Friday, 30 November 2012

25. KILN BACK ON TRACK


Hello Potters and Friends,

Thank goodness, my kiln is now back in action. The programmer was not controlling the temperature in the kiln. I nearly lost a whole load of porcelain but I switched it off just in time, before the temperature rocketed up at a frightening speed.
However, the kiln might be in tip-top condition but my left foot is not. Owing to a dislocated toe I cannot continue potting in the workshop for a while. But I can show you what came out of the kiln after I’d re-fired the near disaster. And I’ll show you how to make my origami Christmas creations that have kept me busy whilst putting my feet up.

So here we go - first some porcelain; 


My pots on stands are very popular, look great as a table centrepiece, and I love making them. 




Now something a bit bigger ;



Porcelain and stoneware. Black stain and a dab of red underglaze. One of my favourite forms.


'Morning Glory' in the Delft style. Cobalt oxide decoration.

And here's some stoneware ;



Tall pot with incised lid. The motif was painted with red iron oxide at the greenware stage so that the lines would stay sharp, then I dipped it in my favourite white satin glaze. The oxide burns through the glaze. 



'Pot-Bellied Pot'
White satin glaze with manganese and copper carbonate. Each end dipped leaving a bare neck, which was then painted with the oxide mixture.



'Black Daisy Bowl'
Red iron oxide and gold decoration with transparent glaze. 

But now here comes the origami ! 
I love paper, and used to make paper bowls long before I got hooked on clay. 



STEP 1.  Fold a square piece of paper into a triangle.


STEP 2. Fold the bottom right corner to the top angle and then repeat with the bottom left. You now have a diamond shape.


STEP 3. Unfold each triangle, open them out by inserting a finger, then press them flat.


STEP 4. Fold back the little triangle on both sides.


STEP 5. Fold again to hide the white paper.



STEP 6.  Fold into a cone shape having put a dab of glue to hold it in place. 


STEP 7. This is the end result and then you make 4 more. Don't worry, they're very quick once you've got it.


STEP 8. Dab of glue on the side and stick all 5 together.


VOILA !
Mine are going to be strung together and hung from the mantlepiece as well as adding one to each Christmas gift.

HAPPY POTTING AND FLOWER MAKING FOLKS.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

24. SITTING BACK FOR A WHILE

Hello Potters and Friends,

Well, just as my Christmas exhibition approaches, guess what? My kiln starts misbehaving again. This time it's the control box. It's not reading the correct temperature in the kiln. Instead of beginning at 80 degrees an hour, it decided to start at about 200 degrees an hour. So, it's going to get another overhaul and I'll just have to "hold fire" for a while.

Potclays Supplies held an open day recently and so I dragged Alan with me up to Stoke on Trent for what he dreaded was a morning of clay shopping. But no, he actually quite enjoyed it, as there were lots of demonstrations to entertain him.


I, meanwhile, chatted to the sales people. Now, I never use brush-on glazes but on the Mayco stand I was given a small pot of glaze free of charge. So I gave it a go.





I was very pleased with this result. 

This red/orange with touches of black is called Copper Float. The metallic drips are my oxide mix of 4 parts manganese to 1 part copper carbonate. The black band around the neck is just manganese. It's the copper part that creates runs - manganese alone stays put. And these were fired to 1245ยบc with a 30 min' soak.   
With brush-on glaze you apply 3 coats, letting each coat dry before applying the next. I was so impressed that I bought myself another pot. But it is more expensive than a dipping glaze so it's good to remember this when pricing. But it's just the colour for a Christmas display.

But I went a bit crazy when I bought some clay. I thought I'd try something different - and it certainly is.......


They call it Grogged Pink.

It's a mixture of Stoneware coloured with Earthenware and very, and I mean very, heavily grogged. Garden pots, birdbaths and ornaments or anything for the garden will suit this clay. But I did manage to throw one pot.  


Quite rough on the hands but not impossible.

I painted on wax in large leaf shapes in order to see the clay, then dipped it in my white satin glaze. As you can see it's reacted quite strongly with the clay and has changed the glaze to pale green. It looks gloriously rustic on my white dresser. I love pottery, just for surprise moments like this.

So as Christmas approaches it gives us all an opportunity to show off our favourite pots in the form of Christmas cards.
Every year Alan works his photographic magic, and produces a personal card for family and friends.


This year we have had our cards printed as postcards and I've added tartan ribbon for hanging.

While my kiln has been out of action I have been enjoying discovering other blogs and websites. There are two that I particularly enjoyed.
"The Beat That My Heart Skipped" was my first discovery. "A blog dedicated to daily design inspirations". It covers anything and everything and is very entertaining.

And it was on this blog I found Natasha Newton's paintings on canvas and stones. 




Delicately painted stones collected from a Suffolk beach.

They made me want to go out and get digging in the garden. I didn't of course. But it did inspire me to get painting on my pots again. 



I'd forgotten how much I enjoy doing this. 

I don't use underglaze for this, I use black glaze stain before the bisque firing, and on porcelain it shows off the crisp lines.

But, unfortunately, I'll have to wait until I can fire them so, in the meantime.................




Happy Potting Folks