Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Shiver me Timbers (- not this time you won't)!



Although a lot has been going on here, not too much has actually been finished. I have had to put glazing my boats and cars on on hold while we run countless glaze tests. 



I  had no problems over the summer using a fifty/fifty mix of the suspect new batch of clay with my old clay,  but as soon as I used the same mix with my matt transparent glaze which I use on the boats, I noticed that just a hint of the horror problem of 'shivering' (or 'shimmering' - flaking glaze) was still lurking. It is made more complicated because there are undoubtedly two problems - the different batch of clay, PLUS a change in the supply source of my glaze materials. A glaze formula whose heart has never skipped a beat in 30 years has suddenly become unstable! Aargh! Every time a new batch of anything arrives I must remember to test first!

Luckily Rodger has a good chemistry head so we will get there I am sure, but I am not risking weeks of work until 'sure' is truly 'confident'.



  

Meanwhile I have been doing lots of throwing, building up much needed stock and fitting in orders, such as the annual Hardrock Challenge prizes. 


This year I made an extra trophy for 'Mac the Voice', who has compered the event since it started ten years ago.


Last weekend I had a delightful trip to Glasgow to attend a demo day by potter Shozo Michikawa. I very rarely get to these events, but it is well worth making the effort. (In this case the effort being setting my alarm for an unearthly early hour to catch the train).  I came back with a head full of Japanese aesthetic and philosophy - all very stimulating.



Having thrown an initial flat and scored thick plate he threw it and shaped it like dough only to return it to the wheel and re -throw, this time with the concentric circles now elliptical. 

 





It was really good to watch such a fluid worker, whose hands just knew what they were about. Not so much making pots as making pot sculpture, using the wheel as starting point. 'Throw away the rule books' he said and 'Put common sense out of your mind'. He certainly worked with a tremendous freedom which fairly sang through his pieces. 



This 'platter' was textured with a wire brush and manipulated into a rather lovely triangular shape, still retaining its thrown edge.




And here a fat slab, brushed with slip and scored also had the thumping and manipulating treatment. It was just lovely to watch those confident hands and absorb the energy and enthusiasm  of the man.


It's Tuesday morning now I am off to tiptoe around the workshop for a while, listening to the last of Grayson Perry's  Reith lectures. NOT TO BE MISSED! I