Sunday, 24 September 2017

A run of tricky Commissions

Over the summer I have been working my way through a host of rather tricky commissions, time consuming both in thought and execution. All now collected and thankfully appreciated. This tile panel is for the back of a range, each panel of six to be mounted on either side of a stove pipe.

As they had to be a specific size it seemed worthwhile to make a die, extrude them in one long length and cut them. This also meant that they were far less prone to warp. Dried slowly between boards, they were delightfully flat.

Next up a large plate for a 90th birthday. The recipient had planted and tended a deciduous wood and has a large extended family.


 After that a celtic design plate seemed pretty straightforward.

The requests for name plaques keep coming.

And as for those penguins...

 And that car....

The joy of tile off cuts, commissions are ok but it's a relief to play.


Monday, 15 May 2017

Glazing and Glazed

This batch of tall jars and vases was constructed and bisc fired before I went away to Nepal in March, so though initially a struggle to tune back in to them, they are back underway now. At last just about ready for the glaze kilns. 

Which colour where, and should I test again?

Unfortunately I managed to melt the main the fuse box, not once but twice, so there has been a bit of a kiln traffic jam.  Lucky I didn't burn the whole pottery down. Isolator switch wasn't isolating.....

There are going to be few kiln firings over the next fortnight, with Dumfries and Galloway's brilliant Spring Fling Open studios  event round the corner in under two weeks time, 27th - 29th May

I returned to another order for plates for No 16 Restaurant Byers Road. Another glaze dipping feast. I was really hoping to concentrate on new work for Spring Fling, but hopefully I will have managed to complete both - just about in time. 

 Meanwhile a few more individual orders have been completed. Thanks for your patience everyone.

Wendy Kershaw
 is once again sharing my studio over Spring Fling. Renowned for her beautiful porcelain picures, this year there will be more surprises. I for one am looking forward to seeing her new work. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Dishes and Jars

Allie had been able to help out a couple of days lately. It's great to have two for the extruded ware, one to push and one to pull. The trouble with extruding is that it is always tempting to get a bigger batch of work started than is possible to work on in one go. Here are the extruded dishes sit waiting to be slipped

The extruder charged, die in place all ready to go. This time well labelled. It's amazing how easy it is to get things upside down, back to front or the wrong way round.

I also started some more long hangings, there seemed to be a few empty spaces in the showroom that were asking for them. These are marked with an incised design and have an initial brushed coat of slip. The rest of the colour will be added at the glaze stage.

This smaller set of dishes, (I call them 'rug platters'), have a coat of poured slip. I rest them on supports to prevent sagging until the slip dries a little.

The rug platters fit in the smaller kiln, so they are finished more quickly. This one has a bee pattern, a wallpaper like departure but I sort of like it.

Also extruded are some taller pots. Here again the design has been incised with more colour to be added after the biscuit firing.

As always the shape and feel of the vessel dictates the design.

This week Allie came round again to help me out. I was in a bit of rush to get everything at a state before I head off for the rest of the month. We got the first biscuit kiln unpacked, the bases waxed and all then dipped in transparent glaze.

The glaze kiln was fired yesterday, though I won't get it unpacked now until I return and the current batch of slip decorated work is now drying on the shelves.

Friday, 11 November 2016

An Autumn of Bicycles

Clay is not the first medium I would think of which to make a bicycle so this commission has been, and is, an interesting challenge.

I had to think 'fat bike' tyres, and a hollow handle extrusion seemed to be the perfect thing, especially as it already had the ridge for the inner wheel.

I largely made it up as I went along, with just a rough sketch to scale and to see how it all fitted. I had originally thought, freestanding with one foot down so as to act as a tripod,  soon discovering that this was going to be a soft clay logistical nightmare. It needed a base as an anchoring point.

The figure has extruded arms and legs (hollow) and a thrown body and head. I'll add more colour at the glaze stage, I didn't dare use too much slip for fear of the thing collapsing.

 I have been drying him out very slowly, and fingers crossed for the kiln.

It's a full biscuit firing tonight with bicycle man at the back.

I said an Autumn of bicycles. It all kicked off with the the Dalbeattie Hard Rock Challenge Mugs. Rewarding in a different but uniformly satisfying way.

Next up (commission wise) is another car, what's this with transport?