Of big pots, road trips and memberships

It has been a busy week or so for me between visits to York, Derby, Uppingham and UCLAN.  I already wrote about my visit to York previously.  I went to Derby to try a discus pottery wheel unfortunately I haven't sold the wheel I don't want any more otherwise I would have bought the wheel then and there, for such a small light wheel they are amazingly powerful and are perfect when I attend other places, it means I don't have to lug around  the Shimpo unless we are taking more than one.

We went to Uppingham to see the Nic Collins show that was recommended by Andrew Douglas, it really was amazing, the pots look so much better in the flesh and feel so smooth despite all the lumps and bumps.  It was something very different to the highly polished work you see at ceramic fairs, and is just something that isn't possible as a student at UCLAN.  I would have bought  a piece of Nic's work but I just didn't quite have enough money for the piece I wanted.

The Goldmark Gallery was amazing, especially with all the work in the basement, it was like a treasure trove, and of course there were many pots that caught my eye but there was one I especially liked even in the half light, so I bought it after trying to leave half a dozen times without it.

I went to UCLAN again because the technician Geoff is doing me yet another favour, they have been so good to me since I left.

Yesterday I also mixed up a fresh bucket of glaze ready to get on top again once I get some bisque firing done this next week.  I have storage jars and cookie jars covering the studio, so then are going to be fired up glazed and then stored as there isn't much room for them to be on display.

This is the 25 inch bottle vase from last week, it has now been moved so then it can be fired once it is dry enough.  My kilns aren't big enough for these big pots, so I am borrowing kiln space for these but I would like to construct some sort of kiln in the back garden to at least bisque them.  I don't have much money, and I was wondering if it is possible to biscuit them in a home-made raku kiln.
This pot I threw on Monday while waiting for a friend to turn up, I got a call saying he wasn't coming till after six, so I closed it up as quickly as I could, I walked home to fill a kiln and I fired it as soon as it was full.
These are Goldmark Gallery ceramics catalogues, I recommend them to anyone who is studying right now, they aren't a bad price and are full of amazing images, especially the Nic Collins one it is totally amazing.  After seeing the catalogues and the Goldmark's website my website tech guy looked at me and said we need to rebuild the website for the pottery and I totally agree we need something a little more stylish, that when galleries look at they are impressed.
This is the Mike Dodd pot that I bought, it is a Basalt Black glaze, I love how the glaze breaks apart across the details, I also love the speckles across the pot but I didn't see them for the first time until this morning when I took this shot as I had always seen it in the half light.  It is now sat on my bookcase until I find a better place.
I joined the CPA a few weeks ago and my membership came through the other day and is sat on my desk now.

Yesterday after being so busy I took the pottery back to the primary school I visited.  After the school I played on the village green with my little boy and his cousin.  There were also ducklings which the boys wanted to chase and feed.  This one duck had all those ducklings plus another three that were just out of shot.

Today I painted our kitchen ready for some shelving to go up to store pottery on while waiting to be fired.  My granddad is coming to help me put up some that was previously in my sisters house, which means the kitchen table should be freed up from being my major storage area.

I also want to work on getting into some galleries, rather than trying to do all the sales myself.  I just need to work out where I am going to get some images printed to create a gallery pack and rebuild the website to something a little more stylish.


New School House Gallery

Thursday night was the opening night of "Northern Stars" at the New School House Gallery in York.  We got stuck in traffic for an hour on the Motorway between Halifax and Leeds, so we didn't get there until 7pm, and it was very crowded, lots of people talking enjoying themselves around some amazing pottery.  It is a good show and well worth visiting.
The New School house Gallery is situated just inside the city walls in a beautiful court yard, it got very busy inside so it was good to come outside for a breath of fresh air.
This is my work sat in the window sill of the gallery looking out into the courtyard, there wasn't much space inside so it is mainly my smaller pots and none of my large platters.  I am sure that they will be out soon as there was quite a bit of work sold during the opening night as well as two of my pieces.

This week I am off to visit Discus and try out one of their wheels.  I am also going to the Goldmark Gallery to see Nic Collins work and I am so excited to go.  It looks like it will be a full car with 4 of us going up, we might end up at Valentine Clays and Hotel Chocolat on the way home but that is another story.

I need to make some more big pots this week so it will probably be one on Wednesday afternoon and as many as I can fit in on Thursday.  I also want to make some lamp bases but I am not entirely sure how big I want them... or how much clay to use, or even what sort of design to use, I think this maybe a back to paper exercise.


My obsession

Already obsessed with bigger and bigger pots I decided to buy Nic Collin's book, "Throwing Large" I had tried some of the techniques in the book to no avail as I had previously read about most of the techniques, but the book gave me fresh courage, and like always I went head on into the challenge like a man possessed.

I kept throwing cylinders and drying them with my hot air gun and trying to add coils, it would go wrong so I would cut it off and try again.  I just kept at it till it took, and then just one more layer, and another etc.

Finally I made this pot, it is made of coils from being about 6 inches tall as I kept messing up from it being about 10inches, I just kept cutting off.  But here is is with various battle scares from me not being the best at it, but I intend to keep going, bigger.  The only problem is with kilns, I can't use my own as it is only 12inch height and diameter so will be contacting people with bigger kilns.
It is so much bigger than all the other pots on my desk, none of the others are bigger than 12 inches.
This is tomorrows base, it took me 30 minutes to wedge the clay up and throw it to this size, tomorrow, I will be making coils and trying to beat 17inchs while trying to create a nicer looking pot than the base currently is. 11 inches another 11 would be nice at least.

One of the things that used to put me off of trying to make bigger things was the fact we never carried more than 8 12.5kg bags in stock at any one time, now I have almost 750kg of my own clay plus a couple of my wife's ES5 which I'm only allowed to throw with if it is too dry for her to hand build with.


New Work

So I have been very busy firing this week, going to fill another kiln for tomorrow, come Tuesday I have to start firing the children's work, it has just been a little slow with drying recently, not sure why, the weather has been nice but I have some pieces that will be from two weeks ago Monday and they just haven't dried enough to fire yet.  So I need to get them next to the kiln to dry out, I just haven't managed to transport them back as I don't drive.

A nice warm today, so very sunny it would have been a nice day to go out an paint, but we had a fun day at the shop, quite a few people through, including some old friends.

These two pots are my favourite, the taller was on the last set of photographs and the smaller piece only came out of the kiln yesterday afternoon.  After making these I want to make some more storage jars.
Really small pots with galaxy glaze on.
15cm tall Storage jar including the lid
All approximately 10cm tall
Utensil holders
10 cm tall jug