Sunday 1 December 2019

New "boulder vase" fired 28/11/19

I was pleased with this new piece which was handbuilt from slabs of clay with an applied texture.
The black slip and several matt glazes were layered in places and it's interesting to observe how they've interacted with each other. The clay body is a mix of red clay and coarse raku and on its own it tends not to be watertight. Even with a dolomite glaze over it it can sometimes leak if the glaze doesn't get into all the pits etc. So it was a nice surprise to find that this vase does hold water very well. All the glazes were brushed on which makes the finish more uneven and unpredictable, but on this rock-like form I think that works to their advantage, with some of the split and cracked surface looking rather like lichen.

Boulder vase, oxidised firing cone 8

Thanks for looking!


Thursday 7 November 2019

Some recent pieces and new glazes for texture.

Hello again, Everyone!

A quick update to show some pieces from the last two firings. I'm still moving forward with the textured surfaces and enjoying playing around with different finishes for them. Recently, I've tried to reveal and enhance the textures more by applying slips and matt glazes which can give a more natural rock-like appearance. I'm quite excited by the possibilities of these new glazes, especially ones which crack and split, but as always with ceramics it's a slow process of trial and error to discover what works best. I'm also finding that in some cases, firing lower, to cone 6, allows a little more control/predictability when layering two or three glazes as they then don't fuse and merge together as much.

This carved sake cup was electric fired twice; once in a sealed saggar with charcoal to cone 8 and then in oxidation. The china clay-ball clay slip has turned a very pale shade of pink which is something new for me!

Thanks for looking!

Never give up, the best is yet to come.

Saturday 23 March 2019

Large textured vase

A few more shots of the large textured vase, height 16 inches:

I've kept the wadding underneath this piece (it was welded to flashing from shells anyway) to allow for the drip of glaze which touched the shelf. I like the way it looks as though it's hovering slightly..

Thanks for your visit.


Monday 18 March 2019

Back to saggar firing

Recently I designed a new single-piece saggar to use in the electric kiln. It doesn't require kiln fibre to seal the top so is much easier and less messy to use and seems to be airtight in use. This shino-glazed guinomi was fired twice, once in the saggar (with charcoal) to reduce the surface and once in oxidation to bring the colour back to the iron. The glaze was applied fairly thin and the iron-rich slip (china clay/ball clay plus 50% red iron oxide) has burned through, creating very dark colours and an unusual, wrinkled surface. It's still surprisingly pleasant to drink from!

And here are a few closeups of a large, heavily textured vase I have fired three times with different dolomite glazes added. This time I'm pretty happy with the glaze surface, especially the drips which contain some lovely colours. I'll post a shot of the full piece soon..

Also fired last week, another textured vase with some pleasant crawling going on:

Yesterday I tried out some carving on the outside of these small hand-pinched bowls. I've done this on sculptures before but not on a functional piece. This is in its raw clay (a smooth crank) state with slip added to the surface, and I plan to just glaze the inside:

Thanks for reading!


Never give up, the best is yet to come

Sunday 6 January 2019

Some recent work

I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I posted here. That's mainly because the last fourteen months have been the hardest and saddest of my life. I'm doing my best not to dwell on past events and am hoping that 2019 will be a better year, both personally and creatively. Having said that, I doubt I'll have alot of spare time this year for writing lengthy blog posts, so I thought I'd just focus on posting images of recent pieces with a few explanatory notes.

The following are some of the more unusual pots I made in 2018:

Vase, height approx 10 inches
Vase, height approx 9 inches
The two vases above were experiments which worked surprisingly well. I discovered that pre-fired pieces of broken clay can be pushed through the soft walls of the piece and that they stay firmly in place when fired. Even more remarkable that as the pieces dried, no cracks appeared around the inclusions, neither did they appear after firing to stoneware temperature, cone 6-8. Both these pieces were built  up from thrown sections, hence the somewhat asymmetrical profiles. 

Large, handbuilt vase, height 15 ins
This large, square vase was handbuilt using small, irregular slabs of clay squeezed together and a deep texture added at leatherhard. This is a technique I would like to develop more in future as it allows a huge amount of freedom in the forms you can create.

Textured bottle vase, height approx 5 inches
Above is another handbuilt piece formed from hand-pinched slabs. White and black slips were brushed on and a dry, ochre ash glaze poured over. I like the effect and colours produced where the ochre glaze has accidentally strayed over the inner dolomite glaze, so I plan to layer these glazes on some future work.
Small bud vase
I've included this little vase as I thought the shape was quite interesting.. it went slightly off centre on the hump and I liked the way the rim dips at one point..

Small, carved vase
The matt ochre ash glaze on this carved piece came out darker than I expected as it was a new batch and went on very thick. It contains about 40% raw wood ash so tends to deflocculate hugely after a few days..  I still like it alot, but I do find that brown pots aren't the easiest to sell these days!

Textured vase, approx 6 ins height

This textured vase was fired twice and the second time (after adding more glaze), it came out exactly as I had hoped. I deliberately left alot of the deep texture with black slip showing, and it is quite difficult to judge how the piece is going to look as the glaze runs a great deal. 

Textured salt pig
This piece was also hand built using small slabs. A thick texture was applied plus black slip and a dolomite and wood ash glaze.

Lidded jar, height approx 6 inches

Textured vase, height approx 6 inchews
 Another textured vase, this time slips and glazes were applied in bands before a final layer of dolomite and wood ash glaze.

Textured vase, height approx 3.5 inches

Pressed dish, approx 7 ins width

This dish was made by pressing a slab of clay over a bisqued former. the edges of the clay were left deliberately irregular. Decoration was wax resist with black slip brushed on before a second bisque firing. A small foot was also added at the leather hard stage which just gives the form a bit of a lift and stability.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my work, thanks for your visit!


Never give up, the best is yet to come.

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