Thursday, 26 March 2009

Ist clay pit pot

More pots out of the kiln today. Most of them were work I did with my youth group-we had an egg cup making competition. Next week they get them back with a Cadbury cream egg in them. I did have a few of my own pots in the firing though. When I finished this bowl I was going to break it up as I wasn't very happy with it but I fired it anyway. My college tutor always said you should live with a pot for a while even if you were going to destroy it and see what you could learn from it.
This is the first pot made with the clay from the pit. It's here for Melvyn to see his clay all fired up. I have split this with some of the standard clay I use. The other pots are now in a biscuit firing. The pot above is actually the same one as in the picture below but the flash seems to have lightened the colour. It's a bit on the heavy side as I was nervous to throw it too thin because some of the 'bits' were quite large. The clay body is a lovely warm terracotta and I wish that I had left some of the clay 'naked' now. I've still got some to glaze so I may do that with them. I like this clay very much but I am not too sure what I can do with it without working out a way of extracting some of the larger grit. I have enjoyed using it very much and it has been refreshing to try a totally different clay.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

out and about

Here are some of this weeks pots out of the kiln over the week-end. I have cautiously started to use the green glaze. I had wanted to glaze the inside of the pot cream but hadn't thought it through because of course I couldn't easily do that on a colander!! Today and yesterday I have been mixing glaze and loading another glaze firing. I finished decorating the big bowls in the Kent clay so I am waiting to get some through a glaze firing. They biscuit fired OK.

This lake is an old disused sand pit. It's about five minutes walk away from our house and is really attractive. There is always something to see-birds, plants rabbits. Every time I go for a walk there I wonder why I don't go more often. Mark had some leave to use up last week so we had a few walks. I am going to set myself the task of getting out for a walk more often. If I go right around the lake the whole walk only takes me half an hour. (There is a much bigger lake a little further over and that takes an hour to walk). I wonder if I need a dog to get me out?

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Yesterday I played with the clay that came from the clay pit. The folk there gave me a couple of bags to try. I haven't enjoyed myself throwing so much for ages. It was very plastic which I was surprised at. It threw wonderfully. There are what initially looked like bits of grit in it. However, when I picked some out it appears to be harder bits of clay as they are easily crushed. I am not sure how it will work when I try to sgraffito on it tomorrow. The large flat bowl above is the clay straight from the pit-can you see the amazing colour.
I threw the jugs with some of my usual clay mixed in. About 1 part ordinary terracotta to 2 part clay pit clay. It probably wasn't very sensible to throw larger things first ( 2 kilos)- maybe I should have tested it with some egg cup sized ware! But it was just such a joy to throw I got carried away. Anyway, I've had two enjoyable days. It will be quite a challenge to slip the jugs tomorrow.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A very jolly jolly!

I have had a large number of family commitments this last week but I am still working away. These few pots are the only ones to come out of the kiln this week. I put these in just to fill up some space when I fired my students' work.
Yesterday we went to London and looked around Somerset House and The Courtauld Gallery. I wanted to go to Somerset House because in the latest edition of Ceramics Review they said that the Craft Potters Shop ( now Contemporary Ceramics) was moving there by the end of February. Well they may well be moving but they certainly haven't arrived!!
The Courtauld Gallery was interesting -Manet, Cezanne, Van Gogh Renoir and so many more- But today was definatley the best potter's outing. Clay- tons of it!! A whole clay pit in fact.
Clay straight out of the clay pit.
The clay pit. The clay was in all different shades. There was the softest coffee colour, deeper ochres and the brightest red terracottas.
Clay tiles drying on racks in the poly tunnels.

All over Kent there are old houses with hung tiles and beautiful tiled roofs. You can see the tiles fresh out of the kiln. They look wonderful because they have attractive warm shades with subtle variations of colour.
Just to make the day I came away with some clay to experiment with. I am really looking forward to this. I have two more casseroles to decorate and then I can set to on this clay. Tiles out of the kiln.