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Sunday Studio Visit – Mothers day

Today is Mothers Day and my mum, sister and son are visiting – so I am not doing anything in the studio today. My other sister is away on holidays in Western Australia, and my other son in the midst of travelling around Australia in a caravan! So it the three of us – plus hubby!

So I will share with you what I would’ve done today, but did yesterday instead, because I knew I couldn’t do it today – wow, how complicated!

You may remember from my last post that I threw lots of bowls, earrings holders, yarn bowls and oil burners a few days ago. So today (yesterday) I turned and carved everything ready for drying, bisque firing and then glazing. I am quite happy with how everything turned out – and even experimented with a prototype for a light/lamp shade.

One of the freshly turned yarn bowls is already SOLD after sharing the image below on my INSTAGRAM account – so get in fast!!

Here is a gallery of the finished freshly turned pieces…. looking forward to seeing how they turn out after gazing!

 

 

Busy Afternoon in the Studio!

Phew – it has been a busy afternoon making in the studio!

A combination of being ‘sold out’ and custom orders in my ETSY shop meant I was making yarn bowls, oil burners, earring holders and tapas bowls. It is Autumn here at the moment (though it feels like Winter), so these creations will be ready for turning and cutting on Wednesday afternoon – I think!

The yarn bowls need the needle holes and yarn spiral cut out; the earring holders need the earwire holes cut; and the oil burner need the candle hole and oxygen holes cut out.

This is a delicate operation as applying too much pressure while cutting can cause warping after glaze firing – clay has a memory, which means that the clay particles remember how they have been aligned and stretched! Clay is a living being!!

I also made a set of tapas/dipping bowls for a local restaurant. Yesterday I delivered a set of coffee/soup cup and saucers to this restaurant, and they placed another order – yay me!!

Well, that’s a wrap for today! I’m a bit tired!! See you next time 🙂

 

Sunday Studio Visit – bits and bops

Happy Sunday everyone!

Last Sunday I shared with you some bowls I was making as a custom order from my ETSY shop which was to be a wedding present. I said I would post an image of the bowls mid-week….. but life just got too busy and I didn’t 😦

However, here is a pic now! I was happy with the bowls, their uniformity and the finished glazed product which strengthened the uniformity of the set further. The bowls were sent on Wednesday with loads of bubble wrap, so I hope the newly wedded recipients love them too!

Dawn Whitehand ceramic bowl set

As far as today goes, I have FINALLY gotten around to glazing the pumpkin plate sets I made almost a year ago – I know it was this long ago because they were made with last years pumpkin leaves from the garden.

Plates impressed with Pumplin Leaves

Plates impressed with Pumplin Leaves

Hopefully – all things being equal – these plates will be finished in time for the BOAAmerch Showroom opening this coming Friday night.

Dawn Whitehand pumpkin leaf plates

I also listed a pumpkin plate in my ETSY shop tonight which I made during the same time last year – I had listed one a few months ago, and this is another in a different glaze. I think it looks pretty cool! The glaze is ovenproof, microwave proof and dishwasher safe, making it ideal for everyday use as a serving plate and for warming up and cooking food!

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Well, that’s about it for today’s studio visit – hopefully see you midweek!

Sunday Studio Visit – reduce, reuse, recycle

During the week hubby broke a wine glass (again) and blamed the dishwasher (again). It seemed a shame to throw away yet another glass so I decided to have a bit of fun.

About a week prior hubby had also broken a hanging terrarium in the bathroom. I had salvaged the cactus and moss and stones and had them stored in a plastic bag. So I decided to cut down the broken wine glass and create a mini succulent garden!

I cut the glass using a diamond rotary cutting tool on my dremel. Then I smoothed down the rough edges with silicone carbide paper in varying textures, finishing with the finest.

While the edges were smooth and not sharp they were a bit uneven – it was the first time I had used the dremel in this way. So I applied some copper foil used for leadlighting to the edge.


Next I planted my rescued cactus and moss, and planted a cutting of succulent from my garden. I think it looks pretty cool!

I find it important to recycle and reuse as much as possible, especially in the current political state of climate change scepticism.

I also consider it important because as a ceramic artist I do use alot of gas, water and electricity. My clay and glaze ingredients have a large carbon footprint also, in terms of miles travelled and mining.

I try as much as possible to offset this footprint by growing as much food as possible, composting waste, not using chemicals when cleaning, being a vegetarian, and of cause recycling as much as possible.

 


Apart from that I am also firing the kiln today. The kiln contains the set of custom bowls I posted about last week and some student works. Tomorrow I will be glazing the bowls and reloading the kiln for glaze firing. Hopefully all will be on track to post the order on Tuesday.

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All going to plan I will post a pic of the finish bowls on Tuesday before I package them up.

Until then, have a great week!

Sunday Studio Visit …. custom orders!

I haven’t posted for a while (again)…. what is my ‘excuse’ this time?

Hubby & I have been busy trying to finish the deck we started a year ago! After the initial build winter hit Dunnstown and building was pretty much ruled out. Add to that the ill health I had for most of last year and building was impossible.

So, now that the nicer weather is upon us and my health is in recovery mode we wanted to get the deck finished before it stretched out to a second year – plus we (and our friends) are hanging out for a deck party!

So yesterday I oiled the floor of the deck, but I couldn’t put a second coat on today because it rained all day – thankyou Ballarat summer! But progress was still made – hubby put together the steps (with a little help from me) … and they look great!

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But in the studio for today, I have been working on a custom order I received through my ETSY store for a set of bowls. The bowls are a wedding present and are to be personally inscribed on the base – so the pressure is on. It is a big responsibility to make quality tablewares at the best of times – but a personalised wedding gift really heightens the concept of well designed handmade products.

This is the bowl that inspired the custom order and is currently available as a single bowl in my ETSY shop….

Dawn Whitehand - wheelthrown bowl

Dawn Whitehand – wheelthrown bowl

And this is today’s effort in the studio. I am happy with the uniform shapes and sizes, so think they will be successful as a ‘set’ of bowls. The order is for a set of eight so I made twelve, just to be on safe side. The remaining four will make it into my shop if they all fire successfully – if not hubby will get them (the cook of the house) 🙂

Dawn Whitehand pottery bowls

So, that’s it for today’s visit….. have a great week 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit…. custom orders!

I have been very busy this past month, with catching up after being ill for a while (Winter/Spring bugs), and also quite a few custom orders. So yesterday (Sunday) I was very busy, therefore I am writing this a day late.

In my last Sunday studio visit post I showed you a picture of the 200 snow flakes I was glazing for a custom order I received through my ETSY shop. Well, the glazing is finally all done, and now I am threading ribbon through them all for hanging!! What a job!

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Besides that order, I also am working on custom orders for some focal beads, some champagne flutes and a coffee cup.

Overall its been a very busy October with lots of orders and purchases coming through my Etsy shop …. here’s a few of the items that have found new homes this month – some within Australia and some overseas.

And of course there is always the customary kiln firing – this firing is full of students works, plus the custom champagne flutes.

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Well, that’s about all I have time for – back to snow flake threading!

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Sunday Studio visit – Glazing in the Studio

Its a bit of a dreary Sunday today with lots of (more) rain! So I have been catching up on some glazing in the studio….

{insert pic here} oops sorry folks, forgot to take it!! lol….

Glazing of children’s works created during the school holiday workshops a couple of weeks ago – during the workshops we made Christmas plates and decorations decorating them with coloured slips…. so today I applied a clear glaze to the kids plates and decorations which will make them shiny:

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The other glazing I began was the custom order I have for two hundred (yes 200) Christmas snow flakes which i received via my ETSY shop. the test turned out great so I am doing the mass production thing for a couple of days!!

Dawn Whitehand

If you would like to place a Christmas decorations order best do it NOW to ensure pre xmas delivery – message me here or place a custom order through ETSY 🙂

And of course the kiln is loaded with the glazed lovelies from today!! And overseen by the kiln goddess…

Dawn Whitehand

Well that’s about it for today – have a great Sunday/Monday/Week 🙂

 

 

 

Teepee Firing – experimental low fired ceramics

As readers may know I am somewhat a specialist in pit firing, having explored it extensively during my PhD and then writing a book about it which you can find on lots of online book stores such as AMAZON.

Lately I have been yearning to explore more methods of alternative firing. The idea arose when my pugmill decided to die leaving me with lots of clay I haven’t had time to manually reclaim. So I thought I would make an outdoor clay kiln – this is still in the planning stage, and I hope to get it up and running (so that it is ‘fired’) before fire restrictions come in this year.

In the meantime I decided to use some of this excess clay – mainly from buckets under the potters wheels which has a high water content – and experiment with a TeePee firing. I did the firing a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had time to post it till now – it seems to be very busy at the moment!

I am lucky enough to live on a 10 acre property with lots of trees, and it has been a windy year so there are lots of blown down branches scattered around. I began by constructing my TeePee using these branches and then lining it with fence palings which I reclaimed from a neighbour a few months ago. Before lining the TeePee though, I constructed a tripod with smaller branches within the TeePee which included seeweed, cow dung, salt and some copper sulphate and nestled my pots into it.

I had previously made a series of pinch pots which were were prepared using string and copper wire wound around the pots to hold on seaweed, gumleaves and cow dung.

Prepared pots

Prepared pots

After lining the TeePee with fence palings I dipped newspaper – in two or three layers for strength – into clay slip, which I had made by using my glaze drill to mix the clay in the potters wheel slag buckets. I then lined the TeePee with this paper making sure I left I left two holes for lighting the fire and a few draft holes to feed the fire. I also left a hole in the top of the TeePee for drawing.

The firing was really fun to do and visually splendid and I was very happy with the result for a first effort and intend to experiment with this technique more.

And here are the finished pots cleaned and polished 🙂

Pot One – when the paper slip fires it creates an almost low fire sculpture, so I rescued some shards the following morning and experimented 🙂

Pot Two – love these colours!

Pot Three – great copper wire markings here!

Pot Four – love the subtlety ….

 

Sunday Studio Visit – a Sunday drive!


There was no work happening in the studio today! This week was the final week of term for teaching pottery classes from my studio, and after three weeks of being sick it was time for a Sunday drive!

This cold virus refuses to budge! It is better than it was two weeks ago, at least I feel half human now, but it just won’t release its slimy grip!

We have had lots of rain here, particularly in the past week with 54 mls overnight last Tuesday – the following morning the studio was flooded for my Wednesday class and still very damp for Thursday night and Saturday morning classes.

So DH & I decided to take advantage of the rainfall and visit a couple of the local waterfalls… yes ‘local’, lucky huh?

I didn’t take pics as there were so many people having the same idea we did! So I took a couple of videos instead. Despite being Spring it was a typically cold Ballarat day but at least the rain held off, so the brolly could stay in the boot.

The first video is Lal Lal falls, about a ten minute drive from where I live, and the second is Tretham Falls, about a fifty minute drive. The drive to Trentham was lovely with a coffee stop in Blackwood at a cute boutique cafe and then a stroll around Trentham, a quaint regional town in central Victoria, finishing with an icy cold beer at the local pub – just what we needed to finish off a busy teaching term.

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And, so without further ado here are the videos – enjoy 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – a milestone in my Etsy shop!

Today in the studio I am firing the kiln – a bisque firing, with a combination of my work and students works.

I have also finally met my milestone goal in my ETSY shop – listing 200+ items in my shop, and to celebrate I am holding a 20% discount till the end of the month – so that my 200 goal will be gone and I will have to start again!!

Use coupon YAY200 at checkout to receive your discount 🙂

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Two hundred items may not sound like much, but it is when you consider the making, the photography, the photo editing, the uploading and creating product descriptions – it is actually very time consuming! Then the marketing – phew!

My Etsy shop stocks ceramic tableware and jewellery I make, and also jewellery I make from upcycled materials such as guitar strings, marbles, buttons and repurposed beads. Each piece is unique, and make great gifts to others or yourself!!

Here are some of the products I have recently listed to achieve my 200+ inventory – enjoy and happy shopping 🙂

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