March.  I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

March 6th - The bowl comes out of the kiln

It has a lovely shine to it and I really like the rich black colour of the slip, it has a real depth to it.
There is a bit of roughness on the black slip but it isn't too bad.
I must practise dipping bowls into glaze buckets and getting the level right!

Friday, 22 February 2013

My Half Term - A Trip to the West Country

This half term I was without husband or children as they all had something better to do, so I decided to take the opportunity to stay with my sister, Julia, in Somerset and arranged for us to visit some local potters.

I picked up Josie in Bristol on my way down to Somerset, we called in at Auntie Ann's for delicious homemade soup and then popped over to see Karen Edwards at Barley Wood Walled Garden, Wrington.  Karen makes lovely garden (and indoor) sculptures and practical stoneware items. Her studio is in such a beautiful location with views out over the Mendips. It was a surprise to discover that I had one of Karen's birds in my back garden, it was a present from Ann to John about five years ago. Here it is on our kitchen floor.

We headed out onto the Mendips, here are Josie, Alexander and Julia at Charterhouse

Josie the Geologist is examining fossils in the Limestone near Velvet Bottom

Our morning visit was to Philip Wood near Frome.  Philip showed us his new studio and we chatted about his amazing sprigging technique and many other things.

These are pots destined for an exhibition in Japan

Ware boards full of beautiful finished pots

Small pot 7cm wide

Wide mug 7cm high

Scraffito inside the mug

In the afternoon we went to Barrington Court and drank tea and chatted to Paul Jessop for a couple of hours.  I forgot to take any photos I was so engrossed in looking around and listening to Paul.  I have been following Paul on his blog and facebook so it was good to meet him in person.

Green slipware mug

By this time we were feeling a bit peckish but a community shop saved the day, then we moved on to our next destination, John Leach's Pottery at Muchelney.

The kiln had been opened on Friday so there were plenty of pots for us to choose from, Nick Rees showed us around and explained how the wood fired climbing kiln operates.

Pots out of the kiln at Muchelney
The pottery has nearly completely recovered from the flooding last November, you can see a news report here.  The wheels were moved out of the workshop into the gallery so that Johnnie, Nick and Mark could continue working.  The kiln firing had to be delayed until it had dried out.
Sweet jug 9cm high
8.5cm high
Nick Rees individual piece 9cm high


On Tuesday morning we heading out to Butleigh near Glastonbury to meet Mike Dodd.  I have seen Doves Workshops in the Goldmark video about Mike, but it was great to see it in real life. We were left to browse in the showroom, we were in there for a long time, it was all so lovely we couldn't decide what to buy.

10cm high
23cm diameter
Here is what I did buy
16cm high

Small ginger jar 11cm high

Large Lidded Jar 21cm high

For lunch we went to the Willow and Wetlands centre, I bought a lovely wicker tray to display my pots on.  Julia was given a bag of willow strippings to use as a natural dye for wool.

Wicker push chairs

Later in the day we popped into Wells and went shopping, I bought this Cider Flagon in a second hand shop (it was in with the garden tools)

Flagon with original cork and disintegrated  seal  for the tap

It appears that it may be a Winchcombe pot made by Ray Finch, there is no potter's mark but it has the right glaze and the features seem to indicate its authenticity.  I am thrilled with it, as soon as I picked it up I knew it was special but I didn't know how special.  I was particularly pleased to get five pounds off the marked price and took it home for £20!

I also bought a John Leach individual plate, dated 1995, another great find, that was hiding on a windowsill in the same shop.


On Wednesday I ventured into Devon on my own, first stop Hollyford Pottery to see Doug Fitch. Tea and a tour were provided and a good chat about all things clay.  Again I forgot to take any photos, but here are two beautiful jugs I came home with.

In the afternoon I drove onto Woodbury for more tea this time with Tim Andrews. I wanted to buy one of Tim's beautiful porcelain cups but he didn't have any to sell, so I had to content myself with admiring Tim's garden which is looking great.  He has put so much work into it and it was very impressive which is especially difficult at this time of year.

Before heading home I stopped in at my niece in Budleigh Salterton and you guessed it for more tea and chat.

I really enjoyed my short trip to Somerset and Devon, I am already planning the next one.  First I have to find somewhere to put all my new pots, I might have to buy some new shelving.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pop Up Shop 'From the Kiln'

After packing up Art on the Street on December 1st, I moved the remaining, unsold pots 100m away to an empty shop in the Nicholsons' Centre.  This was the 'From the Kiln' pop up shop organised by Susan Day, twelve local potters were exhibiting and selling their work.  The shop was open for four days a week and was manned by the potters themselves.

The shop was well lit and the displays all looked great, each potter had a set of shelves in a cabinet.  Everyone sold some of their work and I was delighted to sell over fifty items.  I had to re stock the shelves a few times as it began to look a bit bare.

We had so many positive comments from customers, most of them were delighted to see a shop in Maidenhead, selling high quality products at such reasonable prices. 

Overall a great success, I hope it will be repeated again this year.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Art on the Street 1st Dec 2012

After a very quiet summer in the studio, I have been making up for it in the last two months.  I had to make enough work for the Art on the Street event in Maidenhead on Saturday.   Art on the Street is a local art market run by volunteers, it takes place twice a year and brings quality art to the masses of Maidenhead. I am included as a 3D artist, with the added benefit of having a stall inside the shopping centre. I was very pleased about this as I felt for the artists standing in the freezing conditions out on the high street.

In a departure from my normal stoneware clay, I have been experimenting with terracotta.  I needed to fire the pots I had made on the Richard Phethean course, this meant I had to make a full kiln load of red earthenware pots to biscuit fire. I had great fun dipping the bowls and plates in white slip and then decorating them using paint brushes and slip trailers. The glazing is then very straight forward, every pot has the same treatment, dipping in the transparent glaze. I am really pleased with the results everything has come out really shiny and I like the warm effect of the cream coloured slip.

A kiln's worth of earthenware slipware
These pots all came out of the kiln half way through November, but I still had some stoneware pots to fire, so I worked on making enough pots for another kiln load.  These pots were biscuit fired on Tuesday last week and then glaze fired on Thursday, the kiln was cool enough to open on Friday evening, when I needed to deliver the pots to the shopping centre for the stall.  Talk about cutting it fine!  I had to wrap the pots in newspaper because they were still quite hot and I was worried that the bubble wrap would melt on them!

Here I am with my stall, even though we were inside it was still quite chilly, so I kept my coat on. There were eight of us with ceramics stalls, all of us have very different styles and it is great to chat with fellow potters about their work and how they achieve their amazing results.  We all know each other and I love to see other potters' new work and we spend the time swapping tips and techniques.
 Here is the stall, my earthenware is at the front and my stoneware on the main table.  It is very tempting to put out all my work and this looks quite cluttered but the camera (phone) has foreshortened the view and it wasn't quite so busy.  I had a box of extra work underneath to replenish the stall, as I sold items, fortunately I had to go to the box on several occasions during the day.

This is one of my large fruit bowls (30cm diameter) made from a gritty clay (crank).  I make this in a large plaster mould and then smooth the inside and make the outside rough with a surform blade.  The outside is given a toasty colour, I achieve this by adding a blue glaze and then wiping it off with a sponge.  The inside is glazed with shiny white and splashed with my green glaze.

 This crank bowl is made in the same way but has straight sides and is much taller, it is about 40cm diameter and has a green and blue glaze pattern inside.

This jug is one of my favourites, it is very spherical and looks like a chubby little fellow.  It is green on the outside and white inside.

I was really pleased with my day at Art on the Street, I sold about 30 pots and four people have asked for commissions.  I love talking about my work and shows like this give me an opportunity to do this, I hope they weren't too bored by me!  I better get back to my studio now, I have those commissions to make and more work for a ceramics pop up shop (more on that later ...)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Art in Action and a Bowl made by Phil Rogers

Yesterday two potter friends and I went to Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens, we arrived just before 10 and parked at the nearby airfield to use the park and ride facility.   How fortunate that we had arrived when we did, ten minutes later and we would have been delayed another 45 minutes as the buses struggled to get back to the airfield due to the traffic.  I was so pleased I had sacrificed fashion for practicality and worn old jeans tucked into my wellies.  I didn't feel out of place as we trudged through the rather wet pathways, the road up to the usual car park field looked like a river of mud.  Several of the exhibitors told us of the troubles they had experienced setting up on Wednesday, trying to get their wares on to the site.
So we didn't make a beeline for the ceramics marquee, we were very self controlled and managed to visit a few of the other marquees first, such as Calligraphy, Printmaking (lovely work by Laura Boswell), Sculpture and the Best of the Best (each exhibitor has one of their favourite pieces displayed here).  So finally we made it to the Ceramics marquee hooray, and what a feast for our eyes, I won't list all the exhibitors because you can look that up on the Art in Action website.  At the entrance were Tim Andrews with his fabulous raku fired items and Richard Godfrey's brightly coloured earthenware.  I should have been on commission at Tim's stall as I picked up a beautiful porcelain fluted cup with a perfect Celadon glaze and when I replaced it on the stand it was quickly snapped up and purchased by a lady standing next to me.

Tim Andrews raku fired form, don't know who that is hiding behind it.

In the Best of the Best tent we found some wonderful pieces:
Kevin Millward
Kevin Millward's porcelain bowl is an amazing example of perfect throwing, it is about 45 cm diamater and as light as a feather.  The bowl has distinct throwing rings and the shape has been altered.  This is probably my favourite piece in the whole exhib

Linda Bloomfield
Linda Bloomfield's delicate, thrown porcelain with a perfect satin matt glaze on the outside of her work and a coloured glaze on the inside, yummy.

Paul Jackson beautiful shaped jug with nude
Paul Jackson's jug is such a pleasing shape and it takes a while to realise it is also a canvas with a very well depicted nude.
James Oughtibridge

I didn't manage to frame the whole of James Outibridge's piece in the shot I was trying to get a view between the pots to see how the two separate pieces relate to each other.

Then onto the ceramics marquee, here is Phil Roger's stand

and Paul Jackson's

Then in the Practical Classes Tearcher's Exhibition Tent

Jennie Gilbert
Jennie Gilbert Bowl