28 June 2016

Teapots underway - a sneak peek

The last couple of weeks I have been making teapots for the Annual Sydney Teapot Show at the Innercity Clayworkers in Glebe.

A link here to see last year's winners: http://www.clayworkers.com.au/content/sydney-teapot-show-2014

Teapots are always a little tricky for me, if only because I only make them once a year...

There are so many components to consider and make and and put together and decorate...

I do love the challenge and strive to make a better more interesting teapot each year (with mixed results)...

Here are a few of the elements that are slowly coming together...

 First I throw the body and then the lid.

I have thrown two different styles of lid this year and find that the style pictured is best if not handled until leather hard.
I stick a small batt to the wheelhead and throw the lid on that so it can be taken off easily...



Next I throw the spouts.  The weather has been so cold and damp that I threw these on a different day while I waited to be able to turn the bodies and lids.

Once the body is trimmed I can attach the spout...

first the holes need to be made - you might notice I am using a white clay and a buff clay, two of each underway..

Once the spout is on I can attach some handles (no pic) that I pull and allow to firm up first.

Then I can start to decorate.  In the one shown I am carving and adding some underglaze too... 

So there you are... maybe you will get to see the finish ones at the Teapot Show.

16 June 2016

13 June 2016

A stall and throwing off the hump

On Saturday I took part in a stall with other members of the Port Hacking Potters Group which turned out to be a good sales day for me.

my work in the front right hand side of the stall

One customer must have been doing her Christmas Shopping early!  She bought nearly half my stock plus several pieces of one of the others in our group. Wonderful!

Today is a start of my teapots for the teapot show...

to get started and back into throwing I threw some small test dishes off the hump..

This is a way of saving time and clay by centering one larger piece of clay then selecting the top and throwing your small piece and then cutting it off and going again with the remaining clay.

Picture shows larger piece of clay on the wheel and the uncut dish on top with a couple of previously thrown and cut dishes in the background.

Its a holiday weekend here and what better way to spend it than in the studio....
I hope you are having a relaxing time too.

06 June 2016

Neptunes Garden

I have been working on some pieces for an upcoming exhibition called "Neptune's Garden"

which is a fundraiser for the Sea Shepherd, Sea Shepherd Australia is a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

Not everyone agrees with their tactics however I feel their efforts are worthwhile.  

The exhibition is being held at Newtown in the restaurant called Lentil As Anything which has some great ethical ideas in how it operates.  Rather than charge a set amount they encourage patrons to pay as they feel the meal is worth.

Below are three little vases that are a part of my contribution. If you go along do let me know and maybe say hello if we meet there at the opening.

04 June 2016

Preparation for Exhibition #SaturdayShelfie

Much too wet for a market outdoors today so I have time to smooth bases in preparation for an upcoming exhibition.
So that's my #SaturdayShelfie image... there are four pots in all.

I also have another pot in the kiln being fired again as it had some glaze problems the first time around.  Fingers crossed the second firing works.

02 June 2016

Stall this Saturday 4 June


I'll be with the Port Hacking Potters at the Ramsgate Foodies Market this Saturday...

come along and say Hi and maybe buy a pot?

The markets are held at the Ramsgate Public School from 8am to 2pm..

We are usually near the back gate.

Here is a link to their website: http://www.organicfoodies.com.au/ramsgate/

28 May 2016

too cold for the studio

The top temp today was about 12 degrees Celsius... too cold for my studio..

so I brought these into the kitchen and sat at the table and decorated...

I won't show you the results yet as they are hopefully for an exhibition and it is a surprise...

the tricky bit was finding a way to transfer my drawing onto the bisqued pots...

Google came up with an answer for me... after trying a couple of other ways this simple technique of using tissue paper to trace my design with a pencil then place the tissue on the pot and trace over with a felt tip pen.  The pen goes through the paper leaving a line to then follow to either finish off your drawing with ceramic pencils or fill in with underglazes..

I'll let you know how it goes after the firing and I'll post an invitation for you too...

23 May 2016

A Notable Sunday

I had a lovely day yesterday.  First of all I had Brunch with my husband at the little cafe on the river, The Boatshed Cafe at Woronora (who stock some of my pots)  and then we stayed on to have a good look at our friends exhibition.

Jim and Janet Flood are a talented couple.  Jim is a palette knife painter while Janet is a very talented traditional potter.  Their exhibition is also part of a fund-raiser for the charity, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Aust.) Ltd. They do marvellous work for women in Africa.

There is a good write up of the exhibition here: http://www.weekendnotes.com/art-by-the-river-exhibition-at-the-boatshed/ and a link to this handy website in my blog side bar to your right.

Next we visited a local Australian Pottery Collectors market.  It was so interesting to see some very historical old pots and so good to talk with people who appreciate them.  One or two collectors also had some current makers work and I picked up this little jug by Victor Greenaway for a very reasonable price.

Victor Greenaway jug
Victor Greenaway is a renowned Australian potter who now runs pottery tours in Italy.  He came back for an exhibition in Melbourne earlier this year.

All in all a notable day.

16 May 2016

Pot in Action

#PIA or pots in action is a current hash tag showing pots being used... here is one from me...

Hand-formed plate - copper based glaze fired to stoneware in electric kiln. The cherry tomatoes are self sown from our garden.

08 May 2016

Wedding Favours - a technique using moulds

Those of you who follow my blog will know that a few months ago I was doing a special project which was the Wedding Favours for my son's wedding.

He and his bride to be had decided on a Lego theme for their wedding decorations...

This was my contribution:

There were several challenges along the way  - I hope you find this diary of the making of interest.

First of all was to agree on a design...

sorry for the sideways view... looks horizontal on the computer then posts vertically...

then I found a silicon icecube tray...

pressing the clay straight into the silicon mould was not satisfactory...

the detail was too rounded and they needed too much manipulation to remove

next I tried Casting Plaster poured into the tray...

this was a disaster as the working mould would not let go of the master pieces. Even though I went searching for special mould release when soft soap didn't appear to work.  So next I went searching for Potters Plaster.  All the pottery suppliers were on holidays.

Through the help of an Australian Facebook site for potters, "Help for Australian Potters, Tips and Advice"  I was given the name of a local gyprock/drywall/plasterer supplier and managed to buy his last bag... his new supplies hadn't arrived as it was still summer holiday time.
Again I tried pouring into the mould with similar results... I now realised the sides of the little master pieces were too straight sided.  OK for a silicon mould but not a plaster mould.
So I flipped the mould over and moulded the back.

In the meantime I purchased some lego pieces to be able to also make moulds of the hair and cap.

The first mould still had the indentations of the bracing between figures... when pressing in the clay, this caught and trapped the clay figures making it hard to remove them...

Next was to cut away the bracing and cast a second mould...

Now I was under way.

to be able to glaze them all over each figure has a pin of high fire wire in the top.  

Again finding a supplier during the summer holiday break was helped by my Facebook pottery friends and a local element maker was found to have the right size wire.

high fire wire bent into pins

 As I made a batch I recorded the numbers on my whiteboard...

some of the tools used - the components were kept in the ice-cream containers during assembly to stop them drying out
 for bisque firing they were laid flat on tiles with the wire over the side

For the glaze firings, each figure was suspended by a hook on a bead rack

I lost one in the first glaze firing when the hook stretched and allowed the figure to touch the base of the rack... the wire hooks were made shorter...

one or two figures had minor cracks where the hair or cap was joined...

Another lesson learned was that fettling the applied glaze can not be skipped... the result on one batch was this unsightly roughness.

Having completed the firings I wasn't happy with the look of the wire loops.  The wire had started to discolour at the high temperature causing it to look black... not really compatible with the white porcelain.

With the suggestion of a bead making friend I decided to use Gilders Paste to bring the wire back to a silver colour.

Gilders Paste comes in several colours and can be bought online 
showing dark colouration of the once silver wire
each wire was lightly sanded and wiped clean with a damp sponge

 The paste is easy to apply using the instructions that come with the jar.

 while time consuming the results were worth it...

The next decision was how to present them...

A key-ring was suggested... the circle had the little figures hugging together, sweet but awkward to display...

the internet was consulted and an apple shaped keyring and split rings were purchased

All pieces were then carefully wrapped for transport to Ireland... they suited the fun loving couple and their wonderful wedding.

May they live happily ever after.