28 June 2015

Busy in the studio

It's a while since I posted...

For the very good reason that I am busy making teapots for the Sydney Teapot Show. Yes, still at it..  the weather has been cold and wet so things have been slow to dry enough to trim...

While waiting for one lot to dry I started with a different clay, white this time...

teapots are made up of a lidded vessel, a spout and a handle

managing all those elements so that they dry at a similar rate and can be joined together can be tricky even when the weather is good...

The teapots are all put together ready to be decorated so I threw some tea bowls to match...

while waiting for the bowls to dry the decorating could be started...

these are being hidden until the show opens...

I'm using underglazes but also a product called graphite paper to inscribe my design onto the teapot bodies and lids..

so at last all the pieces are complete... now to let them all get dry so I can begin the firing and glazing process.

Time for some soup.. vege soup made even tastier with Bay Leaves grown at the home of Dawn Whitehand.  After visiting while on holiday near her, I came away with so many leaves!!  I have a big jar full in the pantry now... they should see me through the winter of soups and casseroles, thanks Dawn :)

I've also been meeting up with pottery friends during the week, we went to see an exhibition called "Hands On" in the Palm House at the Botanic Gardens.  The exhibition was put on by a group of friends, many of whom belong to  the Port Hacking Potters Group.

Amanda and Janet at the "hands on" exhibition at the Palm House in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

Sculpture and pots by Bob Wood
Pots by Jitka K
Mugs by Jitka K (love the way they are displayed) 

Ceramic art and paintings by Rosalie Duligal

leaves on the path from the Gingko tree

the Gingko tree still has leaves in the balmy harbour side gardens

Thanks for dropping by and see you over on Facebook...

14 June 2015

New Friends, an exhibition plus teapots

I've had a busy week.

More work on those teapots I started the week before... they are under wraps for now. Literally to slow their drying but also to keep them a surprise until they are ready for the Sydney Teapot Show.

blending underglaze colours to decorate teapots

Then it was onto throwing more teapots with a white clay this time

teapot lids are often thrown upside down

I met a new friend, Amanda Bromfield who is a ceramic sculptor and caught up with another friend  I don't see very often, Tanya of Hop'n Frog Pottery..

The three of us met up at the Kerrie Lowe Gallery in Newtown.

We enjoyed seeing the Printed Image exhibition. There are so many talented ceramic artists in this show...

including Ellen Appleby from Noosa who somehow has managed to print on both sides of these "postcards".. so clever

"postcards" by Ellen Appleby with 'nests' by Elaine Bradley in the background
Its always nice to make new friends and potters are generally a friendly bunch so I hope its not too long before we catch up again..

I've been checking out some of my past teapots and seeing which ones I like and how I might improve on the designs...

This one was made for my great niece and included cups and saucers

white stoneware thrown on the wheel.  Green glaze fired to stoneware then refired with violet decals. (2007)

the next week will be busy finishing the white clay teapots and getting them decorated... hope you have a lovely week... maybe I'll see you on Facebook :)

07 June 2015

Teapots underway

It is the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend here in Sydney NSW...
Many people will be starting their holiday in the Snowy Mountains (about 380 Km away) where there have been early snow falls.
Perisher Valley Snow Resort

For me it means some time in the studio

Wheel thrown teapot parts

I have started throwing teapots..  I am using a relatively new clay called Ironstone which is, as the name suggests, high in iron oxide but unlike terracotta clay, this one will fire to high stoneware temperatures.

The Sydney Teapot Show has some interesting sections this year and I'm hoping for a rustic look..

Well known ceramic artist, Vipoo Svirilasa is calling for contributions to a large installation he is putting in place at the Shepparton Art Museum soon.  I've sent off a few seconds for him to use along with the plastic and other cast-offs the art will include...

So, teapots on the work list for the foreseeable future but also meet ups with other potters in the coming week, so do call by again soon..

02 June 2015

Nice to be noticed - thank you :)

Once again this blog has had a mention on the Clay Blog Review...

You might like to check out some of the others listed ... see you back here soon


26 May 2015

New Fruit Bowl

 Sorry about the shadows... I just snapped this pic on the kitchen bench...

I am quite pleased with how this bowl turned out...

The colours were stamped underglazes but on top of the white glaze...

so I now have a new fruit bowl..

I spent the afternoon decorating these bottles I threw last week

It could be a few weeks before these are glazed as I am planning on starting on teapots in my next throwing session.

I have tested glazing over terrasiggulata with one of these 'rosemary planters' from the Anzac exhibition: 

Just the one at this stage but if it works they will become wine bottle holders.  

Thanks for dropping by my blog...

17 May 2015

Potters helping Timor/Leste

I love the generosity of potters...

One of my friends is organizing a charity event in Noosa Qld where potters donate bowls which are then filled with food for which they buy a serve and the money raised goes to a charity to help the women of East Timor (Now known as Leste). A form of "Empty Bowls" event.

After gaining their freedom from Indonesia the little country of East Timor is still doing it tough.

Here is a link to Ellen's website for details of the event: http://www.ellensappleby.com.au/#!Slow-Food-Empty-Bowls-Lunch/cvqq/555171640cf23d01648bc9d1

I've sent along two of my bowls and other members of the Port Hacking Potters Group have also donated bowls.  I hope it is very successful.

Wheel thrown, water etched bowls.  Dark Celedon Glaze fired to 1280 deg C in Reduction.

08 May 2015

A Potters April Autumn Holiday

I'm not long back from a lovely though short holiday down South in Victoria and through the Snowy Mountains to get there and back.. (click on the highlighted names for more information).

We stopped off in the Snowy Mountains to drop off our bird with a family member to look after while we were away.  Monty likes a car ride.

Travelling through the Snowy Mountains we stopped for a break at a little cafe in Khancobban which had this lovely Gingko or Maiden Hair Tree taking on its autumn colours.

 Our second night was in the lake side town of Yarrawonga where I met up with hobby potter, Dave.  We had made contact through Facebook and he agreed to meet up.  Generously inviting us to his home to meet his wife and see his studio space.  Dave also helps out at the local school and is involved in a project to make red poppies for an event in August.  Self taught, Dave brings a great enthusiasm to his work.  His 'have a go' attitude is inspiring.
As an example he made these objects from Blue Tack to then make a plaster mould and cast as jewellery. What an innovative idea!

The third night saw us in central Victoria in the town of Ballarat.  It was a boom town in the time of the Gold Rush and has some beautiful architecture. The older buildings are in the main business area. Where we were staying had been added to in the 1900s and had beautiful art nouveau decorations.

stained glass window of our accommodation built in the early 1900s

wonderful tiling along corridors (early 1900s)

Nearby was the site of the only armed rebellion in Australia, the Eureka Stockade. (link to story).  There is now an information centre and park on the site.
artist impression of the Eureka Stockade
sculpture at the Eureka Stockade memorial site

We were there for a week and enjoyed a trip to the Ballarat Art Gallery, the town of Daylesford and a day in the other gold rush town, Bendigo.

It just so happens that the first of my father's family to come to Australia landed in Bendigo in the early 1850s.  We went to the Bendigo Library and the very helpful social history librarian helped us find out where he and his wife were buried in the cemetery at Kangaroo Flat just outside the town.

The grave was in surprisingly good condition which was a comfort some how..  one of their daughters must have installed the headstone after their mother died or perhaps their only son helped to arrange it after their mother died.  The only son, my great great grandfather left Victoria to be a coal miner in Newcastle NSW.

Bendigo is now home of the Bendigo Pottery.  They were established in 1858. At first they made mostly bathroom and drainage ware but as the years progressed they became known for their homewares.  There is an interesting history self guided history tour with recorded voices conversing about their work as it would have been and the original bottle kilns are still standing much like those in Stoke on Trent in England.
mannequin showing how product was carried to the kilns when they used the bottle kilns

mannequin shovelling coal into kiln as part of  Bendigo Pottery history tour

They also provide a potter demonstrating and the chance to have a lesson on the pottery wheel.  I had a nice chat with the potter that day, Graham Masters.

chattering tools
Graham was decorating bowls he had thrown the day before with the technique called 'chattering' which puts an interesting mark on the pots in a pattern which a master-potter such as Graham is able to vary by changing the tilt of the tool against the spinning pot.  He makes his own tools from old paint scrapers.

trimmed and chattered bowls

Bendigo Pottery yarn bowls made by Graham Masters

The buildings in Bendigo also reflect the boom times of the Gold Rush era

I liked the feel of Bendigo and would like to return one day.

Back in Ballarat we met up with another Facebook friend, Dawn Whitehand.  Dawn is a Visual Artist and writer.  Dawn's book on pit firing, "Pit Firing Ceramics Modern Methods, Ancient Traditions" is excellent and she was kind enough to sign my copy for me.

Here is a link to her site where you can buy a copy for yourself: https://dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com/publications/

Dawn generously invited my husband and I to her property where I enjoyed looking around her studio and garden and seeing her versatile pit where her firings take place.

It was lovely to receive one of her pieces, thank you Dawn. It is now with my other treasures from my pottery travels.

Pit fired Pod by Dawn Whitehand
On the way home we stopped off in the town of Shepparton for a quick visit to the Shepparton Art Museum which specialises in ceramics.

Their permanent collection is well worth the visit with early examples of Australian Studio Pottery and also exhibits contemporary artists such as Stephen Benwell.

Here are some more pics from there: 

an early example of a Paul Davis urn

Stephen Benwell display

display of early work by the Boyd family including Arthur Boyd and Merric Boyd

Well worth the visit if you are in the area.  They also run a competition for Indigenous Ceramic Artists.

Back in NSW and leaving the Snowy Mountains behind us I was taken by the wonderful autumn colours of the trees and paddocks.

It was a short holiday but very refreshing.

05 May 2015

Listed on Blog Review

Thanks to my Fb pottery friend, Dawn Whitehand of Clay Motion,  for alerting me to the fact I was listed on Pottery Review back in March...

Here is the link: http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/clay-blog-review-march-2015/

Its a great site that I visit from time to time so its very nice to be included.

I've been on a holiday to Victoria and will be posting all about it very soon..

when I've downloaded the heap of photos!

14 April 2015

Labourers, Luminaries and Lieutenants Exhibition

On Friday I will be delivering artwork for an exhibition being run to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC's Day.  A National memorial day in Australia.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is celebrated on the 25th April each year. "It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War." The Anzac's fought at Gallipoli in World War One.
It is not a glorification of war but rather remembering with respect those who died in past conflicts.

Anzac Day is remembered in various ways, from special biscuits to games of 'Two Up'..

As London remembered the loss with the red tide of ceramic poppies, Australians will be taking part in many memorial activities this year.

The college I attended is putting on an exhibition to remember the many who contributed to the nation during WW1.

My grandfather joined up in the last year of the war leaving behind my grandmother and two little boys. Fortunately he returned though his health was damaged.

My father attended this college as a young man training to be an industrial electrician.  He was not allowed to sign up for military service for WWII as he was classed as Essential Personnel and sent to keep munitions factories running among other services.

I created this artwork during my Art History classes and it has been accepted for the exhibition.
It should be an interesting and moving collection.

 The artwork shows the three generations of men in my family and their involvement in WW1 (my grandfather) WWII (my father) and Vietnam (my brother).

I will also include a pot or two or three of the herb rosemary which we use for remembrance and in particular remembrance on ANZAC Day.
the large pot was thrown on the wheel from one ball of clay - the others too but obviously not such a large ball :)