Friday 30 January 2009

Spare leg toast racks

I had some left over legs from the stools - decided they would make good toast racks, not that many people use toast racks these days.
Things I've been doing this week include cutting a new die. This one is for pugmill's the letter box shaped expansion box - the widest dish yet, should be interesting. I got some NEW drills this week - it was so much easier and quicker than beavering away for ages with blunt ones -didn't realsise it would make SUCH a difference!
Jobs, messy jobs.

Monday 26 January 2009

Burns and biscs

More images from the Burns celebration in Dumfries on Sunday. It seemed such a pity to burn that superb willow horse, though it did make a wildly dramatic spectacle. I loved these fish, and they looked even better as it got dark, especially dancing about to the music.

I did a batch of throwing yesterday - mugs for the local Yacht Club order. They felt rather small after the monster stuff. Meanwhile I've been doing some tests with the black clay, taking the bisc to 1160c. I tried applying some glaze to these high bisc fired pieces and it seemed to go on fine - I thought it would just run off. Hmmm, it's good that the glaze is being absorbed, but the whole point is that I want the clay to be pretty vitrified, so that I feel happier about the large pieces going outsdoors. I might even try a 1200c bisc and see what happens. The Valentines black should go up to stoneware, but I've mixed it 50/50 with Red earthenware.....Ok, I should have had this all worked out BEFORE I made the huge stools, but I can never learn to hold back when the enthusiasm sets in.

Sunday 25 January 2009

All Music this weekend

A big Robert Burns celebration for his 250 year anniversary took place this afternoon in Dumfries.There was music and paper lanterns with three huge processions along the river arriving in time for the fire sculpture and lone piper. As I was both singing Burns songs with the 'Feral Choir', as well as playing drums with the 'Samba Sisters', I had a great day. Here is a photo of 'The Tam o'Shanter' willow fire sculpture, with the 'deil' hanging onto it's tail. Trevor Leat made this - too good to burn, but it did look spectacular as it went off.
Sheep lanterns,
....and a moose or two. Sorry, I never got any shots after dusk when it all came together but it gives a feel of the event.

Friday 16 January 2009

More scary stools

I've been working on the top of this doughnut stool today. Great deliberations have been going on as to whether to fire it as one piece, or socket the top on afterwards. I went for one piece after three changes of mind, twice in the middle of the night! We had to lift the top on and off three scary times,(once to mark the position, once to compress the buffer sausages of soft clay and the third time for good. I 'm going to leave the outside support columns in situ for the firing whatever.

I can't believe how long these big pieces take to make. I thought that I would have finished these two by mid week. This four legged one feels fairly secure. Cutting through the central column has helped it to look less heavy. It's funny, but the bigger the scale the less in terms of decoration it seems to need. This doesn't go well with a compulsive graphic decorator like me so I am having to sit on my hands to stop them twitching. I've laid out the simplest lines of long legged birds up the stalks and two huge beaks on the seat.

Thursday 8 January 2009

Monster stool construction completed!

This week I got the construction of the on-going stool finished! (Much delayed by elbow fractures and Christmas). It was pretty terrifying to lift the top seat in place, but this time it was MUCH firmer. Once in place I could think about the surface design which took another morning of drawings and deliberations. It is now safely back in its three sections to dry out slowly and hopefully without incident. What a project - still this is what the Arts Council funding was all about. I am meant to have 'finished ' the year's 'creative development' by the end of January. I can see it over-running as I have another two 'African' inspired stools underway plus a lot of glaze tests to see what will look best on this black clay. After that a session of throwing safer (in terms of scale) slipware might be quite relaxating, but I have been on such a roll with problem solving round every's been great. Will I be saying this after trying to get this monster in the kiln I wonder?

Saturday 3 January 2009

Happy Creations 2009

This lovely plate of Prue Cooper"s I bought from the Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright and gave to Rodger for Christmas. It a fantastic picture of Rodger. Not only is it HIS chicken topiary, it is simply HIM. How did Prue Cooper know?

I got back into the workshop on Friday and had a HUGE New Year tidy up. How could things have got into quite such a muddle and tip when no one had been in it that much? I think the pre Christmas one handed bench wiping and sweeping etc must have taken its toll, ( all better now thankfully). Only after a morning of blitz could I remember where my head I was before the Christmas New Year break.... I uncovered all the plastic wrappers and discovered...the top to the stool! Actually it is the second top - the first one had met a rather unhappy fate as I had been so keen to see the piece together we had lifted the top on while still just a little too soft. As we were all standing discussing, admiring, critisising, discussing, it a rather dramatic self destruct...shloomp on the floor.

Also ongoing, I found the solid wave.....I'm still working on where this one is going. It was really a spare double skin which I decided to press over some corrugations, but I like the idea of an upright wiggle.

Happy Creations 2009!