Friday, 7 July 2017

Further developments with texture

Here are some recent results from my on-going experiments with surface texture.

These two vases had a layer of texture and a layer of slip added before the bisc .. six or seven different glazes were then applied before the final firing. The marks underneath the globular vase are from clam shells which act as supports and help to catch and absorb any excess glaze as it runs under the pot!

Depending on how thick the walls are after throwing, I may carve the surface of the piece using a loop tool .. this is because the textural slip plus a thick glaze will add considerably to the final weight. But you need to be careful not to go too thin or the wet slip can make the piece collapse, as I have found to my cost!

Next, a lidded jar, thrown as a closed form and the lid cut out. The texture was added using fingers at the leather hard stage and a crackle ash glaze brushed on after the bisc firing:

Both of these sculptural pieces were carved at the leatherhard stage and dipped in the same copper glaze (as above) once bisqued:

The following pieces have burnout materials (in this case wood chippings) incorporated into the clay body. I use a very groggy clay to help the extra moisture from the wood escape from the body during the bisc firing:

Here is another more sculptural work, made by folding and pinching small slabs of clay together, then cut in half and carefully hollowed out once leatherhard. The inside has been coated with an iron rich slip plus a dolomite and ash glaze, whilst the outside is simply a high-firing black slip brushed on after the bisc. The nice thing about this slip is that it allows the details of the clay body to shine whilst brush marks are left practically invisible:

And lastly, a couple of vases, both have layers of texture and reactive slip, but with the glaze applied a little thinner which allows the clay surface to show through more:

With the globular vase, the dolomite and ash glaze was brushed on and gaps deliberately left to reveal the dark, textural slip below .. I call that piece, "Melting Snow".

 I hope you enjoyed your visit, thanks for reading.


Never give up, the best is yet to come

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Artfest 15th to 17th April 2017

Just a quick post to say that I will be displaying and selling my ceramic work at ArtFest, part of the Chester, Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival which is being held at Chester Racecourse between the 15th and 17th April 2017. Thirty five members of Chester's Grosvenor Art Society will be there, showing and sharing their skills.

My stand will be there only on the Sunday and Monday, 16th and 17th of April. If you're in the area why not have a look round the Festival, visit the Artfest marquee and say hello.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Latest results from the electric kiln

Well, all too soon we're back to freezing temperatures here in the UK, which I have to say does make life in the workshop somewhat less enjoyable. I always know winter has properly arrived when my fingers go completely numb after washing my throwing tools in a bucket of water.

On the plus side, I was happy with most of the pieces that came out of last week's electric firing. The dolomite and wood ash glaze on the textured, globular vase crawled alot but I think in an attractive way, to reveal the first layer of glaze. The crawling wasn't a big surprise as two layers of different glazes were applied without bisquing on the first layer ..  and it already had a layer of textured slip and a layer of grey slip underneath those!

This time the kiln was fired to cone 8 with a half hour soak, slightly lower than normal, aiming to get more and deeper pinholing on some of the dolomite pieces. It worked to some extent on the vases, although on the globular one, the high level of metal oxides in the first layer of glaze made the final coating of dolomite glaze flux and become quite glassy in places. This variation in texture and opacity actually appeals to me, so I plan to do more of this kind of thing in future.

I don't normally make plates, partly because they take up such alot of space in the kiln, unless you're able to stack them of course. With this one, I placed the seven-inch bowl (shown below) on top of it with clam shells in between. There were also shells supporting the plate so they've left their outlines fused into the glaze on both sides. I especially like the different ways the shells have interacted with the painted slip decoration on the top side, creating something which vaguely resembles a face. I usually buy frozen clams from the fishmongers in large bags, which is probably not the cheapest way to source shells for pottery, but it does mean I get to treat myself to spaghetti ala vongole from time to time!

Plate (front)

Plate (back)

Bottle vase, height approx 6.5 inches

Vase, diameter approx. 6.5 inches

Coffee cup

Bowl, diameter approx 7 inches

Bowl (underside)

Bowl closeup

Textured vase, dolomite and wood ash glaze, height 4 inches

Coffee mug

Carved sake cup

I'll be making some of these pieces available on my website over the coming days.

Thanks for reading!


Never give up, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Successful experiments with dolomite glazes!

I'm really growing to love the tactile, satin-smooth surfaces that dolomite glazes produce. When used over other glaze recipes and textures, they can also create interesting rivulets, pinholes and craters. Here are a few pieces from the last couple of electric firings, which on the whole were very successful:

Large vase, height 9 inches
Vase, close up
Hand-pinched dish
Hand-pinched dish interior
Hand-pinched, oval dish, approx. 5 inches long
Bowl, height approx. 3.5 inches
Bowl, height approx. 3.5 inches
One-pint tankard
Bowl, approx 7 inches wide
Bottle vase, height approx. 6 inches
Small coffee cup
Hand-built vase, height approx 7 inches
Carved sake cup
Vase, height approx. 8.5 inches

I'll be bringing these and many other pieces to the Olive and Stitch, artisan fair at the Civic Centre, Alsager, Cheshire this Saturday, 19th of November and the 17th of December:

If you happen to live locally or are passing through the area, why not drop by and say hello?

Thanks for reading!


Never give up the best is yet to come

Friday, 14 October 2016

Interesting effects from a new copper glaze

This year, I've spent alot of time playing around with new techniques for creating surface texture, and some of those experiments are starting to bear fruit. I'm also getting pleasing results from combinations of dolomite glazes with my black slip. Applying this glaze to a moderate thickness and firing to just the right temperature is critical in allowing the slip to show through while retaining the lovely, marble-like texture of the dolomite. Below are photos of pieces I recently fired in the electric kiln, all of which were taken up to around cone 9 with a half-hour soak.

The pots where the glaze has dripped a great deal were given a coating of a new glaze containing copper oxide and carbonate and this produces a very nice range of colours, from dark greys and greens to purple, pink and orange .. the tiny crystal-like orange spots which form in the glaze runs are rather special too. The textured orange-brown glaze on the first vase is also quite interesting as it was made from a mixture of ash from smokeless coal, plus some wood ash (50), china clay (60) plus 2% copper carbonate. The coal ash is highly refractory and doesn't flux to the same extent as wood ash .. also it seems to produce a similar colour whether fired in reduction or oxidation. I like the slightly sandy, coarse texture of this glaze as a contrast with the more shiny, runny copper glaze.

Large vase with copper glazes

Bowl with orange slip and copper glazes

Cup with dolomite glaze over black slip

Vase with slip plus three glazes

Textured vase with dolomite glaze

Bowl with dolomite glaze over black slip

Cup with copper glaze

Large vase with dolomite and copper glazes

Carved vase with copper glaze (height 38 cms)

Pebble vase with copper glaze over iron and black slips

Thanks for reading!

Never give up, the best is yet to come