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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!

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!

 

 

National Poetry Writing Month – NAPoWriMo

April is National Poetry Writing Month and I have been participating over on my Poetry blog where I publish a poem and a drawing inspired by the poem.

My poetry blog has been going for a few years now, but I haven’t published much this year, until this month – so hopefully participating in this daily challenge will get me back into a more regular routine!

Following is a sample of some of the drawings I have been publishing – but you’ll have to visit my blog to read some poetry!

Happy reading 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – 24 hours of rain!

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!

I am happy to be included in this months ClayBlogReview again with two listings from this blog!
This POST and this POST – so that is always exciting!

So that is about it for today … hopefully I will see you during the week, or not next Sunday 🙂

 

 

Happy St Patricks Day :-)

Happy St Patricks Day – and what better way to celebrate than with a 10% discount in both of my ETSY shops for the remainder of March!

Use coupon code StPats2017 in either shop for some great green finds or anything else for that matter!

In case you don’t know I have SHOP that sells handcrafted ceramic tableware and jewellery, and a SHOP that sells craft and jewellery supplies – so go wild!!

Here’s a little teaser:

and from my supplies shop

Happy St Patricks Day and happy savings!!

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.

2017-02-26_16-58-21-1281x2345

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!

New Exhibition – After the Fire.

As readers may know from previous POSTS I have been working on a new body of work, including sculptural ceramics and photography, which is now on exhibition at ContainArt till February 16th. The container is currently on location at Weerama Part, Wendouree.

The exhibition was inspired by the Scotsburn Bushfires, which I have also posted about before – both the experience on the day and Bushfire Relief Arts Program I was involved with in the following months.

I have friends who live in Scotsburn (and almost lost their home and business) and I know of others who did lose their homes. On the day of the fires I stood on my property watching the smoke and water bombers flying over, so it was very dramatic.

Approximately a week after the fires, which destroyed 4000 hectares, 12 homes and 23 sheds, I visited the site and drove through  the area extensively following the path of the fire. I took many pictures and have a comprehensive documentary of the immediate aftermath with the intention of developing a body of work to reflect the fires and comment on the climate (political and environmental) which has contributed to the severe bushfires Australia is experiencing on a more regular basis.

The opportunity serendipitously arose to hold an exhibition in ContainArt just a little after the twelve month anniversary of the event, providing a great chance to commemorate the fires.

All of the works are, of course, for sale, simply send me a message to begin the discussion 🙂

Following is the ‘Artist Statement’ for the exhibition and some images…

Artist Statement – Dawn Whitehand – After the Fire

As a person I feel deeply saddened about the natural environment and the harmful effect the human race has inflicted upon Mother Earth.

As an artist I feel a duty to bring these issues to the attention of the general public via a visual interpretation of the climate dilemmas currently perplexing our global society.

A little over a year ago the effects of global warming were brought into stark reality when the town of Scotsburn and surrounds, on the outskirts of Ballarat, experienced fires that raged out of control on the 19th December 2015. The fire, once started was fuelled by dry conditions, extreme heat and high winds, which combined to form the perfect storm of environmental conditions.

At the time I witnessed the billowing smoke from my property, and having close friends in the area I was watching and worried. Thankfully my friends remained safe, as was their property. Others were not so fortunate.

A week later I undertook an extensive tour throughout the entire route of the fire, documenting the physical effect of the tragic event on the environment. During the following months I worked with the local community conducting art workshops as part of the Scotsburn Bushfire Relief Project.

This current body of work presents a series of documentary photographs and interpretive ceramic sculptures which respond to the colours, shapes and textures of the event, that also hopefully, evoke an emotive outcome within the viewer that raises questions about their personal and communal responsiveness toward the environment, and their role within the wider global context.

A little after a year later I revisited Scotsburn and the abundance of regrowth is majestic – Mother Nature healing both the local community and her natural environment.

By presenting a display commemorating the Scotsburn fires in the context of “urban Ballarat” I am hoping to make this seemingly physically remote event more immediate & real.

Overall images of ContainArt:

Images of individual windows:

Ceramic Sculpture:

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