Fustrating Journeys

Getting into University can be frustrating, I have to get myself ready and the little one ready which is no mean feat as two year olds are good at putting the breaks on and then run down to his nursery drop him off run home with his pram, throw it in grab my bag and run for the bus. If I miss my bus there is an hour before the next one, once I manage to get the bus it is over an hour before I get in to Uni. I some times draw on the bus otherwise I find myself falling asleep. Yesterday was no different from normal, I finally got in after 10am and started filling the gas kiln I didn't quite has enough small test pieces ready to fill it so it will have to wait another day.

All my work in the kiln is matt titanium white with oxides, the piece at the bottom is some other students, it just is just coated in oxides, at lest I think it is otherwise it isn't coming off the kiln shelf.

I emptied another bisque kiln, the bisque kiln is bigger than the above gas kiln, I only had one shelf full in there but still ended up emptying the kiln with only one other person helping. this is all the work on my desks that is awaiting firing, along with a few pictures for inspiration in the background, I have never set in my office space to work, it is just the done thing at uni. By 11 I finished filling and emptying and spent a while preparing clay for throwing, kneading, diving into small balls as I knew I was going to make some small tea light holders today to fill the spaces when I do the large kiln next week.
I made 28 tea light holders all in all, (only 24 here) and went for lunch then came back and tried to work on a new project that my friend asked me to do, a clay fondue set, heated with a tea light, don't know if it will work, but couldn't quite get the shapes I wanted so they aren't pictured at all, will try again Thursday if I can get a wheel. That took me to just after 2pm and I had promised my wife I would come home early as she wasn't well, not the best bus to travel on as you get stuck on with the School lot when you get to the town before mine, and they just sit on the bus fighting and swearing at each other.

Got in around 3:40 threw some dinner in the oven went down to pick the little one up, ate then fell asleep on the sofa until his bed time, leaving his mum to play with him. Settled him to bed then went off to my martial arts class to unwind and blow off some steam, well everyone needs a hobby, mine is stopping people dead in their tracks then throwing them across a padded room, and throwing pots makes for a strong shoto fist.



I have a set of tools that I have pretty much been using since September when I sat down and went through all the tools I have in my tool box and picked what is essential, the rubber kidney got added one week when I mis-placed my mud tools soft kidney, I have two sorts of wires, one traditional wire and the other is also from mud tools which I really love

Today though I went up to Northern Kilns and bought a new trimming tool, they don't make them there but they have started supplying they from Clay man I think. Anyways they have started supplying tools and clay as well as all their standard range of kilns and refurbished wheels and one of the guys their Dylan was showing me their range for potters working out of a small garage which is based around a work bench that can fit clay underneath wheel and kiln to either side and then the top left for wedging and reclaiming clay. If I just wanted to stay really small in my mothers garage I would definitely go for all that.

I forgot to take in my camera all last week but I am taking it in this week as I have have a test kiln coming out so then I can make some more decisions about the final pieces that are going to go into the big kiln at the end of the week!


Whats in a mark?

I made a plaster mark for my mug handles a few weeks ago, just something plain and simple. I have a mark coming from America from a company called Clay Stamps I am getting one with my mark on and another with a bobble head red fox for my wife's work. When they arrive I will get some pictures of them and maybe some of Anthea's work too. My mark is simply my initials as I feel the same about marking pots as I do about marking paintings, the mark should try to be as unobtrusive as possible and a full signature is too much like ego.

These are three of the four mug designs I threw to go with my bowls, not happy with these. I threw one today which is a lot shorter and seems to fit the family a little better. I really need to get better at these handles as they just aren't seeming to sit right with me, but I don't know the minimum thickness of handles to go on mugs of any size, looks like a day of pulling handles is going to be coming up in the next month.

These are the bowls from the 12 before 12 challenge I put handles on all of them, they are extruded coils, eventually I would like to roll them out by hand but there is never enough room in the clay room when I am working on these, whenever I am throwing the place is dead, I want to make handles and I have all the second year students watching me. the biscuit ware on the top shelf is all mine from before Christmas and is ever so patiently waiting for me to get some glazing done, especially as another kiln of biscuit ware came out today and now I filled not only my space for work but Anthea's too and she isn't pleased as her foxes are now surrounded by stacks of bowls and mugs.

Isn't it surprising what you find on the camera when you get home, I left my camera on the wheel next to me and Anthea picked it up and started taking pictures of my work and hers and in fact all the pictures taken today are by her. What I didn't realise as she took photos was that she caught this shot of me looking awkward over such a small amount of clay, a mere 400 grams (about 0.9 pounds) I reduced the amount of clay to see if that worked better but I might just go back to around 500 grams.


These are the mugs I was working on two weeks ago, they are quite tall, but my handles haven't really done them any favours, far to thick and ugly. I wish I had had some lessons on pulling handles as it is a very hard skill to learn. Practise, Practise, Practise.

All the mugs were thrown with 1kg (or 2.2 pounds) of clay, the glazed piece is an example that I made last November showing how much better I am throwing now than I was a few months ago.

This week I am hoping to get some glazing done, but first I will have to make up a vat of glaze, also going to try and make some farmers market style mugs and possibly jugs.


12 Pots before 12 Noon

I decided to do Michael Kline's 12 pots before twelve noon challenge, unfortunately I didn't quite manage, as I didn't manage to start throwing until 11.10 so only managed to throw seven pots in the remaining time, and I even ended up throwing the one on the far right away.

I made it up by throwing 15 pots before one which isn't a very good rate but I hurt my back yesterday and after I had thrown the first seven my back pain started getting to me, I should have rested today but as I haven't managed to throw yet this week I wasn't going to give up the opportunity.

working on a mug to go with this range which is what I was working on on the far right but I'm not happy with the how the design for the larger mugs translates