We're nearing the end of October and Warwickshire doesn't know if it's summer or autumn. It was freezing last week but today the sun is warm and shining brilliantly. I spent a good deal of time on the wheel in the basement last week and, boy, did I know then that the season had changed. Got to get an electric fire going down there.
The AMA Exhibition at Holy Trinity was a great success in terms of sales and interest in our group. In fact my shelves look a little depleted right now. So, cold or no cold, I'll be in the basement for the next few weeks.
I've got two exhibitions coming up. The first is an Open Studio here at the house, joined by Rosie exhibiting her jewellery, and friends, Steve and Kay, who are just back for the winter from their home in France, and are selling their wood carvings and hand-knitted throws. The second is a Contemporary Craft Fair at the Civic Hall in Stratford-upon-Avon.
So, what's coming out of that kiln, I hear you cry.
I just love making cups and jugs. And I have to say, these have worked well on several levels.
Firstly, the glaze.
This is called 'Green Hue' and I buy it from Potterycraft. My usual method of preparing to dip a piece is to get my hands in the glaze bucket and give it a good stir to break up any lumps that have sunk to the bottom. However, for reasons unknown but maybe because it was so cold, I used a hand whisk and found it did the job much quicker and more thoroughly, because it fired to a beautiful pale, jade-like colour that I haven't achieved for a long time.
Also, I have a leaf-shaped tool that was designed for carving wax that I had pressed into the clay in order that the glaze would pool in the depressions and appear darker. I couldn't have been more pleased and I have since gone slightly crazy putting this pattern on everything.
If you're not too confident with drawing or painting this is a great way to add interest to a piece.
By the way, the rim was dipped in a white glaze in order to get that snowy effect around the top.
I love adding one glaze to another - after doing a small test piece first, of course.
This is a zinc based white, glossy glaze onto which I flick a dark blue glaze (Lagano Blue, from Scarva Pottery) from a stiff paint brush. This is a table centrepiece that I sell with the wooden stand, that Alan kindly cuts and I stain and wax. These multi-vased pieces were inspired by Edmund de Waal's 'Water Shed' exhibition a couple of years ago. Mind you, Edmund had a couple of hundred pots lined-up, but when I get longer pieces of wood I'll be aiming for five, or maybe, even seven.
Making another of my big, press-moulded bowls (as in Post 1 Goodbye Clingfilm) I always have some rolled-out clay left over that used to go in the slop bucket. But I've found a better use for it.
Leaf-shaped Gift Tags!
I paint and glaze one side leaving the back for writing on in pencil. This is easily erased by the recipient and - if they can bear to part with it - used again.
Well, before I end this post I have to show you the latest stage of the 'embossed' sweet potato, (first coming to life in Post 7 Family Matters and the Price of Potatoes)
It's out of the clay mould and the two halves are slurried together, and still drying out before bisque firing.
Both sides. Pretty cool, eh!
I'll admit I'm getting a little bit obsessed with this potato thing, and I haven't even got one glazed yet. But those spuds can create shapes that I would never have dreamt up.
Happy potting Folks