Well, just as my Christmas exhibition approaches, guess what? My kiln starts misbehaving again. This time it's the control box. It's not reading the correct temperature in the kiln. Instead of beginning at 80 degrees an hour, it decided to start at about 200 degrees an hour. So, it's going to get another overhaul and I'll just have to "hold fire" for a while.
Potclays Supplies held an open day recently and so I dragged Alan with me up to Stoke on Trent for what he dreaded was a morning of clay shopping. But no, he actually quite enjoyed it, as there were lots of demonstrations to entertain him.
I, meanwhile, chatted to the sales people. Now, I never use brush-on glazes but on the Mayco stand I was given a small pot of glaze free of charge. So I gave it a go.
I was very pleased with this result.
This red/orange with touches of black is called Copper Float. The metallic drips are my oxide mix of 4 parts manganese to 1 part copper carbonate. The black band around the neck is just manganese. It's the copper part that creates runs - manganese alone stays put. And these were fired to 1245ºc with a 30 min' soak.
With brush-on glaze you apply 3 coats, letting each coat dry before applying the next. I was so impressed that I bought myself another pot. But it is more expensive than a dipping glaze so it's good to remember this when pricing. But it's just the colour for a Christmas display.
But I went a bit crazy when I bought some clay. I thought I'd try something different - and it certainly is.......
They call it Grogged Pink.
It's a mixture of Stoneware coloured with Earthenware and very, and I mean very, heavily grogged. Garden pots, birdbaths and ornaments or anything for the garden will suit this clay. But I did manage to throw one pot.
Quite rough on the hands but not impossible.
I painted on wax in large leaf shapes in order to see the clay, then dipped it in my white satin glaze. As you can see it's reacted quite strongly with the clay and has changed the glaze to pale green. It looks gloriously rustic on my white dresser. I love pottery, just for surprise moments like this.
So as Christmas approaches it gives us all an opportunity to show off our favourite pots in the form of Christmas cards.
Every year Alan works his photographic magic, and produces a personal card for family and friends.
This year we have had our cards printed as postcards and I've added tartan ribbon for hanging.
While my kiln has been out of action I have been enjoying discovering other blogs and websites. There are two that I particularly enjoyed.
"The Beat That My Heart Skipped" was my first discovery. "A blog dedicated to daily design inspirations". It covers anything and everything and is very entertaining.
And it was on this blog I found Natasha Newton's paintings on canvas and stones.
Delicately painted stones collected from a Suffolk beach.
They made me want to go out and get digging in the garden. I didn't of course. But it did inspire me to get painting on my pots again.
I'd forgotten how much I enjoy doing this.
I don't use underglaze for this, I use black glaze stain before the bisque firing, and on porcelain it shows off the crisp lines.
But, unfortunately, I'll have to wait until I can fire them so, in the meantime.................
Happy Potting Folks