Saturday 15 September 2012

Fierce and Fiercer make the 500

A rather smart hardback book arrived through the post the other day, courtesy of Lark Books. I had been told that there was probably going to be an image of mine in it, and very nice indeed it was to find that Fierce Dog and Even Fiercer Dog had been included. The book features quite a wide variety of ceramics, being a selection from the 500 series over the last decade. As usual, it is beautifully laid out with a clear page for each piece.

A lot of thought has gone into each page set - my Fierce dogs with their spots has been pleasingly placed opposite that spotty glaze. Very nice, and thank you Lark books. In fairness to them I should tell you that you can buy it here from Amazon.

 I can't believe that August has come and gone and we are now nearly half way through September. What happened?! After Potfest in the Park I had promised myself that I would slow down just a little.

It wasn't THAT much of a slow down though, I had to get started pretty well straight away on the Hardrock Challenge prizes. They asked for tankard shape this year. I quite enjoy making them, it's just fitting them in over a busy summer period that is always a bit of a thought.

I struggled with the new shape for a while, it had to take the design which had sat happily on the previous tall shaped mug. I think that I found one which seemed to fit the bill after a few rather dodgy first attempts. These came out of the kiln this week along with a few other orders. A second batch is still to get through a glaze kiln, but it should all be in the bag now.

I did mange a short break away, a totally absorbing weekend on a conga drumming course, followed by a couple of days in London. I haven't been to London for a few years and I felt like a total country bumpkin until I remembered how to negotiate the transport system again. I made a point of visiting the CPA shop in it's new setting opposite the British Museum. It was hard to find, with a very narrow frontage and I was a bit disappointed at it's size and narrow layout.  But of course I then couldn't resist visiting the museum and soon became lost amongst the treasures.

 I loved this Algerian Berber dish with it's bold and asymmetrical red and white design.

 And what a dear little dog ( I think, from the Solomon Islands). Wood, with inlaid shells.


The other pre-occupation over the past month has been trying to get the 'Captain' to work. We got this vertical pugmill from Glasgow School of Art and had hoped to be able to use it as an extruder. It has been much more difficult than we had hoped. In the initial tests the clay would start to flow and then get stuck.  It appeared that the 0.75 hp vertical pugmill, while being a scaled up version of our small one, was proportionally still not powerful enough to push the clay through a 90° bend and the wider die. There was just too much back pressure. 

Rodger set to and built a bench so that we could try it in a horizontal plane and use the expansion box without the bend. Even then the clay kept getting stuck.

The next experiments are to reduce the capacity of the expansion box, but it all makes me think that our little pugmill must be a five star block buster of a machine.