18 February 2017

the conflict of relaxation, travel and preparing for an exhibition

I have been away for nearly two weeks and had a lovely time catching up with family and pottery friends...

You would think that would be a lovely relaxing time and while it was... there was also this underlying feeling that I should be 'DOING' work for my exhibition.

Tomorrow will certainly see me getting back to work on some of my exhibition pieces... yay!!

Our holiday was something of a road trip... not really the best idea in the searing summer temperatures of 40 degrees celsius at times.

We made frequent stops to have a drink and stretch our legs...  below was a roadside stop for travellers in a small town in Northern NSW... it was good to see the river running so high at this time of year.

Photobombed by a Straw Necked Ibis..
 Once we arrived at our destination near the beach we found the water was very choppy and not very enticing for a poor swimmer such as me... I did make use of the pool at the holiday apartment.

choppy seas

an evening walk and the underside of a Pandanus tree

a market trip and a chat with a very new ceramic artist, Oskar & Koko Ceramics... so new she doesn't have an online site yet but keep a look out at the markets on the Sunshine Coast for her lovely pinch pots.
Annalisa of Oskar & Koko Ceramics at the Caloundra Markets

Pinch pot and trinket and good packaging too

My husband is not a potter but very patient and happy to take me to see my pottery friends. We took a drive further north to meet up with the talented clay artist, Ellen Appleby... have a look at her website here: https://ellensappleby.com.au/

Ellen kindly gave me this book of which she had found she had an extra copy.  Margaret Preston was an artist of the 1940s who was one of the first to use the local flora in her designs.  She also dabbled in pottery.  She is mostly known for her printmaking which were mostly wood cut prints. The book is by Deborah Edwards and Rose Peel.(2005, Art Gallery of NSW).

Thank you Ellen, I shall enjoy renewing my knowledge about this artist.

While all this is happening and is very enjoyable, at the back of my mind I am thinking about that load of bisque ware that is waiting at home... it needs more work before I can fire it again...  I need to start the next edition....

Still, more happy encounters on the way home...
We called in to see Marian of the blog: A Love Affair With Clay
if you follow Marian you will know her studio is part of an amazing barn in the country... we met through a mutual friend of the blogging world a few years ago, Adriana Christenson.  This time we did a swap and I came home with one of Marian's super spoons... look at that glaze!

From there we headed back to the coast to the holiday town of Ballina which is on the Richmond River near the sea.

While sitting on the balcony we saw a turtle feeding on the tiny fish that appear to thrive in the area... no photo of the turtle but a nice view...

Richmond River, Ballina NSW
We stayed for two nights so that we could catch up with some more pottery/clay maker folk..

Amanda Bromfield kindly hosted lunch and invited two others along, Debby Gower and Gregory Furney who I have known online but never met in person before.  
Amanda does some amazing exhibitions including an installation 'happening' concerning Domestic Violence which was called 'Gone Girl'.  There is even a video of the event which can be found on YouTube or check out her website

Debby travelled to France as part of her exhibition to do with the ANZAC centenary commemorations last year.  Her website here: https://deborahgowerceramics.com/

Gregory and his wife have an amazing home where they host workshops of all kinds including mosaics and he also has his own studio there...

Amanda and I did a swap and I came home with one of her "Gone Girl" installation yellow dresses... I think this will go to my studio as inspiration ..

"Gone Girl" installation piece. Amanda Bromfield (2016)
We visited the nearby Lake Ainsworth that afternoon.. Since then the lake has been used by bush fire fighting helicopters to contain a bush fire to the north of the lake... that is summer in Australia...

then it was back on the road for the long drive home... punctuated by a stop off for refreshments and oh look, a second hand bookshop and pottery books... 50% off the marked price... not sure how good they will be but couldn't resist..

more driving and another overnight stop
one of the older bridges along the way

then home...

and back to reality, a nice surprise in the garden...Studio here I come!

04 February 2017

bisque done

just a peek in one shelf of my bisque this week... the rest is mostly to do with my exhibition works which I want to keep as a surprise...

30 January 2017

this week - neighbours and drying

This week has been about managing the drying of my mini installation works...

The weather has been very hot and dry so it would be easy for it to dry too quickly...

I also had a visit from my neighbour and her two children.

She asked if they could see me making on the wheel... too boring for young ones I thought so I prepared some slabs as well.

They are 9 and 5 years old.  The 9 year old managed to produce a little bowl with some help while the 5 year old didn't have the interest or temperament and couldn't reach the pedal anyway.

They enjoyed decorating the slabs while Mum had a go on the wheel -- unfortunately her great expectations were disappointed so I'll have to get her back for another go on her own. (when we can both concentrate).

I'll put these in my next bisque firing and they can take them home to use.

22 January 2017

Progress and slow drying

I have been working on my latest project for a few weeks now... starting with some sketches and then deciding on what clay to use all before getting started.

I now have the main piece constructed plus the added extras that I plan to go with it to make up a mini installation...

 The main structure is based on a 1.5kg bowl...
 lots of coils  

slurry and hand tools

These rubber ended tools are great for hand building...

I needed to keep it all moist during construction...

And I'll need some more work to fill up the kiln...

These are now all drying slowly before being bisque fired...

17 January 2017

Native Violets - still flowering

The Australian Native Violet  (Viola hederacea) is a favourite of mine...

The weather has heated up again after a couple of days respite and they are still flowering...

Weather will be back up in the high 30s tomorrow... its 7pm at night and still 34 degrees Celsius outside...

A high of 32 forecast tomorrow and a bit cooler on Thursday so there must be a cool southerly on the way, hurrah!

Native Violet

14 January 2017

a big surprise and a colourful visitor

While looking around Facebook this morning I discovered this blog has been listed on Feedspot as one of the top 40 Ceramic websites and blogs... how good is that!!
You can look the others up on Facebook...

and this morning this colourful fellow came to say hello.  He brought his girlfriend back this afternoon and she let me give her some seed while I held the container so that the cheeky Sulphur Crested Cockatoos couldn't take it from her.

10 January 2017

a little progress - the story of an extruder

Getting started on my exhibition works has been quite challenging.

For one thing I am constructing a piece using thin coils and in this hot weather they are drying very quickly and some have already snapped..

In the hope of not losing too many pieces I have blended paperclay and a buff stoneware clay for colour.
blending clay - nearly there

home made extruder attached to studio wall
I have a home made extruder in my studio which I purchased from a retiring potter some years ago... I don't use it often as I prefer to throw pots on the wheel for my functional wares however, for this project it is priceless.
It came with a spare die and just as well...
top is spare die, bottom is existing die with small hole

I need two sizes of coil and so thought if I combined the sizes of hole in the one die it would save time... not quite right...

die showing new holes of two sizes

The new die worked well except for one thing.... the larger holes allowed the clay through at a faster rate so the smaller coils were not keeping up and came through much shorter... in comparison to the larger hole.

new die showing different size and lengths

Fortunately I still had the spare die... and a clever husband to drill new holes in the spare...
It has worked a treat... The old die is not lost either..  the small holes have been filled with small nuts and bolts and the larger holes can now be used on their own.

new die with small holes works well.
so we live and learn... always something new to learn when working with clay...

05 January 2017

Thank you Clay Blog Review

A big thank you to the author of the Clay Blog Review over at "Pottery Making Info" for once again including me on the list of monthly reviews of clay blogs.  This blog is on the list for December 2016.

Here is the link: http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/clay-blog-review-december-2016/

03 January 2017

2017 is off and running

Well goodbye to 2016... it was a challenging year for so many of us I do hope we can all enjoy 2017 with fewer stresses.

Having said that I have given myself a major challenge by accepting an invitation to do a duo exhibition with my friend Thea, who is a pastel artist supremeo...

Watch this space... the show isn't until August but I have a heap of work to get done ... so thankful I have my own kiln and making space. It does mean I will need to keep focused and work hard...

So I feel relieved to have been in the studio this morning to start...

I made heaps more plaster than I needed for two small moulds but by pouring the left over into an ice cream container I now have a small oblong plate hump mould which could be useful...

These will take several days if not a week to dry depending on the weather...

Have a great New Year everyone....

18 December 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Dear Friends, Followers and supporters all,

Thank you for all your lovely comments during the year, I do appreciate them.

I'm currently cooking my Christmas cake (gluten free).  A boiled one this year as I've left it so late.

May your festive celebrations be all you hope for...

Wishing you Peace and Joy and Hope for 2017