Saturday 22 June 2013

Having fun

At last - We got a chance to try out our new toy. Well, not exactly a toy. It is actually our new state of the art Peter Pugger tile extruder from the USA. She worked alright. No more standing around coaxing the old pugmill to keep going, cooling its body with cold flannels as the engine overheated. This beast has POWER! So much so in fact that the first attempt came through so fast I didn't have time to collect the extrusion before it collapsed. Being used to the old pugmill I had loaded it with a fairly soft batch of clay.

 An hour later and a lot of kneading we had a second attempt with a much firmer batch. This time it worked a treat. It still came through a little fast even on the slowest setting - I had to get Rodger to stop and start the On/Off switch as I wanted to bend the form as it came through. 

I wonder if we can somehow adjust the settings.

She certainly made light of this extrusion.  The speed with of flow in a straight line wasn't so critical.

I cut this extrusion using a piece of corrugated roof as a guide.

It was a bit tricky getting the top on and keep the angles at the same time. A fair bit of measuring and then some firm pushing down.

I  extruded pipes and shaped the legs of this creature and attached them upside down.  But how was I to get it onto turned over and on to its ripply base?

By a pulley and sling of course!  I  found myself working this one out at 3am one morning. We already have a pulley for our glaze mixer so it was easy enough to make up a hammock. It worked a treat. The body was leather hard and firm enough and I was able to lower it down and position it until it just rested on the base.

I left it supported overnight under polythene and by the next morning it had firmed up enough to attach the feet,

and remove the sling. Next instalment will be the head and tail.

Meanwhile in between all this creative excitement Rodger and I had a long weekend in Derbyshire. It was a midway place in Britain to meet up with old friends from art college.( Corsham - Bath Academy of Art). What a time we had - ten in all,and we hadn't met up in a group like this for ten years. All of us are still involved in the arts and with lots in common, shared experiences and interests it was a totally inspiring and rejuvenating few days. With a lot of laughs. Not least when Stephen Jon, mask maker extraordinaire, produced beaks for us all. 

Am I too proud to show the resulting Christine with a beak?

 Here are a beak nosed Stephen and Rodger,

and the resulting hilarity as we were treated to a picture show of our beaked evening. Well - I could post a few more pictures my friends, but then again I would like to keep your friendship!

Sunday 2 June 2013

Pots and pictures from Spring Fling

At last I am  getting back to normal after Spring Fling. What a weekend it was, brilliant weather in the first two days and loads of visitors, even on the last day when summer forgot it had happened and reverted to gales and driving rain. 

Thank you to all who came to see us and to all the hard work to the organisers  whose enthusiasm and  hard work made it such a successful event. 

I woke up on Tuesday unable to speak - only a croak came out.

I only took a few pictures of finished pots. Here is a close up of a dish with polar bears on ice flows and a few seals.

 'Terracotta Tour's spent the weekend driving around the garden. I can't think why I didn't take more photos of the garden. It looked lovely in the sun with all Rodger's hedge trimming, grass cutting and painting.

I made a mermaid for an order earlier this year and as I rather liked her I made a second one. Here she is brushing her hair for the Spring Fling visitors.

It's not often the workshop looks this tidy. But it is very nice, I should try to keep it This way.

It was lovely having Wendy Kershaw who down to share the space with me this year. We weren't exactly sure how we would juggle it, but decided that her ceramic pictures would look best on the exhibition boards in their own in a space in the workshop.  They did look very Special, thanks Wendy - it was an honour.

I was fascinated to listen to Wendy explaining her work to our visitors. Intricately constructed 'flat ceramics', put in frames and hung on the wall....with a narrative element which touch a chord.

The car park was constantly full, but as I was busy inside all the time I never found out until afterwards that they had been parked all the way up the road to the top of the hill. It's a good job that I didn't see, I might have panicked!

The only BAD thing to report is that my new flotilla of waterboys came out of the kiln looking really good. I was delighted. I showed them at Spring Fling even though 3 were for orders. Over the weekend I suddenly noticed that they had started to 'shimmer'. That is the glaze and body fit were mis-matched which means glaze was flaking off. It was a new batch of clay and this was the first sack. Aargh!  It has taken the week to pick myself up and face what has to be done (apart from re-making them). Lots of tests. Rolled out today. Oh ceramics can be cruel, but potters are tough......HA!