Wheelthrown Jugs and Vases
It’s been a long time since I wrote in this blog…. 2020 has certainly been a mind altering experience! Prior to that my posting was slowing due to being so busy with the ClayMotion shop I have mentioned in previous posts … so the combination of both made 2020 an almost complete write off! But it’s not finished as yet.
Due to the ongoing social distancing requirements that will be in place most certainly until a vaccine is rolled out, which I suspect will be quite a while, I am unable to run classes at the shop-studio at full capacity. I haven’t for a while, and, as i said, i can’t see that changing for months.
So, I have made the difficult decision to class the shop and relocate back to my home studio, where I can still accommodate socially distanced classes, but having lower overheads, will be more viable.
Having made the decision I now need to focus on the positive outcomes, and one of them is that I can now dedicate more time to my own art practice and post more regularly here on my blog. I also plan to attach a shopping cart to this site and sell my artwork online from here, rather than via a third party such as Etsy. During lockdown I have also been drawing more, so might share some of that process and results too.
So for my first post in months I would like to share some wheelthrown jugs and vases I threw on the pottery wheel back in February. These will be posted in the online shop, but if you are interested and don’t want to wait – great Christmas pressies – let me know and payment options can be organised via email.
They were thrown using BRT clay which is a course clay, but has a beautiful, speckled, textural body that is also gorgeous with a glaze over the top. I do always like to leave some of the body unglazed to feature the clay surface – that’s kind of the purpose of using it in the first place.
Following is a video of me throwing one of these vessels and also a video of the finished vessels.
Enjoy, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon on a much more regular basis!
Be sure to also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to follow along with my creative journey.
I haven’t posted anything on the blog for ages and ages – mostly because of the business I began two years ago with my partner …. yes we have just had our 2nd birthday! The business is called ClayMotion, and we run art and craft classes and sell art supplies. I teach pottery, mosaics, acrylic pouring, drawing, and eco dyeing, so as you can imagine it is pretty hectic.
I do, however, want to try to dedicate some time to revitalising this blog for my own artwork and hope to post at least once a week …. so I will begin with Eco Dyeing.
I live on 10 acres in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia and have lots of trees and flowers on the property, and always have some sort of gorgeous foliage at my fingertips …. so I decided to try some eco dyeing, something I had been reading alot about, and watching YouTube videos, for quite some time – it was on the gunna list.
So, I have completed a few experiments now with some gorgeous results, and have a few videos up on my You Tube channel – something else I am going to be trying to pay more attention to moving forward!
A video is below the following photo gallery of the most recent workshop I have taught. You can also see more videos on the Eco Dyeing Playlist I have created which I will continue adding videos to as I do more experiments – well play, actually!
Scroll down, watch and enjoy – and I will see you next week 🙂
Remember my art installation Earth Blanket exhibited as part of The Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA)? Well it has now been accepted into the North Sydney Art Prize – which is great…. but now how to get it there! What was I thinking – haha….
I also have an artwork on display, Symbiotic, at the Post Office Gallery in Central Ballarat as part of the annual Ballarat Arts Foundation Alumni Exhibition. The exhibition runs through till the end of the week, so if you are in or around Ballarat there are some great artworks to see – plus there is a peoples choice award – nudge nudge wink wink 🙂
My latest acrylic pouring painting was my best yet, with lots of cell development in different sizes and good colour formation – very happy with this effort, and will be having another go with the same colours and pouring medium – the trick though is getting the consistency of the paint correct….
The painting was created over the top of another painting I was not a fan of … I didn’t gesso the canvas, so we shall see – so far so good! I used the flip cup method, and just look at the colours in the cup! Looks good enough to eat…
That’s it for today – hope to see you next week 🙂
Since my first post about acrylic pouring a few months ago I have had another few plays with the technique and it is quite a fun spontaneous method. As you experiment more there is a certain amount of predictability to it – the colours you choose, the order that you layer your colours, things like that – but once it is on the canvas the paint takes on a life of its own. In this way it is a bit like pottery – you can control the form you make, apply your precisely measured glaze design and recipe, but once in the kiln the flame will take over and the kiln goddess will have her way!
Previously I have experimented with flip cups* and dirty pours*, so this time I thought I would try a couple of different methods I have seen while losing hours to You-Tube!!
Firstly I tried pouring from a jug in which I layered my paints. I poured in a circular motion onto a larger canvas … I videoed it, but have just a screenshot of what it looked like, because I can’t upload a video directly to WordPress and I don’t have it posted somewhere else to add via URL – anyway the screenshot gives you the idea (I hope). The pic next to it is the end result after some titling.
Next I lined up three toilet rolls and poured my paint into them directly on the canvas. Again, I can’t show the video, put a still pic, and the end result…. I enjoyed this method, and it is a good way to cover a more rectangular canvas.
Finally I did a colander pour! it was a fun method, and I will definitely try it again now that I know – sort of – what to expect! Finally I can show you a video of this as I posted it on my Instagram page. Watch the vid, then keep scrolling to see the final painting.
Acrylic pouring can be challenging in that you are pouring – usually – from a circular object onto a square canvas so that it can be hard to reach the corners without losing the integrity of the pour and “cells”. To counter this I tried pouring a little paint on the corners and then blowing through a straw so that the paint would flow and blend with the other colours resulting in a more integrated effect and not just a blob of paint in the corner – I think it worked quite well.
*Dirty Pour – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and poured onto the canvas.
*Flip Cup – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and flipped onto the canvas.
As promised I am going to attempt to keep up the Sunday Studio visit blog posts at the very least! So today I will share with you an elaborate doodle that took me a few drawing sessions to finish.
I have been having fun subscribing to Scrawlbox, a subscriber art supplies box of goodies that I receive every month. I began this as a way to prompt me at least once a month to create an artwork, because I have been so overrun with the shop.
I hadn’t received my October box as yet (and still haven’t, so they are generously sending a replacement box – good old Australia Post), so I decided to create a doodle using the alcohol based markers I received in a previous box. I didn’t have any marker paper so just used my visual journal, but I didn’t mind because I wanted to retain the intensity of the individual colours in the doodle anyway (IE – I didn’t mind that I couldn’t blend the colours).
I was happy with the result, and my son loved it so much he wants me to get it printed on fabric and make a shirt for him – or get someone else to make a shirt for him! So that was nice 🙂
I still haven’t received that October box so today I have began a watercolour painting of Peeps, my shopdog, also using supplies from a previous Scrawlbox – this time a watercolour palette. I have finished the sketch and layed down some colour, which I will continue tomorrow and during the week. I will finish with some finer detail – fur, etc – using some watercolour pencils which I already have in my art supplies collection.
So that’s it for today’s studio visit – see you next week 🙂
Its been AGES since my last Sunday Studio Visit post, mostly due to the shop I am now running in Central Ballarat, but I am hoping to get myself back into the habit – so here we go!
I had another custom order for coffee mugs recently, and so as usual made more than I needed – just in case. The order was for two, so I made six. They all bisque fired with no problem, so I glazed four blue and did the others in red – they all turned out great! Peeps (my studio dog) did a great job supervising!
The clay is Feeney’s BRT (Buff Raku Trachyte). It is a groggy clay which, when fired to 1300c displays a gorgeous dark speckle which can sparkle in the light. This is caused by the particles of trachyte. This speckle shows through the glaze and in very ‘on point’ at the moment!
Though groggy, I have found that throwing with it quite soft makes centring faster and easier so it is quite do-able for average sized tableware. You can see me throwing a vase in a previous post HERE
I began using this clay years ago for my wheelthrown sculpture during my PhD but was not using glaze on it at this point as i wanted to feature the surface of the clay :
But for tableware the clay looks gorgeous glazed. The above mugs had underglaze applied inside and half on the outside with a clear glaze applied to cover the underglaze. The bottom half of the mugs on the outside are not glazed to feature the raw clay.
And on that note, I will leave you with a video of the glazing process 🙂
Sorry for the absence of late! Followers may know I have opened a shop in Central Ballarat which consumes a huge amount of my time. On top of that, currently an event – the Biennale of Australian Art – is happening in Ballarat, and I have work on show… which means I had to create it … which also took a huge amount of time, though pleasurable 🙂
My artwork, Earth Blanket, is a ceramic installation comprised of over 20 individual pieces sited at Lake Wendouree as part of the Lakeside Sculpture Work, a component of the Biennale. In total there are 36 sculptures installed around the lake from around Australia.
During the making of the art I wanted to create blog posts documenting the progress, but just kept running out of time, or was too exhausted! So, here we are in hindsight – keep scrolling for pics and videos 🙂
Throwing the enclosed forms:
Manipulating the freshly thrown orbs:
Opening the glaze kiln:
The concept of the artwork is to trigger a re-connection to the Earth via an organic contemplation within the environment using a medium which is of the Earth herself – clay. It is only through a re-awareness of humanities symbiotic relationship to the Earth that we can stop consuming her and begin living with her.
I was very happy with my site at the lake; the site being an important conduit to delivering the artwork’s message.
BOAA is well worth a visit if you are in or near the Ballarat area – in fact it is worth planning a visit even if you are not! Besides the sculpture walk there are also lots of solo and group exhibitions, performances, music and much more happening, with a combination of both free and ticketed events. And there is plenty of time to visit as the biennale runs till November 6th 2018. You can check out the program on the BOAA WEBSITE.
Stay tuned for a post showcasing the fab works of the Sculpture Walk!
Its been a while since I’ve been on the wheel, apart from demonstrating in classes – mainly because I am so busy with classes.
Regular readers may know that last October I moved my home studio into a shop in Ballarat Central. This means I have increased my pottery classes, have introduced mosaic classes, and have also invited guest artists to run workshops. As well there are also art supplies, an exhibition space and locally made giftware. All this adds up to a very busy routine.
A little while ago, however, I received an order for some mugs, so this provided a need and some inspiration to jump back on the wheel. The order was for mugs made from BRT clay, so I conditioned a bag to make it nice and soft for fast centring and jumped in the saddle.
The order was for four mugs, so I made twelve – you never know what the kiln gods will do! Besides, I wanted a set for the shop, and I fancied one for myself.
I threw the mugs in one throwing session and finished with a tall cylinder vase using approximately 1.8kg clay, leaving it on the wheelhead to dry. I was quite happy with the result, so a few days later I threw another vase using 2.1kg of BRT clay, which you can watch in the video below.
Next I will have a go with 3kg of clay, so stay tuned!
As some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted on this blog for months!! This is because I opened a shop in Central Ballarat where I am teaching pottery classes amongst other things.
Regular readers may know that I taught for years from my home studio which had been renovated and even extended…. but I kept outgrowing it. So in October I moved the whole shebang to the shop/studio and have been flat out ever since. The shop’s window display features locally made giftware, there is an exhibition space, art and pottery supplies, casual studio space hire, kiln service, and classes by myself and other guest artists…. you can check everything out on the ClayMotion website.
Even my weekends have been taken up lately with preserving all the goodies from our garden.
But this weekend I decided to get back into a bit of art. One of the guest artists this month is running some acrylic pouring workshops at the studio, and being inspired, I decided to have a bit of fun at home. So I watched a few YouTube vids and plunged in!
I used coconut milk as my additive to achieve cells on all of last nights paintings, and I am going to use nail polish remover in the next batch, which I am hoping to tackle tonight. I didn’t pour my canvases over a try, but instead lay grease proof paper over newspaper. This is so that when the excess that poured off the canvases dry I can peel them off as acrylic skins. I then want to cut them into shapes and mount them in glass dome cabochons to make jewellery. So stay tuned for that blog post 🙂
Below I will explain my process for each painting … so read on!
This was the first painting I did, I applied the paint by layering the colours in a funnel allowing for more control of application, however I didn’t pour enough paint for it to be fluid enough. The paint was also a bit too thick, and perhaps I didn’t add enough coconut milk. So I had to spread the paint manually which blended the colours together a bit too much and no cells developed. So I decided to try a technique I saw on YouTube called the String Pull Technique, and I think it worked out quite well. After pouring the canvas a piece of string is coated with paint laid on the wet canvas in a shape – for me it was a squiggle – and then pulled off the canvas in a downward motion. I did it with white first, then black and then two with glitter gold. I then pulled a craft stick through some of the wet paint to create different effects. Here’s a vid of what I did (its quite big so keep scrolling down for more info):
The second painting I quite like and I created it using a dirty pour. This is when you layer the paints in a cup and then turn the cup onto the canvas and leave it to run to the bottom of the cup. Although I thinned the paint down a little it still wasn’t quite enough and I think I still needed a little more coconut milk. Although there are a few nice cells and quite a few really small ones I do like the colours and the way the overall composition turned out.
Here’s a vid of the dirty pour (again it is big, so keep scrolling):
The next painting had much better cell development. I thinned the paint down much more and added more coconut milk. Again it was created with a dirty pour.
And the final painting had even better cell development – not quite enough, but better. It was also created using a dirty pour. I do like the middle swirls too. It looks a bit galaxy like.
I enjoyed the process and liked how it is very similar to slip marbling and feathering on pottery. This has set my mind racing to try the string pull on a plate!
And now I am off to do some more playing!
Last week I facilitated a pit firing workshop for a community project which is part of a group exhibition commemorating the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling. One of the exhibiting artists Heather Hesterman is creating an installation consisting of ceramic pinch pots en masse and plants referencing Walling’s love of constructing gardens. The pots have been made by Hesterman’s friends, acquaintances and members of the community, both adults and children, coming together to make approximately 300 palm sized pots.
During Hesterman’s research for the project she discovered an anecdote found in Walling’s writings, indicating Walling’s joy of witnessing a friend hand-build a small pot from clay, fire it and then fill it with the local native plant species, Thomasia petalocalyx. This event together with ‘The Chalet’, which Walling had built along the Great Ocean Road, being burnt down, along with 2 other residences, inspired Hesterman’s methodology in developing the installation.
Part of that methodology involved the firing of the clay pots made during the project – enter a pit firing! As regular readers may know usually when I pit fire I add lots of varying organic ingredients and wrap the pots in seaweed, gum leaves, copper wire and the like. This endows the finished pots with a vibrant dappled colour response. Hesterman, however, wanted the smoky greys and blacks of fire to be captured on the pot surfaces, so the pit was fired using only sawdust. The sawdust creates a higher likelihood of a reduction atmosphere in the pit allowing for carbonisation of the clay surface.
The firing was successful overall with results ranging from soft smoky greys through to strong oil slick blacks.
Lisa Byrne, Director of ArtSpace at Realm, Maroondah City Council, is curating a group exhibition The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling. The exhibition commemorates the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling with artists Heather Hesterman, Rebecca Mayo and landscape designer/construction Sam Cox.
The exhibition will be held at the gallery ArtSpace at Realm, Ringwood Town Square, 179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. 03 92984553, 19 Sept – 13 Nov 2017, with the official opening on Saturday 21 October 2-4pm.
More information can be round on the website artsinmaroondah.com.au
And now enjoy the pics of the sawdust firing process 🙂