Monday, 20 July 2015

Extruded vases and a Long Lost tool


Two of the things I have been working on over the last weeks have been a extruded vases and long dishes.The most successful of these will be going to an exhibition at Leeds Craft and Design Gallery next week, entitled "Figure That'.

Once I have made the die the initial extrusions are comparatively straightforward to make. But by the time I have added the bases, incised each design, (no two are the same so each design has to fit the individual flow of the piece), days seem to go by. These ones are ready to be put into the glaze kiln, they have been bisc fired, coloured glazes applied to the designs with a slip trailer, then the glazed sections masked out with wax emulsion so that I can dip or spray the rest of the area with contrasting glaze.




I got this lot in the glaze kiln late Saturday night, so I am hoping for some good results come Tuesday.


I couldn't resist admitting to this ridiculous cat and ridiculous owner, neither of whom at this point helped either of us achieve anything at speed.

One thing I haven't been working on this year is a competition piece for Potfest in the Park, the fantastic show of British and International ceramics held at Hutton in the Forest Penrith next weekend. The year I decided not to apply, the competition theme is temptingly illustrative. It is 'Biblical' - I would have been spoilt for choice of ideas!


But this year I am not going to be there. Last Autumn I decided to have a year out, and the way things turned out this year, it was a very fortuitous decision. It's kind of strange, and I am feeling a little sad to be missing it, and all my friends, though I know I made the right decision.  Have fun all of you, I will think of you setting up your stands. (I shall instead be listening to music at 'Womad' World Music Festival, a treat indeed).



Last week I was looking for a lost tool, and in my frustration I ended up tipping out 4 boxes of odds and ends, things like interesting objects to impress into clay, or half made tools, a lot dating from way back to when I used to run pottery evening classes.



I never found what I was looking for in the guddle, (because it was in fact right under my nose all along), but I DID find my LONG LOST serrated kidney. Oh joy - a treasure from art school days, lost for maybe ten or more years. They 'don't make them like that any more' you see, it is finger cuttingly sharp, and magic to use.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Octo-puss in his new home



It was lovely to be sent this picture today from the owners of Octo-puss looking very happy in his new home. I do rather miss him, so it was especially rewarding to see him so well loved.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Images from a busy Spring Fling




                                      

The garden all tidied up

                                                  

Ready to go, all clean and planted up.


Wendy's display, looking good!



The boards screening off a multitude of shed stuff whilst displaying pots.



And then the visitors who kept coming


and coming



and talking


and asking



and being wonderfully interested in everything.


There were lots of old and new faces to say hello to, and old and new pots to say goodbye to. 






Thanks to you all for coming along and to the Spring Fling organisers - it just gets busier!







Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Spring Fling this weekend and the windows are squeaky clean


It is Spring Fling this weekend and the windows have never been so clean, well at least not since this time last year.



Everything has been washed down and dusted and Rodger helped to mount two of the 3D pictures on the wall. It was rewarding to see them up. 



 The keyhole slot in the back worked well as a secure way of hanging them, it was just a little fiddly getting the two screws in the right position.



Now I just have the studio to clear up, but one corner is looking better already.


It's just a case of making things look more like organised chaos rather than plain chaotic chaos.


How did I acquire quite so many brushes over the years? I did inherit a whole lot more from the late Ralph Neat who no doubt had built up a similar life time's collection.


This morning I'll tackle this next half. Tomorrow there is another kiln to unpack, the garden to sort out, flapjack to make, and then all ready to go. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Lots to do and not everyone is helping




With so much to do you would hope it is all hands on deck, but she isn't exactly helping to put the clean socks away!




How did that happen? Spring Fling Open Studios is less than two weeks away and I still have a mountain to climb. Not only am I trying to get half made pots finished off and through the kilns but I suddenly realised that I really ought to have a few more of the smaller items such as mugs and jugs made. I put aside my glazing to have a last ditch throwing day on Friday, slipping and putting on handles over the weekend.




The 'grey' damp cupboard is filled and ready for some slip trailed decoration today. Will they or won't they get finished in time?




Meanwhile back to glazing - bowls with their foot rims waxed, ready to dip.




A set of gannet candle holders,. The gannets have been glazed in coloured glazes, and masked out, then the whole dipped in transparent glaze. Some of these are for Roger Lever's gannet exhibition, 'Infinite Space', opening at the Lever Gallery in Dalbeattie on Friday. Roger is a photographer and he has taken some superb shots of these magnificent birds. His studio is also open during Spring Fling, so worth a visit. 




This is a very busy and rather overcrowded glaze bench - I use wax emulsion to mask out, but of course as would happen with a deadline looming I went and ran out of it half way through.




I had forgotten the old pre-emulsion method of hot wax. It's brilliant, if a bit smelly. An old chip fryer keeps it at a constant melt and it forms a much denser resist than the emulsion.




Now to get this lot through the kiln. These trays are very greedy for space.  




This one came through last week in time for the Gannet exhibition tomorrow.




These wee fellows are to keep him company.


Other finished pots from the last glaze firing are waiting to be looked over, priced and displayed. Being Spring Fling, the latter means the annual showroom window clean, major de-spider and dust session. Later.



This year once again I have Wendy Kershaw coming down to share my studio over Spring Fling. It is lovely for me to have her company and beautiful work around and it makes for an interesting combined studio visit.



Spring Fling runs from 23rd May to 25th with an early opening preview for Wendy and I on the Friday - do come and join us if you can. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Back to work in a Changed world




After a prolonged time away I am back in the workshop, rescuing my somewhat mouldy pots. I got the batch of 3D pictures sprayed with coloured slips over weekend and they are now drying slowly under polythene. 






This one is Aesop's Fable 'The Fox and Stork'.




The first version was a plate which was sold at the preview of the Spring Fling exhibition at The McGill Duncan Gallery.



I did like these when they were still in the plain damp terracotta red clay, but once the colours are fired I think/hope they will come back to life.



The last 6 weeks or so have been sad yet special ones. We lost our dear Father after a short illness. He was 89 and had lived a full life. He was really remarkably fit right up until the last year or so. 

He was a regular a visitor to Potfest in the Park, I don't think he ever missed it. The last time he undertook a long drive by himself was to go to Potfest 2014. He loved to come and see the show, meet his pottery friends and see what I had been making for it. Often to my embarrassment he would declare to be my biggest fan! 

He was a GP by profession, but also a fine woodworker.  He always kept his hands busy. It was in his workshop in the cellar, with the freedom to use his tools and under his gentle encouragement, that I owe my love of making. As Len McDermid said in his tribute: 

                                               'He constructed and he invented.
                                                He made things and he mended things. 
                                                He mended people and he made people'. 



Here is Father making a canoe. He made many boats, and taught us all seamanship.



At Potfest 2013



80th Birthday cake



Tapestries kept his hands constantly busy, especially in later years.



89th Birthday at the Halterburn near Yetholm in September.  Many happy family days were spent making dams here.


Life has changed for me, but my Father will live on in everything I make.