Saturday, 21 February 2015


Hello Potters and Friends,

I've just realised this afternoon that I haven't written a post on this blog since December!
So I've put down my painting brush and sat at the computer.
But, thinking about it, there is a reason why I've been so lax - I've been working very slowly.

Here's what I'm in the middle of working on right now...

I'm using black underglaze and it takes me ages. The pot hasn't been bisque fired yet, and on unfired clay your brush tends to drag making progress very slow. Also this won't be glazed on the outside so I must be accurate with every stroke because I don't want to be scraping off the mistakes, then trying to cover up the scratch marks. 
When I was a student I remember rushing to finish a pot. Why? God knows. It wasn't a race. But what I've learned over the years is to pay attention to the detail. Make sure the pot is as you want it before going into the kiln. 
Potter Lucie Rie wisely said that you can never make a bad pot good by covering it in glaze and hoping it will be transformed. It will always be a bad pot and you'll never be happy with it. 

Here's a smaller one that's been bisque fired and I'm painting a glaze on the inside.

I didn't paint right to the top of the rim because I knew that I couldn't guarantee a lovely straight black edge on the rim.  But by holding the brush steady against the far side of the pot and then turning the banding wheel, I find I have more control over that straight edge. But be sure to turn it slowly. No spinning and hoping!

But what if you thought you'd made the perfect pot but when it came out of the kiln it looked like this....

Well, yes I could fling it towards the bin... but maybe all may not be lost.... 

Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of mending ceramic and making an artistic statement from it. This was a broken pot, put back together and the join exaggerated with gold. 

My plan is to fill the crack of my pot with paper clay (which may not shrink so much and is stronger for this job) then re-fire it, and using a porcelain gold pen, mark out the crack. These can be bought in most craft shops.
I won't be able to put it for sale but it will join other slightly flawed pots that adorn my kitchen. 

And now finally I must show you this picture of a brilliant piece of carpentry that I found on the Web.

For all you throwers of pots out there, how's that for simple invention? I showed this to the love of my life who is just now sprawled out on the sofa; eyes glued to a rugby match in HD. "No problem" he said, straining to look round me.  I think he just missed Ireland scoring a vital try. But anyway, great, I expect one appearing any day soon.