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!
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.
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!
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):
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):
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
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!
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 🙂
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!
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.
Apart from that I loaded my two kilns with student works in preparation for bisque firings on Monday & Tuesday.
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.
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” 🙂
That’s about it for this Sunday – hope to catch up mid week 🙂
It has been freezing here over the past week… we even had snow a couple of days ago!
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.
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.
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.
I really love the colours achieved with this paper 🙂
Well, that’s about it for today…. I hope to catch up again mid week 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
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!
And better yet I am topping off the curtain rods with equally retro fittings.
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!
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!
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 🙂
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).
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.
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.
There is still a bit of re-organising and tidying up to do, but here are some pics this far 🙂