Friday, 3 March 2017

A new year and new opportunities...

In the cold and dark of early January we returned home from an amazing family holiday in New Zealand with our heads full of wonderful memories, mine also brimming over with ideas to use in my ceramics, and my bag full of driftwood and pebbles!

Once again we visited Hokitika where I drooled over the beautiful jade carvings mounted on driftwood, if anyone has NZ$8500 to spare and would like to buy this for me it would be much appreciated (slight understatement there)!

Unfortunately I was unable to bring back any large pieces of driftwood that could be used as a mount for a large ceramic sculpture but I have been playing with some clay to display on one of my smaller pieces. I am still undecided about whether to smoke this burnished piece or try adding some glaze and fire again.

Small koru on driftwood (~15cm)

Fortunately the post-holiday low was lifted by an invitation to show some of my work in Henley Studios which displays and sells the work of local artists as well as providing bespoke framing and professional photography services.

Koru Craft display in Henley Studios
I can't claim to have been rushed off my feet with sales yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Another 'new opportunity' for me in the coming year is retirement! I have decided to finish my part-time work as a teaching assistant in a local Junior School at the end of this academic year (July 2017). This should give me more time out in my studio; or at least give me time to do all the other things that currently do not get done because of work and playing with clay.
With this additional time in mind, I have decided to apply for the Wokingham Arts Trail which will take place late September. I am already busy making work for the Henley Arts Trail at the end of April.

I am also trying to include more experimentation in my work this year; so alongside some of my tried and tested forms and surface decoration I am determined to try out new forms and play with different ways of decorating work, be that with sgrafitto, etching, different slips and glazes. Each firing should include some test pieces. I have achieved this so far this year with varying degrees of success, all a learning curve to be recorded and improved upon (I hope).

One success has been these coiled edge pots which have been glazed both inside and out, but the glaze on the outside has been largely sponged away so that it just highlights the texture of the clay.

Trio of coiled edge pots (height ~15-20cm)
Twisted vase (height~15cm)

Whilst I am pleased with the shape of the vase adjacent, the new clear stoneware glaze that I had recently bought has not fired clear. I now need to experiment more with the glaze to determine whether this was due to thickness of glaze or firing temperature.

It's all fun and games!

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