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Sunday Studio Visit – new sculpture

Evening all – I hope everyone had a great Christmas & New Year šŸ™‚

I have mostly recovered from my stretch if illness which made it difficult for me to keep up to date on the blog posts, so hopefully IĀ will be a bit more regular this year!

Today I have been making new sculpture for an exhibition I am having in ContainArt which IĀ am installing on the 11th January – YES, it is going to be a rush!! With having being ill and then indulging inĀ Christmas festivities I couldn’t get to making any earlier.

I’m hoping to pit fire some of the pieces and it is fire restrictions time in Australia so I have to apply for a permit – hopefully that comes through OK.

The exhibition will consist of ceramic sculpture and photography – but no more information…. all will be revealed after the installation šŸ™‚

But here’s a sneak peek at today’s making fun…. have a great week everyone šŸ™‚

Dawn Whitehand work in progress

Sunday Studio Visit – I am having a sale in my Etsy shop!

It is still cold and rainy here at the moment, and I currently have the doors from the studio off and drying out in the lounge room!

Claymotion Ballarat

With all the rain we’ve had they had swollen up and I couldn’t close them. So I am drying them out and am going to give them a couple of coats of varnish before rehanging them on Tuesday – before my school holiday workshop on Wednesday.

ClayMotion childrens pottery classes Ballarat

Apart from that I loaded my two kilns with student works in preparation for bisque firings on Monday & Tuesday.

ClayMotion Ballarat

The other news is that I am having a sale in my Etsy store to celebrate Christmas in July, so I amĀ spending a lot of time promoting that on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook. Promotion is so time consuming, but absolutely necessary.

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I have also been featured on the June Clay Blog Review again, which is great! there are so many fabulous potters on this list each month, so it is really amazing to be included. I have been included under “process & technique” and “the rest” šŸ™‚

Dawn Whitehand

That’s about it for this Sunday – hope to catch up mid week šŸ™‚

 

Sunday Studio Visit – birthday parties and beads

It has been freezing here over the past week… we even had snow a couple of days ago!

ClayMotion - snow Ballarat

Though there was no snow today it was still bitterly cold, and I had a birthday party booked into the studio for 2pm this afternoon – it was 5.1C at this time, so luckily I had loaded the up fireplace a few hours earlier to get the studio nice and warm for the party.

The party was for an 8yr old, and are a great healthy and creative alternative to fast food party venues, and saves parentsĀ the clean up if the party was at home! We made treasure boxes using the hollowing out method and then the children painted them with coloured slips. The treasure boxes then dry at the studio and I fire them with a clear glaze to make them shiny. The kids had a great time, as did the adults!

More information on parties – for adults and children – can be found on my ClayMotion website.

Making treasure boxes

Making treasure boxes

Finished treasure boxes waiting for painting

Finished treasure boxes waiting for painting

Painting the treasure boxes

Painting the treasure boxes

Birthday Cake!

Birthday Cake!

The party went from 2-4 pm, and once over I let the fire die own and retreated inside my house…. it was way too cold to remain working in the studio, and I didn’t want to keep the fire going when I had one one roaring away in the lounge room.

I then spent the afternoon making some paper beads, again keeping the winter theme! I live on the outskirts of Ballarat, a regional town in central Victoria, Australia, and for the second winter the council has organised a festival called Winterlude and one of the activities includes ice skating in the middle of the CBD. Advertising for this event includes full page spreads in the local paper and it is this advertisement I have used to make my beads.

Winterlude Ballarat

I used a guillotine to slice my paper, some skewers and PVA – yes, it is that simple and the effects are great. I have some paper bead jewellery currently in my ETSY shop and plan to add some more with these beads.

Dawn Whitehand paper beads

I really love the colours achieved with this paper šŸ™‚

Dawn Whitehand Paper Beads

Well, that’s about it for today…. I hope to catch up again mid week šŸ™‚

Sunday Studio Visit – bits and pieces

Many years ago I had a studio/gallery separate to where I live and at this studio I had a huge brick kiln, unfortunately I don’t have any pics of the kiln, though I do of the studio.

Dawn Whitehand old studio pottery

After a few life changes at the time I decided to downsize and relocate the studio to the garage at my home, which I did over the Christmas break of 2003-4, and have been slowly renovating ever since, the most recent being in the past few months and which I have posted about HERE.

Over the past decade the studio has gone from tin garage to insulated, walled and painted studio, to studio with new entry and french doors, to the most recent extension.

As part of the expansion I also acquired a ‘new’second hand kiln, which I have also posted about HERE.

Now back to the huge brick kiln…. and today’s studio visit. When I relocated I pulled the kiln apart and brought all of the bricks and kiln shelves and props with me. The props I have been using ever since, but the kiln shelves were too long for the smaller kiln I also had at the time, and still have. As the kiln was large it had lots of kiln shelves.

All of these kiln shelves are finally coming in handy for two reasons…. 1/ after many years of firing my smaller kiln to stoneware temperature the shelves have become warped. So today I (or should I say hubby) cut down someĀ shelves to fit the kiln…. and 2/ bonus that the old shelves are the perfect fit for my new/old pert-o-kiln, well almost. They are fraction short on width, but perfect on length. And I have enough shelved for both with more left over!

Dawn Whitehand

The other great leftover from the old studio/gallery was sandwich boards, a couple of which I still use now, but I did have a spare one….and amazingly they fitted precisely under the tables in the new glaze room so that I was able to convert them into mini trolleys with caster wheels to put glaze buckets on for storageĀ under the tables. So now it is easy to pull the buckets in and out for simple access to the glazes.

Dawn Whitehand

And the best part is that I am still recycling … even the castors were reclaimed from a couple of storage units I rescued from a dump site and am now using in the new renovation!

Dawn Whitehand

Once all this outdoor work was finished I retired indoors into what I call the ‘jewellery room’ – basically a room inside the house I converted to a ‘clean’ studio when my kids moved out, much to their chagrin! I am really behind with product photography for my ETSY shop due to the studio renovations and really want to upload some new listings over the coming weeks – that means good photos!

Dawn Whitehand photography

 

Apart from that I fired the kiln – the old one. IĀ haven’t fired the new (old) kiln yet as I only cut the kiln shelves today. So tomorrow a new batch of kiln wash will be made and away I go!

I hope you have enjoyed visiting the studio …. talk soon šŸ™‚

 

Finishing Touches to the Studio Renovations :-)

Last Sunday I posted about the studio renovations that have been happening for about a monthĀ now. Basically the renos are finished, apart from a few finishing touches – some of which were addressed this Sunday.

In chilly Ballarat “Winter in Coming” so I’ve had to have a temporary curtain up between the original studio and the extension because the new extension has big windows which draw out all the heat… not good for my cosy fireplace!

But yesterday I picked up some recycled curtains my mum altered for me to fit the windows. They are the old fashioned kind – heavy and lined, so great for insulation, and also so RETRO!

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And better yet I am topping off the curtain rods with equally retro fittings.

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The other thing that needs to be done is removing more from the ceiling and adding tin around the flue of the new kiln, so I haven’t fired it as yet – but I will be firing by this week!

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Once all of the above is finished (tomorrow!)Ā the inside of the studio is complete! YAY! Then the next project is to dress up the outside of the studio, such as applying some mosaics to the verandah poles of the studio entrance!

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I will soon be ready to do a video walk through of the complete studio, and when I do you guys will be the first to know šŸ™‚

Sunday Studio Visit – studio renovations

Today’s studio visit is an update on studio renovations/extensions of which I posted earlier HERE.

As regular readers may know I extended my studio over the last school holidays due to growing class sizes. The extension will be a storage area and a glaze room. In this process my kiln had to be disconnected due to gas bottles needing to be relocated. The reconnection process has taken a little longer than expected, and therefore became a little stressful, due to custom orders from my ETSYĀ shop and class student work building up. However, the delay has perhaps been a little serendipitous. It gave me time to think about needing another kiln, which IĀ did!

I decided IĀ needed a new bigger kiln or another average sized kilnĀ to service my growing businessĀ and I thought I should try to purchase one asap so that both kilns could get connected at the same time. I was lucky enough to find one really quickly – and a bargain – by posting a Wanted to Buy in some local Buy Swap & Sell Groups on Facebook. I received a reply quite quickly – a port o kiln which was about thirty years old, but that had never been connected or used…. just sitting in someone’s shed – in new condition!! (rubs hands together).

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So my kilns are both getting reconnected tomorrow morning, and then I am going to be firing both kilns back to back to catch up on the past five weeks!!! I am going to be busy. And then I’ll get into doing some making myself!!

The renovation has basically added two open space areas on the side of the existing studio. these spaces have become a glazing room and storage area. The other part of the renovation I love is the new ‘library’ area – perfect for sitting with a cuppa and browsing books or developing ideas in my visual diary. This corner in the existing studio was the old glaze area, but with everything being moved into the new room I could create this cozy space, something I have always wanted to do.

Dawn Whitehand - Studio

Creating the library cleared a space in a cabinet (where I used to store books) and this has now become a display cabinet for tools and equipment for sale – yes I also sell ceramic supplies and post Australia wide. the postage is included in the prices which are in the online shop on the CLAYMOTION website.

Ceramic Supplies

There is still a bit of re-organising and tidying up to do, but here are some pics this far šŸ™‚

Sunday Studio Visit – grotesque mug update

There’s not alot going on at this time of year in the studio, apart from recovering from Christmas & the New Year, however, regular readers may remember that a few weeks agoĀ IĀ posted about a custom order grotesque mug I made – the customer had broken their mug and wanted me to make a replacement.

The original post image showed the original mug (Left) and the freshly made duplicate (right).

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Since then the mug has been glazed and fired, and i must say i am very pleased with it…. while it may not be my ‘style’ it has certainly captured the essence of the original mug, probably because I enjoyed the process of sculpting it so much. It has been quite a few year since I did any figurative sculpting and it did bring back an enjoyment I am interested in re-exploring.

Dawn Whitehand Grotesque Mug

And an added bonus – the original blog post, mentioned earlier, was featured on Pottery Making Infos December Clay Blog Review under Process & Techniques along with lots of other great articles, and is well worth a visit.

Well, that’s it for this Sunday – see you during the week šŸ™‚

Sunday Studio Visit

I missed last weeks Sunday Studio visit – sorry about that, excuses abound – ummm

Anyway this Sunday I am unpacking a bonfire tin saggar firing I did yesterday, and am happy with the results.

It is Spring here in Australia, and living on a rural property means cleaning up undergrowth and debris before the bushfire season, and it needs to be done before fore restrictions come in – so a bonfire it is. Whenever we have a bonfire I always make a few things to put into tin saggars – small pots, beads, pendants. You can check out some previousĀ posts about this firing method here.

I use mostly sawdust in the saggars, so that most of the surfaces carbonise into a silky black colour. I also add copper and salt, and sometimes wrap things in copper wire – this can create subtle red, blues and greens on the surface… and this time I was lucky enough to achieve this on some of the beads.

I will be cleaning and polishing the beads during the week, and will share some detailed pics of the end results then. Eventually these beads will find their way onto my Etsy shop as necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

In the meantime here are a few pic of the process šŸ™‚

 

Upcoming Exhibitions….

Happy Friday People – yes its the weekend!

I thought I would share some exhibitions I am involved in at the moment so you canĀ experienceĀ them vicariously or if you are living or visiting near the venues, you can check outĀ the exhibitions yourself.

Currently I have threeĀ brooches in the annual Contemporary Art Society of Victoria brooch show. This is a juried show and all brooches had to be withinĀ 10 cm x 5 cm overall dimensions and 3 cm in depth. IĀ entered three brooches for selection and all were accepted. My brooches are made from upcycled materials – buttons, beads and guitar strings. The exhibition runs from over two locations with opportunities to try and buy…. check out their website for more info.

Art brooches Dawn Whitehand

Beginning tomorrow is an exhibition being held in conjunction with the Australian Ceramics Triennale. Belonging is an exhibition of over 140 members of the Australian Ceramics Association, and again, the works were limited to a certain size — 15x15x15cm. The exhibition includes sculptural, functional and conceptual ceramics. Again, this was a juried exhibition and my entry is a wheelthrown organic form which has been manipulated and glazed to createĀ a textural surface. The exhibition runs until 11th July and opening night is 9th July. I am hoping to get to Canberra to have a look, but probably won’t make opening night.

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Finally I had an artwork accepted into theĀ Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, a biennial award open to Victorian ceramicists showcasing contemporary studio pottery. I submitted my piece as a work in progress as I had not yet pit fired it, which I did last weekend, and luckily it was selected. I entered a handbuilt slab sculpture, burnished and pit fired. The picture below shows it straight from the pit – it has not been polished as yet. Polishing will deepen the colour and enhance the visual tactile qualities of the surface. This exhibition runs from the 15th July (opening night) until the 29th August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster.

Not yet cleaned & polished

Not yet cleaned & polished

So, if you are near any of these areas the exhibitions are well worth a visit, and you may even find that you buy yourself a nice piece of art!

Sunday Studio Visit: Pit Firing

Oh Dear…. a few days late again!!

Sunday was a bit of a busy day….. we visited friends on Sunday afternoon for a low key housewarming party, and didn’t get home till quite late!

The day before, Saturday, I did a pit firing to complete a few pieces I am thinking of entering into some upcoming ceramic awards, and had grand plans of unloading the pit on Sunday and writing my Studio visit blog post – but all I got in before we had to leave forĀ the housewarming was a sneak peek, which I dutifully shared on Instagram.

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Then yesterday, Monday, I had to go to Melbourne for a catch up dinner with my mum and my two adult sons, and in the process i just get around to getting anything much else done!!

So today, Tuesday, I am writingĀ the blog post I wanted to share on Sunday – sorry for the delay!!

The artworks I had in the pit includeĀ a piece already accepted into the Manningham Ceramics Award, and two other pieces I am planning to enter into other awards whose deadlines are looming.

My pit is quite large, and I alter its size, depending on how much work I have to fire, with fire bricks. In this firing I alsoĀ packedĀ some smaller pieces (which make up one artwork) within sawdust in tin saggars as IĀ wanted to get as much smoking/black firing as possible.

The colour responses I attained from the pit are not the best I have ever achieved, but the nature of pit firing is the lack of control and the random nature of the fire based on so many variables, such as the temperature, the season, the wood used, the clay used, the condition of the pit (where I live I can only do pit firings in Winter due to fire restrictions, and it can be really wet Ā cold where I live) and other combustibles introduced to the pit.

Overall, however, I am happy with the results – it is the nature of ceramics that one must be happy with what the kiln gods delver, otherwise you would go insane!! (well i would anyways)

Following is a short photo essay of the procedure I took for the day, but also check out the book I have written about pit firing (yes, unabashed self promotion!) available on Amazon and other online bookstores, plus some brick & mortar stores.

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