01 May 2016

Ireland and Germany - Potters and Exhibitions 2016

I'm not long home from delivering the special project pieces which were wedding favours for my son's wedding in Ireland.  I'll be posting all about those soon.

While there I visited an Irish potters' studio whose work I had admired in the Irish Design Gallery shops where I was looking for gifts to bring home.

Handbuilt chooks and cat in the Irish Design Shop by Kathy of Pottery by Kathy

Cat and Chook by Pottery by Kathy


I found Kathy on Facebook and she kindly agreed to showing me her studio.  Here is the link to her page: https://www.facebook.com/potterybykathymooney/

Spring time in Ireland (Dublin) can be rather cool (Max 12 degrees C on the warmest day) with variable weather.  We had a couple of fine days which were lovely and the daffodils were still in flower....


But some days were cold wet and miserable and it was one of those days on the day we visited Kathy.











However the welcome to her home studio was very warm and I loved the selection on the dining table and brought one of the little brooches home with me. (Too tricky to get larger pottery home in a suitcase).
Her rustic garden studio was toasty warm inside

Kathy in her garden studio with some foxes under construction

Her wonderful collection of plates has me rethinking my own collection of others pots.

After leaving Ireland we spent some time in Germany with friends...

It amazing how easily you can travel to other countries once you are in Europe.. the flight is no more than from Sydney to Brisbane and then a fast train trip and you are at your destination in no time.

 Taken from the ICE train between Frankfurt and Bonn which travels at speeds up to 300 km per hour.

My hosts for the week were friends who had stayed with us in Australia in 2014 and they made us very welcome.

Even making the time to take me to a nearby Ceramics Museum and Sculpture Walk in the town of Frechen.

example of Bellamine Jug (taken from internet)
The area has historically produced Bellamine Jugs since the 16th Century and shipped them around the world. The gallery is much bigger than it appears from the outside.  The building is a classic 1970s architect designed by Peter Neufert. The permanent collection is downstairs while upstairs is available for exhibitions by current artists.

I particularly enjoyed the current show by Petra Weifenbach which combines drawings with shards of pottery - there is a glimpse on this website here: http://www.kulturtussi.de/petra-weifenbach/
Unfortunately photos were forbidden.

Keramion Ceramics Museum at Frechen Germany
website: www.keramion.de

Keramion sculpture garden

Keramion sculpture garden

delightful drawings on the tiles in the gift shop

one of these porcelain pieces came home with me
 After a meal in a local restaurant we took a walk around the town to view the sculptural decorations dating back to the 1920s and through to the 1970s.

The collection of sculptural ceramics are dotted around several streets and my hostess was a very good map reader.
The brown panels on the building are ceramic tiles.


Town fountain depicting local workers including potters (metal but probably cast from clay sculptures)

Sundial on building

Head with tongue sticking out

Bears - the far one is holding a ball and I think the nearer one should be too...

We were lucky with the weather for our walk around and all too soon our week was over and it was time to catch the ICE train to the airport to start our long trip home.

ICE train Germany


30 April 2016

Lots to tell you about soon

I've been delivering the wedding favours to Ireland and visiting friends in Germany so have lots to show and tell once I'm over the jetlag...

19 March 2016

#SaturdayShelfie March 2016

My Saturday Shelfie today is this little pendant...

Porcelain, tissue print and clear glaze fired in electric firing to 1280C


Autumn has now made an appearance with a cooler night and morning today...

This is the last of my little self sown zinnia...


Have a great weekend...

See you over on Facebook....

12 March 2016

Saturday Shelfie - March 2016

Today's Saturday Shelfie is a pair of blue glazed pourers that will be heading for a local Art Show in the next short while.

Wheel thrown stoneware. White glaze inside, Blue Hyacinth glaze outside. March 2016

Would be nice if they find new homes to go to...

More on the art show closer to the event.

09 March 2016

Firing Complete


I've now completed the glaze firing of the last of my special project pieces...

Here is a pic of the top shelf - there are a few pieces on the other side of that cone shaped bead holder (they are not beads but are glazed all over) and the rest are on bead racks on the lower shelf.












the nichrome and kanthal wire that I use to fire beads and special pieces becomes discoloured in the high firing...




To bring them back to a nice silver colour I had a wonderful tip from bead maker extraordinaire, Carolyne Brennan  of Hot Dot Designs.  Carolyne suggested I use gilders paste and it has worked a treat.

showing discoloured wire loop


First I sand any loose metal particles off the wire using wet and dry sandpaper

gilders paste mixed with a small amount of low odour Turps


Then I paint on the gilders paste and the next day I can buff it up to a nice shine.

Fiddly but worth the effort..

I'll post an after shot in my next post...

Edit: Linda hadn't heard of gilders paste which is used mostly by metal jewellery makers so here is a pic... as you can see it comes in different colours





01 March 2016

Nice to be included in the Clay Blog Review

The Clay Blog Review over on Pottery Making Info has included one of my posts in the January Review under their Process and Techniques section.

Lovely ..

http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/clay-blog-review-january-2016/#more-2737

26 February 2016

I blew it

You just can't rush the clay...

I had this bead rack all made and ready to bisque fire...



But when I opened the kiln it was a mess -


The joins were a bit thick where I wanted the uprights supported and I guess they just were not fully dry.  The water expands inside the clay and this can be the result...

Lesson learned.

On a brighter note the special project pieces are fine and will just need a good clean before glazing.


21 February 2016

Initial stages of project complete, a bead rack and nature's wall feature

This week has seen the completion of the soft clay part of my project completed with 90 individual pieces pressed moulded.  Each of those 90 is made up of two pieces and then details are applied and a metal loop inserted to allow each one to be suspended.  They are suspended during the glaze firing which allows glaze all over and will be fitted with jewellery findings and suspended again for presentation.

hidden secret mould and tools

When I glaze fired the last batch I ran out of space on my bead racks so decided I had better make another one.

previously used bead racks.. some slab some wheel thrown types

making the slabs
I have found that the slab built type takes up less space on the shelf while allowing for a double row of suspended pieces.
New bead rack on top shelf. Cones on adjoining shelf

the ones I made originally didn't support the wire well enough (it softens at the high temperatures) so this one is a little longer overall but has a support in the centre...

Slabs are tricky when you don't make with them on a regular basis... I've managed to bend them a bit so I hope they don't bend any more in the firing.


These pots have come through the last two glaze firings and I should have them ready for sale with the Port Hacking Potters Group on Thursday 25 February at Sutherland Hospital in the foyer from 9am if you are in the area. (ready for sale means their bottoms smoothed and then priced and listed).


We have had a relatively wet summer this year which makes a nice change from the past drought years.  The garden has gone crazy and the wall outside my studio has become a living wall installation... where did those ferns come from?  We haven't grown any fishbone fern for years.




13 February 2016

Back online and the project continues

We have been without internet at home for two weeks!

A thunderstorm in the area put out phones and internet and it has taken Telstra all this time to get us reconnected! We also needed to buy a new modem but we couldn't tell until they fixed the connection...

So that has meant no blogging and limited time on Facebook too...

But hey, we are back now...

The secret project continues...  I worked in the kitchen while the kiln was firing a bisque

working on the kitchen table... some handy tools, some bought and some gifts and some found



The bisque included some new bead rack type supports which I have coated with kiln wash today

The new ones are the taller cones in the middle of this picture..




















 these are the first of the bottle pourers through the glaze firing



















The rest of the pourers were in the latest bisque firing and I plan on glazing these and some of my special project pieces tomorrow.

The weather has dried out and warmed up again bringing out many extra flowers and ripening the berries on our palm trees and lillypilly trees



it makes for a colourful time in the garden..

fingers crossed for the next glaze firing and I've almost completed the initial making of the number of pieces needed for the special project...

24 January 2016

Secret project and bottle pourers

I am currently undertaking a secret project for a family event and it is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

I need to make 80+ pieces so the idea was to form a plaster mould and then I could press mould them all.  Only thing is the item is a replica of a popular toy however I found some ice cube trays of this toy and thought great, I'll form the plaster master in the tray and then form up the working mould...

There have been a few issues to overcome not least being the lack of suppliers open over the Christmas holidays, then the masters would not come out of the working mould even though I put extra layers of mould release on them...


But then I had a good look at the back of the iceblock tray and decided there was enough detail to cast the back of the tray.  It is one of those silicon trays and so too flexible to use as the working mould.  Anyway, things are now underway.


The finished pieces will be suspended so needed wire loops inserted prior to firing.  I had a go at making these using Nichrome wire... my first efforts above... fortunately my husband is very handy and took the wire to the garage to use his 'boy toys' and came back with some beautiful even loops.

So I now have ten prototypes ready.  I'll dry them slowly and fire them as soon as I can safely do so.  This means I need other pots to fill the kiln.

So today I've made some bottle pourers...


They range in weight from 400 gms to 700gms... this style can't be too big as there is no handle.

A little decoration coming up before they go in the kiln.


We also had a visit from the local wildlife today... 

He is a juvenile Eastern Water Dragon... they venture up from a nearby creek at this time of year to feast on the fruit that drops from our palm trees.  This one appears to be shedding skin.  They have pretty markings and can grow twice the size of this one...

Thanks for dropping by and I hope 2016 has started well for you...