Monday, 28 January 2013

Water, water, everywhere....

Back in 2010, I had a lot of fun creating some ceramic sculptures based on water eroded rock forms.

When making the second sculpture, I deliberately put suitable holes in the base so that the piece could be used in a water feature. Last year I started trying to design a suitable reservoir in which to sit a small pump and support the 'rock form'. After using a lot of brain cells, purchasing a small pump for an indoor water feature and one false start at building the ceramic reservoir; I finally came up with a potentially workable design.
This was implemented in clay over the Chistmas holidays and emerged from my kiln this morning.

The first test was to see if the base would hold water.
Having established that I had a leak free reservoir, the next challenge was to get everything assembled, the pump rate set and tubing positioned such that I did not get water everywhere!!
After several attempts (and a rather wet kitchen), I was happy with my new indoor water feature.

Rock form water feature - Ceramic, sea glass and pebbles (h~65cm)

I am particularly pleased that most of the water is running down where the sea glass is, looking as if it is eroding the rock.

I was also delighted with this bowl which came out of the kiln this morning.

The inside of the bowl has been glazed with a new marble green glaze, a recent purchase; one which I will be using a lot of in work to come.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Fun with fungi

Whilst exploring further into different fungi, I came across a brilliant website full of images of fantastic fungi; I could spend hours just revelling in the amazing shapes and colours of fungi from around the world!

Already I have experimented with two new shapes of fungi, with a view to teaming these up with some of the lovely wood which I have acquired.

The first of these was the Morchella semilibera

Whilst I am pleased with the overall shape, I need to find a way of making the piece not so heavy and to use more oxide on the edges.

Having spent a long time going back through the images on the 'fantastic fungi' website, I have failed to find the one which inspired the shape below (but had fun looking!)

As well as making fungi from clay, I also have fun trying to photograph any I spot when walking the dog. I think my best photos to date were taken on our wet holiday in the Lakes at the end of October 2012.

No idea of the names of the fungi, sorry!
I think to take photos of the standard of 'fantastic fungi' a better camera is required (possible birthday present in March?), one can live in hope!

Sunday, 20 January 2013


In 2011 I made a spiral sculpture for the garden, without realising it I had used another maori symbol, this time the symbol for eternity.

The double twist, the pikorua, represents two new fern shoots growing intertwined. 

It takes its meaning in the joining of cultures, lovers or friendships. 

This shape represents a bonding of friendship and loyalty, two lives becoming one for eternity. 

It represents the joining of many people, or cultures for eternity. 

I continue to work with this shape (hard to make in clay) and have recently made a smaller one, this time with just a single twist.

Apparently, the single twist is called the Rauiri and represents the path of life, it is the eternity symbol.  It is often given as a gesture of friendship between different tribes and at a wedding. 

As opposed to the double or triple twist, the single twist represents the joining of individual people for eternity.

This time I covered the leatherhard clay with several coats of green slip, then spent many a happy hour listening to radio 4 whilst I burnished the clay. When fired to stoneware the shine from the burnishing appears (no glaze required). I do need to find a darker green slip, as I feel this is a little too pale.

As a result of  showing images of my work on my blog, I was commissioned to make a pikorua in a blue/grey colour. After many hours of work the following piece emerged from my kiln this week and is now with its new owner.

Pikorua (~30cm height)
This is the tallest work that I can fire in my kiln, I had to shave off a little from the bottom of this piece to make it fit!


Quite a while ago, a friend asked if I would be able to make a woven picture of a flower with a bee in one of my ceramic weaving frames. After some thought, decided that whilst I could weave a picture of a flower, it would be fun to add a little ceramic bee to the picture. Here is the finished picture.

I used poppy seeds and poppy seedheads to make the impressions in the ceramic frame, which were highlighted using manganese dioxide.

Echeveria lilacina

In May 2012 I bought myself a new succulent plant from a market stall because I loved the shape, flowers and fact that it had new plants growing from it (several plants for the price of one!). I did not have the name of the plant, but some searching on the internet suggests that it is an Echeveria lilacina. I immediately propagated some new plants which have been growing on very happily for the last few months; time to make some containers that are more interesting than an ordinary flowerpot.

Here are the first two containers.

Plan is to make some more for the other plants which I have propagated, ready for selling in May at Thrive and the Henley Arts Trail.

I have also used the same design for decoration (carved spirals highlighted with copper oxide) on a vase.

Amazingly, I seem to have succeeded in making a vase which does not leak!

The spiral appears again on a piece which was planned to become the base for a lovely piece of yew. Unfortunately the two do not work together so think that I may buy an 'airplant' to sprout from it.

Have I said that I like spirals?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Long time no blog...

This is not because I haven't been using my wonderful new kiln; just not had time to write about recent work due to visiting relatives, Christmas and flu. Time to get things up to date.

Before Christmas, as well as being busy making some more birds and little pots to sell at a lucrative Thrive Christmas Coffee morning, I was also making test tiles to check out all my glazes, etc in the kiln, AND (more interesting) trying out a few new ideas.

Pots with yew and paua handles
My little pots are travelling far and wide; one has now gone to New Zealand (very appropriate as this is where the original idea stemmed from, as did the little bits of paua) and I think that another has gone to Israel.

One of the new ideas was to make a triple bowl combination with a koru handle to use for dips. Here is the first attempt at realising my design.

The bowls were a little too small and the green slip too pale.
I then made a template to use to ensure consistent shape and size of the 3 bowls and had another go.

Better size and shape, but the brush-on green glaze has not given good coverage (not sure whether this is me or the glaze?)

The bowls were still a little small, so third time lucky?

Okay, so now I am happy with the size of the bowls, but used a new marble green glaze which I knew would run if applied too thickly. Unfortunately I was too conservative in my application of the glaze. So this idea is still work in progress, but one that I think I will persue.

Here is another new idea which I plan to try to improve upon.

The night light just fits in, and looks good when it is burning. Next time I plan to make a larger bowl and will try to get a more even twist on the upright coils.

I then played around with some circular thin slabs of clay...

Like the shape, but the black slip with sgrafitto not so good.

Shape worked well, as did the brown slip with sgrafitto.

Still lots of other work to show and talk about, but will save this for some more posts...