Saturday, 24 August 2013

Some new pots!

Well, I have just spent a very enjoyable week at Nic and Sabine's, for their firing course.  Two kilns fired - Sabine's soda kiln and Nic's groundhog.  The soda kiln is a 30 hour firing or there abouts and is ready to open on the Saturday we go home, so here are my pots from there.

They're ok - I like them more when I look at them.  They are subtle though, and a bit uniform, but I have learnt a thing or two.  There are five cut-sided cups, with feet or simply bevelled bottoms.  Two are in tact but a bit pale, but nice, and the others were on their sides on shells, but have cracked.  Usable, though, so they'll go in the kitchen somewhere.  I think they were the Svend Bayer clay body and have produced some red on their sides, and taken the ash and reduction well.

This bottle is very brown but has lots of small purple-ish dots everywhere.

The above is a close up.  This is lesson one.  The clay I am using isn't so great.  It's clearly high in iron and the grog in is some sort of fire clay I guess.  So out with that one.

This is the same clay but with a slip over it.  I can't remember which slip though - titanium I think.  It's a wall vase for flowers.  Again, I like it, but it's plain.  But lesson two: slips are worth trying out on a pale plain body in the first firing of the new kiln.  Sabine uses a few different slips, each different, each producing lovely results.

And this is one of the big pots.  Again, with the high iron clay.

I also have pots in Nic's kiln, which will be opened next weekend, although I probably won't be there.  It'll be interesting to see how that clay copes in the long wood firing.  Two of the bigger pots were right at the front - I pulled one in to the firebox at the end, but the other fell back against a kiln shelf and couldn't be retrieved unfortunately.

Anyway, huge thanks to Nic and Sabine for putting up with us.  I've had a really great week.  I can really recommend the experience - book now for next year!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

And another one!

I can't help myself.  This is the last one.  Really it is.

This one is a bit wider at the base, and ends up between 19 and 20 inches tall.  It's ok.  The good thing about it is that it uses less clay than some of the others and is actually quite light weight.  This is an improvement.  In fact, it buckled a bit when I lifted it off the wheel, and so it may crack at some point, but it has left a nice wobble on the rim which I like.

This one won't be wood fired, but will hopefully go in the new soda kiln, when it gets finished.

Friday, 9 August 2013

A couple more.

This might get a bit boring after a while, but at the moment I am making more big pots.  Here's the first from yesterday:

And the second one, which isn't as good:

And the pair, drying a bit in the sun.  This is prior to giving them a slight trim around the base.

I have to stop making these big pots now as they won't be dry in time for the firing, but I will probably make some more.  There will be other firings and other kilns.  So far I have nine big pots - not all good and worth keeping, but all experience.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Another pot.

A quick one, with another big pot, shown from two angles:

This is the same pot - funny how a pot can look quite different depending on what angle you see it.  This one isn't huge, but I guess it's more likely to sit on the floor.  I might still trim away a bit of heavy clay around the foot - I think - not sure yet.

Anyway, I am quite enjoying making these bigger pots, but I have seven now, and tomorrow will probably be the last day making them.  A few days of smaller stuff, and then think about the firing.  Some of these will go down to Nics for the firing course, and some will stay here for the soda kiln, when I get around to finishing it and firing it.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Still here!

I am going to try and resurrect this blog and attempt at more frequent postings.  Why?  Firstly, I think it is a useful marketing tool.  I don't really know who reads it, but if anyone reads it, that's good.

Secondly, it's a record of what I've done.  Since the last post, I have done a whole load of nothing!  Well, that isn't strictly true but the last month or so has seen an upsurge in work, once I managed to work out what I wanted to do, what I physically or financially couldn't do, and what I was going to do instead.  It has taken pretty much since December 2012 to work that out.  It's a compromise as you'll see, but it's a step forward.

Thirdly, I find other peoples blogs interesting.  A new one on the block is a blog about Svend Bayer, which is put together by Brigitte Colleaux, one of Svend's regular firing crew.  I really like it - it's great seeing Svend's work life, the flow of his process that produces what a lot of people might consider really expensive pots, but if you see the work involved, I hope you'd understand why and what you're paying for, and also the philosophy of why they are what they are.  Anyway, I am not saying this blog will be anything like that interesting, or consistent, but if I don't do it, I can't suggest to other people that it's a good idea...

Since the last post, I have decided not to wood fire.  I can't commit the money to buying expensive wood for a firing that may or may not work.  So at present, I have embarked on a small kiln to be fired by gas, and I'll add soda during the firing to create hopefully interesting pots.  As you can see, the kiln isn't finished yet.  The arch former needs to be remade, and I need to get steel in place to hold it up before creating the arch itself.  I have purchased some new bricks though.

I also have a load of hard bricks left so I might build a small wood kiln for experimenting with and to keep my hand in.

And so I have been making pots too.  Beakers and mugs and bowls and so forth.  These were for the new kiln, but I am also doing Nic's firing course in August, again, so I am making for that.  Specifically, I have been working on some bigger pots.

I like making these, but I haven't quite got into the rhythm for it yet.   I find the process needs too much thinking about and too much hard work, and so I think about it whilst I'm making.

I think the pots suffer a bit because of this.  Also it's a means to an end, so the coils are too big as I want to get to the end of making the pot quickly.  I need to slow down.

The one above is the one I like the most at the moment.

Cider had to come in to it somewhere.

The above two are a bit too top heavy.  I squeezed one of them when bringing it indoors to dry, and the rim has gone nice and wavy, which is nice.

I am also trying to sell some pots.  There are a few listed on, and some on ebay at the moment.  I have a few more to list, if anyone's interested.  My aim is to try and continue to do the pots as a job for as long as I can.  I am not sure how long it will last though.

Well, that's all for now.  Hopefully I will update as and when things happen.