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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 🙂

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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!

 

 

Sunday Studio Visit – new sculpture

Evening all – I hope everyone had a great Christmas & New Year 🙂

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 I will be a bit more regular this year!

Today I have been making new sculpture for an exhibition I am having in ContainArt which I am installing on the 11th January – YES, it is going to be a rush!! With having being ill and then indulging in 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 🙂

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

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 am spending a lot of time promoting that on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook. Promotion is so time consuming, but absolutely necessary.

DeeDeeDeesigns

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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” 🙂

Dawn Whitehand

That’s about it for this Sunday – hope to catch up mid week 🙂

 

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 parents 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 🙂

Dawn Whitehand Paper Beads

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

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 some 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 storage 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. I 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 🙂

 

Finishing Touches to the Studio Renovations :-)

Last Sunday I posted about the studio renovations that have been happening for about a month 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!) 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 🙂

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 ETSY 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 I did!

I decided I needed a new bigger kiln or another average sized kiln to service my growing business 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 🙂

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 ago I 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 🙂

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 previous 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 🙂

 

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