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Pottery Coffee Mugs and Pots!

Its been a while since I’ve been on the wheel, apart from demonstrating in classes – mainly because I am so busy with classes.

Regular readers may know that last October I moved my home studio into a shop in Ballarat Central. This means I have increased my pottery classes, have introduced mosaic classes, and have also invited guest artists to run workshops. As well there are also art supplies, an exhibition space and locally made giftware. All this adds up to a very busy routine.

A little while ago, however, I received an order for some mugs, so this provided a need and some inspiration to jump back on the wheel. The order was for mugs made from BRT clay, so I conditioned a bag to make it nice and soft for fast centring and jumped in the saddle.

The order was for four mugs, so I made twelve – you never know what the kiln gods will do! Besides, I wanted a set for the shop, and I fancied one for myself.

I threw the mugs in one throwing session and finished with a tall cylinder vase using approximately 1.8kg clay, leaving it on the wheelhead to dry. I was quite happy with the result, so a few days later I threw another vase using 2.1kg of BRT clay, which you can watch in the video below.

Next I will have a go with 3kg of clay, so stay tuned!

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Finally ….. An Arty Weekend.

As some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted on this blog for months!! This is because I opened a shop in Central Ballarat where I am teaching pottery classes amongst other things.

Regular readers may know that I taught for years from my home studio which had been renovated and even extended…. but I kept outgrowing it. So in October I moved the whole shebang to the shop/studio and have been flat out ever since. The shop’s window display features locally made giftware, there is an exhibition space, art and pottery supplies, casual studio space hire, kiln service, and classes by myself and other guest artists…. you can check everything out on the ClayMotion website.

Even my weekends have been taken up lately with preserving all the goodies from our garden.

Dawn Whitehand preserving

But this weekend I decided to get back into a bit of art. One of the guest artists this month is running some acrylic pouring workshops at the studio, and being inspired, I decided to have a bit of fun at home. So I watched a few YouTube vids and plunged in!

I used coconut milk as my additive to achieve cells on all of last nights paintings, and I am going to use nail polish remover in the next batch, which I am hoping to tackle tonight. I didn’t pour my canvases over a try, but instead lay grease proof paper over newspaper. This is so that when the excess that poured off the canvases dry I can peel them off as acrylic skins. I then want to cut them into shapes and mount them in glass dome cabochons to make jewellery. So stay tuned for that blog post 🙂

Below I will explain my process for each painting … so read on!

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

This was the first painting I did, I applied the paint by layering the colours in a funnel allowing for more control of application, however I didn’t pour enough paint for it to be fluid enough. The paint was also a bit too thick, and perhaps I didn’t add enough coconut milk. So I had to spread the paint manually which blended the colours together a bit too much and no cells developed. So I decided to try a technique I saw on YouTube called the String Pull Technique, and I think it worked out quite well. After pouring the canvas a piece of string is coated with paint laid on the wet canvas in a shape – for me it was a squiggle – and then pulled off the canvas in a downward motion. I did it with white first, then black and then two with glitter gold. I then pulled a craft stick through some of the wet paint to create different effects. Here’s a vid of what I did (its quite big so keep scrolling down for more info):

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

The second painting I quite like and I created it using a dirty pour. This is when you layer the paints in a cup and then turn the cup onto the canvas and leave it to run to the bottom of the cup. Although I thinned the paint down a little it still wasn’t quite enough and I think I still needed a little more coconut milk. Although there are a few nice cells and quite a few really small ones I do like the colours and the way the overall composition turned out.

Here’s a vid of the dirty pour (again it is big, so keep scrolling):

Dawn Whitehand acrylic pouring

The next painting had much better cell development. I thinned the paint down much more and added more coconut milk. Again it was created with a dirty pour.

Dawn Whitehand fluid art

And the final painting had even better cell development – not quite enough, but better. It was also created using a dirty pour. I do like the middle swirls too. It looks a bit galaxy like.

I enjoyed the process and liked how it is very similar to slip marbling and feathering on pottery. This has set my mind racing to try the string pull on a plate!

And now I am off to do some more playing!

Sunday Studio Visit – exploring new jewellery making techniques

Readers may know I have been a bit absent from this blog lately, as per my last BLOG POST, so I haven’t offered a Sunday studio visit for a while.

Readers may also know that I love sustainability, recycling and upcycling, as illustrated by lots of past jewellery POSTS, and of course the PRESERVING frenzy I go into during the growing season! So with the recent giant iceberg break away from the ice shelf in Antarctica, and all the other crazy occurrences in the world at the moment, my mind has been drawn toward new ways of using synthetic products our society has created and can’t be recycled – such as CDs which are now largely obsolete!

I don’t know about you but I have hundreds of CDs…. from kids games, to movies to data storage, and I have never thrown them out because i just couldn’t bring myself to adding to the city dump!!

So, after a bit of research and refinement I have made a few jewellery pieces using cut up CDs with the addition – in some – of acrylic paints.

I will be making more of these pendants soon as I have heaps of CDs and enjoy the process, so the next time I do some making I will take some process shots for a tutorial.

In the meantime I have actually listed my first piece in my ETSY shop! Happy weekend and see you next time 🙂

DeeDeeDeesigns white handmade necklace

Come See What I Have Been Up To In The Studio!

It has been a while since I published anything – sorry about the absence, but things have been a bit hectic!!

Ceramics wise I have been busy with custom orders in my ETSY shop and also for a local restaurant.

Dawn Whitehand Handmade Ceramics

Fresh from the Kiln

I have also been experimenting with some new jewellery making techniques – which I will post about in the near future – and I have also been building up my new jewellery and craft supplies shop on ETSY

But for the purposes of this post I will stick to ceramics and i will let the pictures tell the story!

See you soon 🙂

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!

deedeedeesupplies-pumpkin-leaf-plate_001

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!

905

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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