Saturday, 25 October 2008


I had hoped to post some better pictures of the pots that came out of the last firing but the natives(three boys) in doors got restless and I had to pack up for the day and go and feed them!!
I am often very critical of my own work and think it is not good enough but I was quite pleased with the casseroles. Also I liked the tiny bowls with feathers! If I can I'll do a better photo of them and some of the others. The boys are home for a week now for half term. I have rather a lot of pots in the damp cupboard under polythene-3 more larger casseroles and 8 plates plus some new shapes I am working on for orders. I am not sure how to plan the week out yet and share the time out between some work and activities with the boys.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Glaze firing

The kiln is working hard at the moment. No sooner is it cooling than I am packing it up to refire. Being a top loader it couldn't be easier!! Here are few pots that came out of the kiln in the last few days. There is another glaze firing on at the moment and I'm looking forward to seeing how the green glaze performs on a pot. One of the tests looked good on the test tiles but it can be different on a pot. I'm working on a batch of plates tomorrow that may go with the colanders. They will need slipping in the morning.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I thought I would quickly take a photograph of one of the drying shelves as I was dashing out of the studio this afternoon. Mr. Sainsbury was in his van with my weekly shop and I was heading out to a parent's evening for one of my boys.
These are made from 2kilos of clay so they aren't massive. Biscuit ware is mounting up in the studio -there is now enough for at least 3 glaze firings so I need to get a move on.
As I have 3 boys in school I still work with the rhythm of term times. I hope to get as much glaze firing done by half term so that I can. I will then try to assess what I have done and where I am with my work and plan for the next half term leading up to Christmas.

Monday, 6 October 2008

slips or oxides

Here are some bowls I've been working on today that may illustrate the different decorating materials I use. I first map out the design roughly with food colouring. Next I have painted in some slips. If I use slips I put them on before I sgraffito because they are opaque.
Once the slips are on I can do the sgraffito. In the first picture I think you may just see a corner of a natural history book I am working from. (Fairly freely I must admit so that the fish don't look too rigid).

After I've finished the sgraffito I add another lawyer by applying oxides. (I usually grind these to get them very smooth). Finally I insert little details with the slips!! All in all quite a time consuming process. Here is a finished bowl that came out of the firing on Saturday morning.

This is an old bowl I did some time ago but I was looking around for something I had painted with oxides. The oxides are enjoyable to use and I wash them on in a similar way to using watercolours. I also supplement them with a few underglaze colours. I wash these on after I have done the sgraffito because they are transparent colours. I do this at the leather hard stage which means that mistakes cannot be corrected but on the plus side they get fired on so they do not move when the pot is immersed in the glaze.
One of my students did some of her work using this technique but unlike me she deliberately went out side the lines and it had the effect of making her work look very fresh and spontaneous.
Andrew Gladwell was asking if I have any fairs booked in before Christmas. Unfortunately NO!! I knew that I was going to be spending time with the three boys this summer and thought that I may not have much stock. Of course now I am working away again the shelves are filling up with things to be fired. Even allowing for the slow nature of the work soon I will have more stock. People are very welcome to come and visit if they are near Redhill in Surrey!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Harvest jugs.

One of my favourite forms to make is the jug. For me it provides a wonderful canvas to decorate. So I was very pleased to find a whole gallery of images of traditional Harvest jugs
Have a look it's quite inspirational!