Thursday, 25 October 2012


Autumn is the time of year when lots of wonderful fungi are sprouting in the woods and fields.
I also have them sprouting out of more pieces of spalted beech.
My original Fungi have been so popular that I have started making more ready to sell...

Quad Fungi - Ceramic and Beech (30x30cm)
Triple Fungi - Ceramic and Beech (30x30cm)

Once again, the ceramic fungi and the spalted beech are mounted on MDF and plywood, primed with Gesso.

My wood from Meir Weiss has also included pieces which he gave to Ken to burn on our new log burning stove. Fortunately before the wood was added to the wood pile I had a rummage and found more pieces of spalted beech, which I have squirelled away into the garage for future use.

By cutting up one log, removing bark, refining the shape, lots of sanding and finally polishing with beeswax; I produced the following beautiful piece of wood.

Some may feel that the wood is of sufficient beauty and interest to display on its own. However, I wanted to use the wood as the foundation for some ceramic work. Looking through a recently acquired book on Lichens, I came across an image of the Lichen, Cladonia chlorophea, similar to the image below.

a photo of Cladonia chlorophaea group

Several sketches later plus lots of work with clay, oxides and glazes and final work with a drill has resulted in the following sculpture.

Lichen - Ceramic and Beech (h-20cm, w-23cm)

I am sure that everyone will have a different opinion as to whether this adds or detracts to the beauty of the original piece of wood; life would be very dull if we all liked the same things! Personally I am pleased with the result and enjoying having the work displayed in my home (Ken has yet to express an opinion, perhaps he is being diplomatic?)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


It was with some trepidation that I loaded my kiln for its first stoneware glaze firing; would I have mixed my glazes correctly so that they did not run and fuse my work to the kiln shelves?
I needn't have worried (something I do very well after a great many years of practice); when I opened the kiln this morning all my work was sitting happily on the shelves with not a dribble of glaze in sight.
It was with great excitement that I unloaded and examined each piece; all small pieces that had not taken too much time to make, in case things went wrong. Really I should have started with lots of test tiles to check out glazes and oxides, but find these pretty tedious to make; I am in the process of making lots at the moment so that I can start experimenting.
I was so pleased with my little blue-grey pots that I immediately got the drill out so that I could put on their handles, made from small pieces of hand carved yew and paua shell, and take them in to work to show to colleagues. Judging by the reception, think I will need to get busy making more to satisfy the demand.

Here are some of the other small pieces which came out of the kiln this morning.

The fig leaves were made from one of my leaves from the garden and are designed to be used as spoon rests. The green is from copper oxide in the veins and then a brush on glaze over this. In two or the heart bowls I was experimenting using an underglaze pencil to draw over the white slip, finished with a clear glaze; lines are very faint, so obviously did not get enough underglaze from the pencil.
My firing also included lots of fungi and lichen which I am busy assembling with some of the beautiful spalted beech that I have been given; watch this space....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

My own kiln!

At last, thanks to a generous loan from my parents, I have my own kiln!

I have been thinking about investing in one for some time. After a lot of research, I decided to invest in a new Rohde Ecotop 43L; which is a small, economical top loading kiln which has the advantage of plugging in to a 13A socket. The kiln will allow me to fire up to stoneware temperatures, which was an important criteria in my choice.

The kiln arrived just over a week ago and was soon going through the 'burn-in' process. Having re-tightened the belts around the kiln after this, I loaded the kiln for my first bisque firing.

The garage became very warm and cosy during the firing, may need to invest in a clothes airer with pulley to attach to the roof so that I don't waste all this heat!
Everything fired well, so now busy with oxides and glazes on these pieces ready for the stoneware firing.