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!
Last week I facilitated a pit firing workshop for a community project which is part of a group exhibition commemorating the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling. One of the exhibiting artists Heather Hesterman is creating an installation consisting of ceramic pinch pots en masse and plants referencing Walling’s love of constructing gardens. The pots have been made by Hesterman’s friends, acquaintances and members of the community, both adults and children, coming together to make approximately 300 palm sized pots.
During Hesterman’s research for the project she discovered an anecdote found in Walling’s writings, indicating Walling’s joy of witnessing a friend hand-build a small pot from clay, fire it and then fill it with the local native plant species, Thomasia petalocalyx. This event together with ‘The Chalet’, which Walling had built along the Great Ocean Road, being burnt down, along with 2 other residences, inspired Hesterman’s methodology in developing the installation.
Part of that methodology involved the firing of the clay pots made during the project – enter a pit firing! As regular readers may know usually when I pit fire I add lots of varying organic ingredients and wrap the pots in seaweed, gum leaves, copper wire and the like. This endows the finished pots with a vibrant dappled colour response. Hesterman, however, wanted the smoky greys and blacks of fire to be captured on the pot surfaces, so the pit was fired using only sawdust. The sawdust creates a higher likelihood of a reduction atmosphere in the pit allowing for carbonisation of the clay surface.
The firing was successful overall with results ranging from soft smoky greys through to strong oil slick blacks.
Lisa Byrne, Director of ArtSpace at Realm, Maroondah City Council, is curating a group exhibition The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling. The exhibition commemorates the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling with artists Heather Hesterman, Rebecca Mayo and landscape designer/construction Sam Cox.
The exhibition will be held at the gallery ArtSpace at Realm, Ringwood Town Square, 179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. 03 92984553, 19 Sept – 13 Nov 2017, with the official opening on Saturday 21 October 2-4pm.
More information can be round on the website artsinmaroondah.com.au
And now enjoy the pics of the sawdust firing process 🙂
Evening all, it is freezing here tonight with possible snow expected, so I am keeping warm by reminiscing on the bonfire firing I did a couple of weeks ago.
Every year around this time we do a clean up for the summer to reduce fire hazards during the bushfire season, and in the lead up to that I make beads and pendants which I pack into an old milo or coffee tin with sawdust, seaweed, cow dung – pretty much anything I would put into a pit firing. The tin is snuggled in amongst the branches and leaves and set alight. The tin is usually ready to pull from the ashes the following afternoon – depending on how big the bonfire was!
I have published previous posts about bonfire firing which you can read HERE.
So tonight I am experimenting with some jewellery designs with the beads that emerged from the bonfire. I have already listed one pair of earrings in my ETSY shop from this firing and there will more to come, and some necklaces.
My other exciting news is that I have had an article published in the latest edition of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. This latest edition was focused on fire, so I wrote an article about pit firing. Visit their website to find out more about getting a copy of the journal.
And now for some pics from the bonfire and finished jewellery pieces – thanks for stopping by and see you next time 🙂
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!
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 🙂
Well, we have certainly had a great season in the vegetable garden with lots of zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, apples – the list goes on! We have also had a fab season for pumpkins and this afternoon we picked them all as we are having an early frost tonight which may kill the vines, but could also freeze the pumpkins so that when opening – say in three months time – they will be slop… not even OK to make soup with potentially.
(PS – I plan to do a painting of these pumpkins – aren’t they gorgeous!)
So not only did we (hubby & I ) pick the pumpkins I then went into the studio to make some platters, plates, coasters, rings and pendants impressed with pumpkin leaves. This idea has been popular in my ETSY shop so I thought I should make more while I still had the leaves available!
And this is an idea of the finished product 🙂
I hope to make more leaf imprinted plates and jewellery using whatever may be in season at the time – so stay tuned 🙂
I have been a bit preoccupied lately with all the preserving and fermenting from the summer/autumn garden so have not been doing a great deal of making… but recently I had a custom order from my ETSY shop for twelve ceramic buttons so took the opportunity to also make some extra buttons and some pendants at the same time.
The buttons turned out beautifully. The customer wanted them to add a unique and jazzed up element to a denim jacket which she wants to take on holiday with her at the end of April! I love these kinds of stories that accompany custom orders and hope she will be happy with them! I think she will…
The pendants, which I will list as necklaces and earrings in my ETSY shop, are just in time for Mothers Day – May 14th. I have assembled some of them and will be listing them over the coming week. If your mum/sister/girlfriend/wife/aunt/nana/partner or female friends anywhere love both handmade and jewellery these are the perfect gifts!
See you soon!
Hello everybody! It has been a rainy day here at the studio – almost 50 ml of rain!!
Thankfully my studio did not flood as it has done in the past – just a bit of wetness, which will be easily fixed once we extend the stone driveway we laid down recently.
This was the flooding prior to the new driveway ….
Apart from that I am firing the kiln today with a mixture of student works and some pieces for my ETSY shop including these buttons and pendants, which include custom orders – I always make extras!
So that is about it for today … hopefully I will see you during the week, or not next Sunday 🙂
Today’s Sunday Studio visit is focusing on my Etsy shop.
I have a great array of handcrafted gifts in my shop which make great alternative Easter gifts! You can also place a custom order for both tableware or jewellery pieces.
Speaking of custom orders, tomorrow I will be posting a yarn bowl which was custom ordered for the colours the customer preferred. I think it turned out great. The yarn bowl is a gift for the customer’s mums birthday, and I think she will like it!
Readers may remember from previous posts some plates I made impressed with pumpkin leaves from my garden … well these are now live on ETSY. I have listed a dinnerware set which is available as a single setting, or other custom quantities, four place settings for example. Coming soon will be plate size sets – four side plates, for example.
Pumpkin leaves are only available in my garden from November to April (approximately), so at other times of the year the plates will be available with other seasonal leaf imprints.
I also have other pumpkin leaf imprint items in my shop, such as these:
And on Friday I sent this pumpkin leaf plate off to a new home in Melbourne – a mere 100km from where I live!
And speaking of pumpkin leaves and garden produce I have been busy again this week preserving gods from the garden!! Today it was fermented cucumbers, bottled tomatoes and apple paste, which I can’t wait to taste with blue cheese!!
Well, that’s it for today – I will hope to catch up mid week 🙂