Busy week

Its been a busy week and I haven't taken my camera to work in a few days, though if I did the only thing new you would see is children's work, it is all due in two weeks, which is rather worrying, why do I tell people that? I need to get it home asap and dried and in the biscuit kiln.  There is a lot of it and I have really enjoyed teaching children all week, but it is tiring.

this morning I am preparing letters to go off to various places, no galleries on the list, as I still want to reread that section on artists selling their work in the book that I have, that I have misplaced somewhere and can't find, if anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it.  I have to pick up my work from Southport tomorrow and then my work from Lancaster at the end of the month, but hopefully going into a show at the university at the end of the month.

I have found a glaze in the Cone 6 book that is almost the same recipe as my old glaze, it looks similar from the tiny photo so hopefully I will be doing some glaze tests this week, I have to ask for a favour from someone as I don't have the ingredients yet.

Trying to get on top of all my bisque firing so I have had 3 kilns on this week, not done any glazing yet, was planning on refilling the kiln now, but will fill it tonight when the baby has gone to bed, I still have so much to do.


Inspiration and Development Updates.

This week has been a week that I have found a little inspiration, even more so today than any other day my determination is fired and I want to keep going, only thing is I have a Sunday off and then Monday is my little boy's 3rd birthday so I am taking the day off too, whether I will still have this fire then is another matter! I shall just have to doodle what I want to make.

This weeks blog is also a little photo heavy, I do apologise if your internet speed is slow.

These are the slab pieces I showed in an earlier blog entry, as you can see they have been alter, slipped and in parts burnished.  I want to try a little more development with these see if with can make something that is a bit more special.

The taller of these storage jars is 9 inches high, I keep thinking about glaze for these even though they are still very wet and I don't know how long it will be before  they are dry enough to fire it depends on the weather, hopefully it will pick up as it has been very damp and cold again.  The bigger work doesn't like this time of the year, it is a very slow process.  I have thrown these storage jars like this as an alternative to throwing too many vases. as a few people whp have come in have said that they have enough vases but they like the idea of a storage jar.

The lids have feet on them so they sit inside the jar rather than having altered the rim of the pot itself.  I wanted the lids to look a bit like Richard Batterham's but they don't have that same flatness as they meet the rim.

My wife earmarked this page in Phil Roger's Throwing Book ages ago.  These particular jugs were by Svend Bayer.  I didn't like the look of them at first so I had been avoiding marking them.  This week I decided I couldn't put it off any longer so I drew a quick sketch which I put on my wheel's back board got 1.6kilos of clay and went to work.

This is my Svend Bayer inspired jug, I liked it so much that I actually smashed up two green jugs that were actually dry enough to fire but had never really liked them so they have already broken down in the the reclaim buckets.  I had seen a little of Svend Bayer in magazines and had been told to look at them for my own work but didn't like them, not until this week especially today.
I have also been looking at the work of Jim Malone after reading an article about him in Ceramic Review which all lead me to look at the Modern Pots Website which is part of the Goldmark Gallery.  I had a look at going on the traint o see some of the work in person but it is a 4 hour train journey, you can get to London in less if you are willing to pay through the nose, not that the train would be cheap with an estimated cost of £55 on the train or £60 for a friends petrol.

I threw 4 smaller mugs with varying success during yesterday, the tallest one was a demo for my 6 year old cousin and 3year old nephew, as I was pulling the spout for it my nephew jumped on the shimpo's pedal sending it spinning and scared me half to death.

These are the various vase forms I have thrown after they have been trimmed and chattered which I seem to do more and more but I am trying to make very deliberate decisions about these details now.

Someone when I was in my first second year at University said that throwing small was harder than throwing big, and in someways it is to be that fine and delicate and produce something that is a miniature version of what I have been working on.  I made them because I was cold at 3pm and if I throw I get warm quick, or maybe I just forget that I am cold.  I found a couple of bits of scrap clay in a few different bags and decided to throw the pieces I had.

This is the second tallest of the miniature pots next to a full size one that is just under 30cm.

I think I am going to try and work on storage jars, but I need to produce some more domestic ware as I have been avoiding it.  I have to make another 17 small bowls at some point.  I filled a box with all the bisque pieces that I have done and it is now safely at the shop waiting for some bookings.

I want to experience some more good pots, I don't want to have to wait till all the events in the summer.

It is looking more and more like I need a reduction kiln, I hate not being able to do it myself, I feel so helpless.

Well I'm off to paint now.



I first saw a Tyg 3 years ago when I was doing a tourism project for University and the Tutor took us into the Harris Museum Preston to have a look at all the pottery there because they have a very large collection of pottery, not much from the last 100 years but it is extensive before then.  Where there they showed us what they called a Tyg which was a big mug with multiple handles.

Skip forward to last year and I was reading Paul the Potter's blog and he made a vessel that he called a wassail,  though I couldn't remember what they called them, so I contacted the Harris Museum and got told the were called Tyg's and if I made one they show the pot across all their sources of facebook and twitter and all their e-news feeds.

So over a week ago I made not one but three.

 the one on the left was made from a kilo of clay and the one on the right 50grams, as I decided to make a miniature version to see if I could make handles small enough, I just rolled a coil and then flattened it out.
This one is made from 2 kg of clay and is over double the volume of the 1 kg version.


Lancaster Exhibition

As I mentioned in a previous post I am in an exhibition at Gallery 23 in Lancaster which is our county town.  My friend works up in Lancaster and took some photographs for me as I have been unable to travel there as it takes forever to commute there as a non driver.

 The middle two shelves contain all my work, it is made with a "porcelain white" stoneware, it isn't the nicest clay to throw and resists heavily anything you want to do with it and it would rather "snap off2 the wheel head as you are trying to put finishing touches to it than do what you want.

 This is a teapot by Dave Harper my old Head of Course at UClan, the stand is stoneware, but the teapot I think is slipcast porcelain.
And these final pieces are by Geoff Wilcock the technician at UClan who was instrumental in inspiring my throwing and taught me how to centre clay and make some basic forms a few years ago.  His Porcelain Teapots are made by throwing the clay in a tall form drying the surface and then stretching them out, it was always interesting watching this happen.  His work is thrown at what seems to be twice the size and then shrinks every firing it is in.


The 30cm barrier or how I can't break it

I suppose like most potters you eventually want to make something a little bigger, I know I do and it has been my goal for weeks and every now and again I try to throw something big.  The biggest I can throw is about 30cm and I can't manage any higher, no matter how many times I pull up once I get to that hight I can't break that size and then of course when you shape something it gets even smaller as you give it belly it loses a few centimetres.

Throwing big is something I never really did at university but it is something I want to get better at, I want to make anything I set my mind to.  I know to get really big I need to throw in 2 or 3 parts, but I want to see what the biggest I can personally do with one lump of clay.

This was the first pot I threw today, the ball of clay was about 2.6kilos and the final height is under 10inch.  the clay was hard and I fought with it to centre it and then once I did so I made them same mistakes I always do but as I finished it I had the idea of starting a little smaller and trying to see if that would work better for me, slow things down and try and relax into it.
This is the result of relaxing the pot just behind this one is the one from the previous image, this is clearly bigger and was about 1.7kg so almost a kilo smaller, not sure I like the top of the pot but regardless I learnt a lot from this and gained some insights in pulling up the clay more efficiently and actually started with the clay in a much flatter disk.
After the success of 1.7kg I moved onto a 2.2kg lump of clay.  With the final pull I used a rib and it gave me a much nicer final surface than just ribbing it off after I had finished.
Once again 2.2kg mainly due to it being the last piece of clay in the bag. I worked with the shape a little more to make it feel just that bit narrower
This is the table I tend to sit at to draw and read, it faces the door so I can also look up and see the world passing me by.  I have been reading the Craft of the Potter again, this is the first book that I read whilst at university that helped me understand the actual formulation of a glaze rather than all the other books I read. 

These two things are something I am working on to be a bit more whimsical than the rest of my work and are something that I can use to help fill my kiln when I need a few more tall things.