02 March 2015

another challenge underway

I have been invited to take part in the Inner City Clayworkers Annual Garden Show.

So happy :)

One of my pig sculptures will be going and I'm working on some planter pots...

Given that here in Oz our plant pots mostly stay outside all year I decided to use a clay that will take the changes in temperature.  While my place rarely gets a frost being not too far from the sea, who knows where their new home may be?

So that meant some reclaiming of a suitable clay.  A stoneware with grog... crumbs of pre-fired clay mixed through the raw clay.
reclaiming clay for pots
It is not an easy clay to throw on the wheel as the grog is tough on the skin.  Somehow I do like throwing with this clay.  Perhaps because the results are so different from my usual work thrown with a smooth clay.

I had enough clay to make three pots... they have been trimmed now and look promising.

the saucer is thrown at the same time as the bowl of the pot

This one has a different shape but still the all in one saucer

No saucer with this one

























they are now going to be left to slowly dry to leather hard stage when I will decorate them...

So far so good...


20 February 2015

First firing and the Matchbox Show

As is often the case with potters, I haven't posted for a while as I've been busy making!

this one broke but I had more so it didn't matter
 and Firing!

I fired my first bisque firing and all went well:
Top Shelf prior to bisque



Bottom Shelf after bisque

I then prepared for my first glaze firing and was very conscious of the deadline for an exhibition and wanting to leave time to refire if needed...

The bisque firing showed that the lower shelf could be hotter than the top shelf.  I also wanted to include more jewellery pieces in the glaze firing so packed it differently.

Top Shelf after glaze firing - check the top back right pot 

Lower shelf after glaze firing


Hind sight is a great thing and inspite of being told by more experienced potters I should either put 'setters' under my glazed pots or at least put kiln wash on the shelves I hastily went ahead and of course for the first time ever the glaze ran.  I also upped the temperature higher than the suggested schedule of the kiln maker.  Ah we live and learn from our mistakes...

remains of glaze and pot stuck to shelf

underside of pot which stuck to shelf, Note clay pulled off pot by glaze run.

As it is I have a half kiln shelf that is damaged.  I may be able to clean it up but won't know until I try and I'll be sure to get some kiln wash before doing another glaze firing.


Fortunately all my work for The Matchbox Show's Fifth Anniversary Exhibition is fine and now on its way.

Here is a preview

A mix and match of ideas, all in Keanes Porcelain and some embellished with gold.

If you are going to be in Brisbane between the 10 - 21 March 2015 then I hope you will call by the gallery and have a look at the show.  I am thrilled to be included with some amazingly creative ceramic artists from across Australia..


31 January 2015

New Studio now up and running!!

I am so happy tonight - I have been throwing for the first time this year and better still - using my wheel in my newly refurbished studio.

It now looks light and fresh and an inspiring place to create pots!!
looking from the door towards the back wall - oh look a brand new kiln too!

looking from the back wall to the front doorway

Here is what it used to look like:



My very clever husband has rendered the walls the ceiling and painted it all.  Put in an exhaust fan for my kiln and made a table/batt storage with a fibre board top.  My very clever son has welded a stand for my kiln which now also has a fibre board shelf under it for props and shelves...

Still a few little bits to tidy up (OK, a lot of clay to be sorted) but my extruder is back on the wall , the notice boards will soon be back up too.

I am working towards an exhibition in Qld at the end of the month and needed a few more pieces to fill my kiln before firing it for the first time.

I am inspired by this slowly opening Magnolia bud  and have been throwing small vases today..

Very exciting --- watch this space...

19 January 2015

Glazed and Confused visit to local gallery

I've had a lovely few days with the visit of my friend in clay, Ellen Appleby.

Ellen was in town for the weekend and we had a lovely time getting to know each other better.

My hard working husband took some time off renovating my studio to come along to brunch at a local cafe on the river...
we had a lovely stroll after our meal...

today we attended the exhibition at the local Regional Gallery, Hazelhurst where we saw the exhibition called :Glazed and Confused.

Its an interesting exhibition as it includes artists who have never worked with clay before so their approaches are varied and the lack of technical skills has meant the results are quite different to what you would expect from a ceramics exhibition.  All the artists were part of a residency program which included time in the Ceramic Design Studio.

Here is a clip about the exhibition by the artists:

the video clip

Many of you also follow me on Facebook - here is a link to my Fb page, Anna's Ceramics

The lovely Debby Gower nominated me to take part in the "sharing pottery pics" activity that is bringing in some wonderful pots.
Here is one of my images from Day One of the Five Day challenge:



Now that I almost have my studio back with a new kiln I hope to get back to this type of work.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

14 January 2015

Visit to see Andrei Davidoff's pots at Vaucluse House and a history lesson

A hot day in Sydney today - over 34 degrees Celsius in the city which is usually cooler than the suburbs.
Visiting a historic home, Vaucluse House which faces the inner harbour, we discovered how they managed without any air-conditioning.  The house is built of Sydney sandstone and the walls are very thick which acts as a natural insulation.  With all the windows open the sea breeze keeps the place comfortable, though of course they would have been wearing heavier clothes than we wear today. No shorts and thongs back then.
Our guide for the day was very knowledgeable and took us in past some of the normal barriers for a closer view in a few rooms. (We found a pair of Wedgwood urns around a corner).

We had a light lunch in the tearooms before looking around the house.  As you might guess there was a pottery connection.
Melbourne potter, Andrei Davidoff had a residency there in 2014 and his works are still on display throughout the house.

Works by Andrei Davidioff display in the 'Dairy Room' at Vaucluse House "Solitary Shade"
From the dairy room where the milk was stored and butter made to the main reception room, his works fit in beautifully with the home and relate to the history of the Wentworth family who were the original owners of the building and grounds prior to the Government purchasing the property way back in 1910 to preserve our history.

This collection is about the hierarchy of society and is displayed in the upstairs hallway.

There are a series of these black urns which are inspired by an antique piece in the room.  Andrei has made several of these, each one representing a member of the Wentworth family.

The reception room and dining room were furnished with pieces that belonged to the Wentworth family.

William Charles Wentworth was a radical in his time.  He took his family back to England on more than one occasion but created quite a stir in Sydney society in his day.  Click here for a biography.

 Its great that the surrounding grounds have also been preserved and include the stables, the kitchen garden and the 'Pleasure Garden'.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Wentworth family.  My main knowledge previously was of Wentworth as one of the explorers who was one of the first whites to cross the Blue Mountains -
His adventurous spirit, drought, and the desire to discover new pastures led him in May 1813, in company with William LawsonGregory Blaxland, four servants, four horses, and five dogs, to take part in the first great feat of inland exploration, the crossing of the Blue Mountains. (quote from biography)

His wife was not accepted at first by Sydney Society but after living in England and travelling to The Continent and being accepted in high society there, on her return, things were different.

Don't you love it when your interest in pottery leads to a lesson in history.  Thanks to Andrei Davidoff for giving me a reason to visit Vaucluse House.

07 January 2015

The Sydney Punch Bowl and Tales of a Red Clay Rambler

I found this interesting little book in the local library ceramics section about a punch bowl.
The Sydney Punch Bowl was made in China in the early 1800s before England and Europe had discovered the secrets of making porcelain.

Highly valued, the Chinese porcelain punch bowl in this case, would have been made as a blank undecorated piece in the city of Jingdezhen in China.  It was then commissioned by someone with Australian connections to be decorated with scenes of the fledgling city of Sydney. This probably would have been done in Canton as there was very restrictive access to China by foreigners.

I can't help but think of the connections many Australian ceramic artists have today with Jingdezhen.  For example, Janet De Boos has in the past, designed works to be produced there in relatively small runs and then sold through major department stores back in Australia.

Some Australian ceramic artists go to Jingdezhen to take part in workshops to produce bodies of work which are then displayed or sold in Australia. Others just go for the experience of working with a township with a centuries long tradition of porcelain production.

If you like history books this one also has many illustrations of early Sydney taken from various prints and drawings of the time.

Cover of 'The Sydney Punchbowl' by Elizabeth Ellis  ISBN 987-1-875567-72-0

 The bowl has monogrammed initials in gilt which over time have been almost completely erased so the intended first owner is some what of a mystery.  The punchbowl is now part of the collection of the Mitchell Library in Sydney.  There is also mention of a second punchbowl which is held at the Maritime Museum in Sydney which was bought back from an American collector.

Not sure about you, but I really am not fond of housework so to keep me going this morning while I clean I have been listening to a pod cast from the collection by Ben Carter, the American potter.  Here is a link to his blog where you can find a link to his pod casts:
 http://www.carterpottery.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/welcome-to-tales-of-red-clay-rambler.html

I was listening to his interview with Australian ceramic artist/potter, Mel Robson.  Look for Episode 76 if you would like to listen.  Mel Robson worked in her city studio in Brisbane and then moved to the very centre of Australia, Alice Springs, where her work has undertaken a big change.  This link shows images of her past and present work..  very interesting..  Click Here

or see her on Instagram Click Here:

And like me you love images more than text so look at this sweet little flower I found on my morning walk...


02 January 2015

Promise and knolling

You might remember a post back in November (see here)  where I was experimenting with throwing heart shaped bowls... I picked them up recently and am quite pleased with them so far.  I will need to hone my technique and if I'm firing in my own kiln they will be glazed differently as these were fired in a gas kiln and I have an electric kiln...




The red ones are glazed with copper red, the green is a celedon with some cutout prints that didn't work very well.  Remember that lesson Anna!  The white one is a clear glaze that was too thick.

Have you heard of Knolling?  I hadn't until recently.  It is  "the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organisation."

I've been having a dabble and quite like it, what do you think?

Bisque fired porcelain pendants and buttons

a combined collection of fresh plant (Hibbertia scandens) and the molded and saggar fired porcelain leaves

 Hope to see you over on Facebook - Anna's Ceramics

2015 is here and the reno has started!

The New Year has started and I'm hoping for great things...

starting with the renovation of my studio by my extra clever husband.  He is doing a light render on the walls and filling all the cracks where the lizards get in and poop on my stored equipment...  It will be lighter and brighter and ORGANISED and just a wonderful space in which to Create.


It started with this hole in the wall for the extractor fan for my new kiln..

















Then I had to move everything so that the back walls could be accessed...

Next the fan was installed...

Then the walls were started...  it will have to be left to dry for a couple of weeks before the walls can be painted...

So in the mean time I am sorting through all my bits and bobs and trying to be ruthless about discarding those "just in case" pieces of junk that most potters seem to collect.  You know, the ones that will make terrific texture "one day" or those test tiles that you are no longer sure what the code on the underside relates too!!


31 December 2014

Happy New Year and here is to a great 2015

All the best to all my followers, hope your 2015 is all you might hope for, Good health, lots of love and wonderful clay creations.

23 December 2014

Merry Christmas


Dear Blogger Friends

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year



Thanks for your support  this year and I look forward to bigger and better clay play in 2015