Sunday, September 30, 2012

In the style of....

A little while back, I was raving about the work of Anna Lambert.  I really like it.  Part of its appeal to me is in the surface treatment, which is very nature inspired, like rocks and bark.  The other thing that I like a lot is the shapes she is creating.
 Back in the spring, I had made some little birds, and also some clay "stones".  I really liked the surfaces of the stones, they seem really life-like.  But, I was mulling over how to apply them to a useful pot, and even made a little decorative tree, (which seems to be lost), thinking to perch the birds on the branches,
They are painted with underglazes, and just fired up to cone 6 with no glaze.  I did make a couple of other birds, one white one, and a turquoise one which sadly lost it's tail.
So when I saw her work, it was an "a-ha!" moment, where I really appreciated how she had worked all the elements together.

Digression-- I also really like sea shells-- these are some weathered ones that my brother-in-law has picked up while he's out on the water,

So, on the first day back at the studio, I built some slab forms that I am applying similar nature-like surfaces to.  Obviously in the style of Anna Lambert.  I'm sure that some people would think this is like copying her work, and in a way it is.  However, I am trying to figure something out, and it seems that this is one path-way to try and do that. 
 I doubt very much if I'll make many of these pieces, and of course they're just for me, but they might be a stepping stone to something else down the road. 
 Does anyone else in clay learn that way?  Sort of a gray area that I haven't figured out the ethics about. Personally, I have no problem with anyone seeing something I make and doing something similar, but I know not everyone feels the same way.  Intellectual "property" and "possession" are respected ideals, but don't we learn from others too?  If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to comment, I'd like to clarify my thoughts on this issue, thanks, Michelle

Friday, September 28, 2012

Some other pots fom June

When I got to Savannah a few days ago, of course one of the first things I had to do was to go to the clay studio, Savannah's Clay Spot!
Lisa had some stuff that she had fired for me, and so I was of course eager to see it, even though I made it in June, 
the items in the photos here have very little screen printing on them, mostly I was doing slip trailing and paper resist.  i had some fun with lining the insides with colored glazes.
I was also adding a dark wash on some of them, which I sort of like,
However, I think I was putting the clear glaze on too thickly, because it is milky on several of the items.  I am definitely going to go lighter next time I glaze, but I just get so worried that the rims will be rough.
 These two photos on the quilted table runner show that I am quite influenced in my color use by textiles!

Yesterday and today I spent the afternoon at the studio-- making stuff!  I am using a different clay body than before, called Little Loafer's, which is the mid-fire stoneware that is much like the higher firing stoneware, Loafer's Glory. (Both from Highwater Clays in N.C., I think)  So far I like it fine, altho I was quite startled at how fast things dry out here compared to my little studio at home. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some finished pots,

I do have a few photos of some finished pots-- yay,
The pots in this post were ones that I fired last week at home, before I came to spend a few weeks in Savannah,
spread out on the table,
a little morning espresso mug
 another little espresso mug,  - they have to be short enough to fit under the nozzle, and also not too large to hold only 3 or 4 ounces of coffee,
 the pink inside the mug is an underglaze, and I used the nice clear glaze I tried from the Digital Fire web-site,
 I've branched out into hand-building lidded containers. I might be applying the glaze to thickly, although again, this is only to cone 5, as the kiln didn't make it to cone 6.  Just the day before I left, they came into the pottery supply store, so they'll be waiting to install when I return home!
 I like making this style of bowl, and they seem to vary a bit in wonkiness,
 I really enjoy doing screen printing on the pots, and slip trailing too.  I love dots. 
I am linking up to the Mud colony site today,  here, you can check out what other potters are doing, and it is fun to follow along from week to week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anna Lambert, ceramicist

As I explore around the web, I find all sorts of people working in clay who create amazing objects.  Last night I found a site that shows the work of Anna Lambert, here.  She is a clay artist who has been working for over 30 years in North Yorkshire, and is currently working on an MA, hoping to change from coil to slab construction.
  I went back again this evening to the website, and it makes me hurt to see her stuff.  It makes me want to do work this good. 
okay, I'm not enamoured of the handle, but look at the body of this pitcher, the stripes are wonderful,
bowls stacked on a tray, with spoons featuring goldfinches

candlestick, about 42cm tall
butter dish
I like the color palette, I like the shapes, I like the birds, I like the influences of rock, and the abstraction of nature,
Well, that's all for now.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First Glaze

Yesterday I tried to fire my half-kiln up to cone six.  At 1 a.m. I shut it off without it having turned itself off.  This morning when I opened it up, I was relieved to see that the cone had started to bend, so it probably got up to cone 5.  Happily, the clear glaze that I had put most of my faith in turned out beautifully!  It is the 1215 from Digital Fire/Plainsman, which I will post later,

So, I am really pleased to finally get some feedback. 
the other clear glaze that I tested didn't quite melt, and is pretty stony. 
I have been using the little rabbit mug all afternoon,
Hope you're having a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making some Progress,

I fired the bottom ring of my little, newly hooked up kiln yesterday! Yippee! 
 So, now I have a bit of bisque, including some test cylinders,
 Already the underglaze colors look brighter, so it will be exiting to see them with the glaze over top.  I have 2 glazes that I want to test, one from Lisa in Savannah, and one from the Digital Fire/Plainsman web-site. I went to Tree (the pottery supply place here in Saskatoon) and what a co-incidence, she had a test cylinder with the exact same glaze on it that I meant to test!!  (the frit that I requested is an odd one, and she had just got some of it in to mix up this same glaze) 

(the underside of some little dishes that I made some weeks ago)
So after seeing the sample of the glaze, I am super excited to try it myself!
 One of the things that I threw in my first bisque firing were these three flat shapes that I cut out to use as push molds for more little trays.  these will be a bit larger than the ones in the previous photo,, about 5" x 8" or so,
Of course I fired another load today.
I wonder if my little half-kiln would make it up to cone six before I get the new elements....

Monday, September 10, 2012


Yesterday I spent several hours out of doors in the back yard. Partly we were able to fill in the forty foot trench where the new electrical line runs out to the garage, but as you can see there are still lots of bricks to re-install into a small patio area.
I also had a lovely coffee break with a blueberry poppyseed muffin and espresso in one of my favorite German cups.
On saturday I took the elements out of the top half of my little kiln but when I started to replacethem I found that the new ones I had ordered in were the wrong size. So they are going to get in the right ones but I guess that will take another week or two. I might try to fire the kiln using only the bottom ring. It's been about 3-1/2 months since I've been able to see anything finished and it's starting to get to me. Also I've made a few clay forms to use as tools so it would be nice to. Get them to the bisque stage.
The third photo here is a screen capture of the site of Scottish potter Karen mcphail. I notice that she is using some decals of newspaper type which was something I had thought would be fun to try and sure enough it looks really good. I still might try it sometime.
I bought some new cones for the kiln but also found my stash of cones from 11 years ago. Would they still be good? They have also been frozen since then...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Late this afternoon I tried to make some silk screens. Although I got most of the supplies during the last couple of weeks it seems that nobody in Saskatoon sells the little tray/carrier for the emulsion to use to apply it to the screen. One of the shop assistants said that many people use the squeegee thing to spread it on. So, I tried this. It was pretty messy and not particularly even in it's coverage. The other little problem is that I did get a light box but it is quite small and the light seems brighter on one side of the screen than the other. The first screen I did didn't work t too well. The second one worked a bit better but still not perfect. The dimmer side of the light box made a blurrier print. Well I'll try again later and see what happens.
On a more optimistic note the plug in fort kiln will hopefully be installed tomorrow. My neighbor and I have dug a forty foot long trench, eighteen inches deep to lay the cable into from the house to the garage. It goes under a small sidewalk and through a patio area so I had to dig up a bunch of paving bricks. The lengths we must go to! I guess this weekend I will be trying to re-lay the patio. But finally! I hope to be able to fire some greenware. Who knows what it will look like when it's all glazed.