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!
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 🙂
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!
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 🙂
Evening all, it is freezing here tonight with possible snow expected, so I am keeping warm by reminiscing on the bonfire firing I did a couple of weeks ago.
Every year around this time we do a clean up for the summer to reduce fire hazards during the bushfire season, and in the lead up to that I make beads and pendants which I pack into an old milo or coffee tin with sawdust, seaweed, cow dung – pretty much anything I would put into a pit firing. The tin is snuggled in amongst the branches and leaves and set alight. The tin is usually ready to pull from the ashes the following afternoon – depending on how big the bonfire was!
I have published previous posts about bonfire firing which you can read HERE.
So tonight I am experimenting with some jewellery designs with the beads that emerged from the bonfire. I have already listed one pair of earrings in my ETSY shop from this firing and there will more to come, and some necklaces.
My other exciting news is that I have had an article published in the latest edition of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. This latest edition was focused on fire, so I wrote an article about pit firing. Visit their website to find out more about getting a copy of the journal.
And now for some pics from the bonfire and finished jewellery pieces – thanks for stopping by and see you next time 🙂
It has been a while since I published anything – sorry about the absence, but things have been a bit hectic!!
Ceramics wise I have been busy with custom orders in my ETSY shop and also for a local restaurant.
I have also been experimenting with some new jewellery making techniques – which I will post about in the near future – and I have also been building up my new jewellery and craft supplies shop on ETSY
But for the purposes of this post I will stick to ceramics and i will let the pictures tell the story!
See you soon 🙂
Today is Mothers Day and my mum, sister and son are visiting – so I am not doing anything in the studio today. My other sister is away on holidays in Western Australia, and my other son in the midst of travelling around Australia in a caravan! So it the three of us – plus hubby!
So I will share with you what I would’ve done today, but did yesterday instead, because I knew I couldn’t do it today – wow, how complicated!
You may remember from my last post that I threw lots of bowls, earrings holders, yarn bowls and oil burners a few days ago. So today (yesterday) I turned and carved everything ready for drying, bisque firing and then glazing. I am quite happy with how everything turned out – and even experimented with a prototype for a light/lamp shade.
One of the freshly turned yarn bowls is already SOLD after sharing the image below on my INSTAGRAM account – so get in fast!!
Here is a gallery of the finished freshly turned pieces…. looking forward to seeing how they turn out after gazing!
Phew – it has been a busy afternoon making in the studio!
A combination of being ‘sold out’ and custom orders in my ETSY shop meant I was making yarn bowls, oil burners, earring holders and tapas bowls. It is Autumn here at the moment (though it feels like Winter), so these creations will be ready for turning and cutting on Wednesday afternoon – I think!
The yarn bowls need the needle holes and yarn spiral cut out; the earring holders need the earwire holes cut; and the oil burner need the candle hole and oxygen holes cut out.
This is a delicate operation as applying too much pressure while cutting can cause warping after glaze firing – clay has a memory, which means that the clay particles remember how they have been aligned and stretched! Clay is a living being!!
I also made a set of tapas/dipping bowls for a local restaurant. Yesterday I delivered a set of coffee/soup cup and saucers to this restaurant, and they placed another order – yay me!!
Well, that’s a wrap for today! I’m a bit tired!! See you next time 🙂