Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Can you believe it - it really WAS too long for the kiln, I couldn't shut the door. I hadn't taken into account the width of the piece, so even at 45degrees it stuck out. I was hovering with a hack saw thinking I would have to cut off some of the tassle like runners, but we decided that this was worth a go. Quite an angle for a kiln shelf, propped up on kiln bricks at one end. The kiln is on tonight, hope it doesn't slide!
Fat hollow extruded lugs on the dishes today, it gives them a good chunky substantial feel without being too heavy.
Some of the penguins are slipped here - dipped first in the black (by sticking a spike in their undercarriages, a process Annette once described rather too vividly as giving them their smear tests....), and then given their white bibs. They then line up in an orderly procession to have their orange beaks trailed.

Friday, 17 October 2008

I dug out this old photo of a Penguin Choir I made as a retirement present for the conductor of the Kirkcudbright Choral. I have an extrusion offcut which I may have a gathering of some of the ones below sitting on- in a festive manner perhaps....
I even threw a batch of penguins - fifty four to be precise, though it never feels as though I've made many as they don't take up much room. The first 6 are fun to throw, after 12 it is beginning to get a little boring....Notice the 'big fatty' - when I've had enough and the chuck has come to an end. They have become a bit of a Barnbarroch thing though and demand is constant. They are often to be found getting up to various antics...
The dishes with lovely wet slip. They are going to have fat extruded lugs.
I did some throwing this week. It's been a while and I really enjoyed it. I neeeded to make some Christmas stock, so decided to take a couple of weeks out from my extruding project.

Friday, 10 October 2008


I haven't mentioned the other bit of new equipment this year - the old dish washer died and subsequently made a perfect spray booth - the stainless steel body being put to good use by Rodger. The drainage hole in the base was just the right size to recess a banding wheel. We were concerned that the extractor motor was so powerful it might just suck the slip straight out of the window and bypass the pot altogether, but it seems to work fine.

While I have been spraying pots, Rodger has been sorting out rot in the windows, along with a feline helper.

I have laid out the design on the dishes by incising and also added any extra texture before I spray the slip. The movement of the undulations have once again just demanded swimmers as a design, and in view of all the water lying about at the moment it seems an apt theme to follow.

A new bit of equipment this year has been a spray gun which I thought would help me to apply slip to the larger pieces. The variety of layered finish has been both exciting and frustrating. Exciting as when it is right it has added great subtlety to the design, but annoying as it is so hard to tell how thick the layers are and repeating a success has been difficult.

The big pots have to be sprayed outside which means carting everything out, from banding wheel to extension lead. On this weeks dry day I rushed about madly trying to get all my layers of slip in before the next shower. I use the old fridge as a backdrop to try to catch the drift and a mask tightly pulled over my face, as well as holding my breath for a very long time.

Some of the other constructions which arrived from the 'comb' die.

I am trying to find ways of giving the right support to the curved form, but this feels like rather an over elaborate construction - I am not really a structural engineer... The form was laid over a curved bed of plaster and I had to wait some time before I could risk turning it over onto its feet. This took three of us -one at either end and one in the middle.

The comb die worked well - but the edges were dragging on the first run. The middle 'combs' were fine, but the edges tore. I went with the tearing on the first dish, but later cut the outside edge right off as it looked too fussy.

A dish with extruded hollow feet which I made earlier in the year was spoilt because the overhang sagged. I thought that if I used ridges, much like I tried with the stools, but this time in the form of a comb, it might give added strength. This die is made from aluminium (an old road sign in fact). The triangular wedges which I put in the picture are the baffles, which bolt inside the expansion box.