Monday, July 5, 2010

Exhibition at Gallery On Blueskin

Judith and Bev at the opening.
A lovely painting on the wall by Laura.

Taking pots out of the kiln the day before an exhibition is not really to be recommended for a life of balance and calm, but it certainly beats taking hot pots to an opening.... something I did last year if I remember correctly!

This pot has a really nice graduation of colour from top to bottom in the area around the crystals.
glaze has some manganese and cobalt in it for colour.

On Friday I spent several hours preparing pots for the exhibition. This was time spent under mask, eye protection and gloves, looking rather like a worker at a Nuclear power plant, and cussing the fact that I wear glasses.

Here is an enlargement of those flower shaped crystals.

The thing about masks, eye protection, and glasses, especially on a cold day, which it was..., is that you are reduced to a choice between being able to breathe, or being able to see, but not both at once! It seems almost impossible to stop something fogging up (I think that if I used glue to attach the mask with a perfect seal to my face, I may not suffer the fogging so badly!). If you haven't already guessed, I was separating crystal glazed pots from their glaze catching saucers and sitters and grinding glaze runs from the foot of the pots.

This pot has iron and cobalt in it for colour. The iron adds those warm oranges and reds and also seems to modify the shape of the crystals, making them a little smaller and more blurry around the margins.

I use a bench grinder for the rough grinding of the ring of sharp glaze that circles the base of each pot. This is a very effective tool, and actually does a rather nice job if you are careful about it, but it is potentially quite hazardous if you go about things the wrong way, after all..., we are dealing with small shards of glass, and airborne glass dust... silica.

Here is a closer look at the glaze with cobalt and iron in it.

I have read that some crystal glaze potters use angle grinders to remove glaze runs from pot bottoms, which is even more lethal! Anyway, I follow up the bench grinder with a hand held tool that takes small abrasive bits. This is slow work, but it does bring up a nice smooth finish.

At first glance this pot looks similar in colour to the one that has manganese and cobalt in the glaze, but this has copper and cobalt. The copper gives that greenish background colour, and the blue crystals have a cool gray blue look. I am excited by the pale margins of the crystals in the lower part of the pot.

I am really interested at how the new crystal glazes are looking on larger pots, and I am thinking of new forms to help bring out the character of the glazes that I am trying. Some of the glazes have a noticeable gradation of tone and colour in the "background" area that surrounds the crystals. The background colour is also full of flecks and speckles of lighter and darker hues; I suspect this is due to the titanium content of the glaze base, and it is a lovely feature.

A close up of the cobalt and copper variation of this crystalline glaze.

I delivered the pots and some of Laura's paintings to the gallery on Friday evening. I was overjoyed to see the two largest of Laura's paintings already on the wall looking really beautiful. I had taken them to Chris at Gray's Studio in Dunedin earlier in the week, and Gallery on Blueskin had kindly picked them up and taken them straight there after the paintings were framed. This saved me a trip to Dunedin, but meant that I had not seen the paintings in all their glory before seeing them hung. Laura's first glimpse of them was at the opening, and she was very pleased (which was a relief as Chris and I had chosen the frames!!)

I made this little pot as a tester, but am rather fond of it. This has the iron and cobalt in the glaze.

On Saturday we were rewarded with a glorious day. The sun was out after a frosty night, and there was scarcely a cloud in the sky. This part of the country can be beautiful in winter on still days with the sun giving a just a perceptible warmth. Anyway, the opening went quite well. We were part of a group showing. A young painter was having his first solo show of abstract paintings in a separate gallery room (a former telephone exchange), and a sculptor, and a couple more painters and a sculptor had work on display, in addition to Laura and my own contributions. There were also teapots on display too.

I like the colour that I often get inside the crystal glazed pots. Over-spray from the crystalline glaze that I apply outside creates warm and varied colours inside where it lands on the calcium matt liner glaze. I decided to put a calcium matt glaze on the outside of this vase, and very lightly spray a crystalline glaze over it.

We really had a steady circulation of people through the gallery for most of the afternoon. It was never full to bursting point, but there was always someone there.

There were only a few small crystals in this glaze, but the pot looked OK like that so I included it in the exhibition. I probably fired slightly too high to develop a good crop of crystals. Only 5 degrees over can make a big difference.

We were delighted that one of the potters from the potter's co-op that I belong to dropped into the opening, it was lovely to see her, and she treated us to a bunch of daffodils, which are a beautiful sight to behold in the middle of winter!

Nigella Stopit was my beautiful studio assistant throughout the photo shoot of the pots before they went to the gallery. She rather wanted her photo taken I think!

Tomorrow I am hoping to take some photos of Laura's work at the gallery, and I will put some on this site. I have given a little teaser with the first photo on this post, with a couple of our friends talking in front of one of Laura's paintings.

Have you seen a vase like this before??

We had a visit from someone recently who brought along some photos of a vase that she owns. She would like more information about the vase. She bought it second hand in 1964, and it is quite large, I think she said it was about 40 inches, and it has really lovely decoration on it of insects and frogs. Have any of you seen anything like it before??? If so, I would be delighted to hear from you, so that I can pass any information on to the owner of the vase.


Linda Starr said...

Congrats on the show; beautiful crystals as always, love the green pot and the one with the matt glaze on the exterior, looking forward to more of Laura's paintings.

The blue pot is very unusual and lovely, wish I knew more about it.

Judy Shreve said...

Your crystal glaze work is stunning. I love the graduated tones and the crystals are amazing! & Please post the pics of Laura's paintings. I just love them.

I don't know anything about the blue pot -- it is interesting and unusual - a real find for your friend. I hope she learns about it.

Tracey Broome said...

I can see how these crystal glazes could be come addictive to work with, they are so interesting to look at. As far as the fog in the goggles, I know what you mean. I wonder if you spit in them like you do when using a snorkel mask if that would help? Never tried it, but it might just work....

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved Laura's painting. Anxious to see more. What a talented family.
You REALLY have some beautiful pots Peter. I'm sure they were a hit.
Spitting on a scuba mask and rubbing it in does work as Tracey said, can't hurt to try.

Armelle said...

Thank you to take the time to post a comment on my blog. I know you are so busy, with your exhibition and the "growth rings" of your crystal glazes. I love them and the vase with calcium matt glaze is wonderful, shape and colors. Love the green one too.
Looking forward to see Laura's paintings.
I am fine to know that Nigella Stopit is better now.

Wish you good sales
Salut à vous, Laura et "the cats"

Angie said...

As usual I love all your vases but I feel the matt on the outside if my favourite the effect, shape and colour.

You really did pick the perfect name for Nigella ..she fits in so well with your life.

As fot the frieds vase ...not seen anything like it but it seems to make me feel I have ...if you see what I mean. Are there no marks on the bottom? It says oriental but I keep jumping between china and Japan ...shame there are no dragons as we could count the claws LOL but then many English and other european potteries copied the painting style. Another thought is that it was a pottery painters practice piece as there are so many different animals with little connection ...sorry I couldn't really help but I thought I would give some food for thought.
Take care ...looking forward to hearing more about the exibition and Laura's art ..thanks too for the plant identification xx

Peter said...

Thanks Linda for the "congrats"! Good to hear from you. I have just put together another post with some photos of Laura's paintings. It should be on line now.

Hi Judy,
I am looking forward to doing further work with the graduated backgrounds, they really interest me. I think some really tall forms are called for to allow the graduated backgrounds lots of room to develop. I think that some of the reason for them being the way they are is the different weights and particle sizes of the metal oxides, as well as their being the usual deepening of tone where the glaze thickens.

Hi Tracey,
I've heard of "spit and polish"... it looks as if I may have to "spit and grind!" Worth a try anyway, thanks for the tip.

Hi Patti,
Sounds like you have spent time scuba diving under water as well as paddling above it! I must give this spitting on the goggles a try! Hope that you are enjoying Summer in your part of the world. I wonder if you have managed to get out on the water in your kayak?

Salut Armelle,
Merci de votre commentaire. Il est bon d'avoir de vos nouvelles. Les chats envoient leurs meeows, et Laura dit bonjour! Well, I hope so anyway!! (: