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.

05 May 2016

a nice little sale

While overseas my friend took charge of some of my pots for the local Heritage Festival Artisans exhibition.

I was rather pleased to have had some sales including this "Native Violet" plate

"Native Violet" plate.  Wheel thrown stoneware, underglaze decoration 2015

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