Thursday, 28 November 2013

Preparation and Experimentation

I have been busy over the past 2 months trying to get a balance of making work to sell in the build up to Christmas whilst still trying to push myself and experiment with new ideas and techniques.
I feel that I have been fairly successful with this, as I hope this posting will show.
Firstly, work for selling has required the production of 7 more planters to satisfy an order for 6 and still give me some stock to sell (I had 4 already made). Here are the results of my labours:-

My smoked hearts have been popular, so I have also been making more of these. To add a little more interest and include my love of ferns, I have been experimenting using ferns as a 'resist' to the slurry before smoking in the incinerator.
A selection of work prepared for smoking
Smoked heart with fern
Smoking happily in the incinerator

Burnished heart with blue slip

Another experiment has been to make my own coloured slip to give some subtle colour before burnishing and smoking. I have tried making two blue slips using the Ashraf Hanna clay with either cobalt oxide or  a turquoise blue body stain. Only firing the work up to 950 C did not bring out the blue of the cobalt oxide, but the body stain has worked very well.


My 'rattle stones' have sold well, so I have made some more of these in both natural colour and pale blue (which reminds me of the pebbles I collected on the beach at Durdle Door).

I have spent many a happy hour stacking pebbles on various beaches (how sad is that?). Time to stack some of my ceramic pebbles on a base from some of Meir's lovely yew.
Smoked pebble stack on yew base
I have used more of my supply of wood to mount more pebble inspired work.

Smoked standing pebbles on beech

Blue smoked standing pebbles on yew

With Christmas rapidly approaching and two events to sell at I wanted to make some Christmas tree decorations that were unique to me. I hope that I have achieved this by texturing the slabbed clay with a pine cone before using cutters with some Christmassy shapes. Prior to bisque firing, I carved out a hollow in the shapes ready for some glass to be placed before stoneware firing. Since these were small shapes I bought some coloured glass frit and experimented with different oxide/frit combinations (so my decorations doubled up as test tiles, much less boring).

To my surprise the red frit came clear after firing, perhaps the turquoise and green frits would have done without oxide underneath, something to test out after Christmas. With some touches of gold and silver paints and glittery thread, these have been turned into a pleasing selection of Christmas decorations. I glued on red beads to all my Christmas trees and some red heart beads to the two hearts which were supposed to have red centres.
Wall hanging with green glass

I have played around more with the turquiose and green frits in both tiles and bowls, still very much work in progress, but here are a couple of results.

Bowl with green glass

The large bowl was made in a mould; however, I took the bowl out of the mould too early and it distorted as it dried. Also, it was not possible to keep the glass on the sides of the bowl (something to do with gravity?).
I have just put a more circular bowl in the kiln with the spiral of glass in the bottom of the bowl, fingers crossed.

Congratulations if you have made it to the end of this looong posting!
Still not covered all my work from the past 2 months, but will leave that for another day.
Time to go and make myself a well earned cup of tea.

No comments:

Post a Comment