Monday, February 7, 2011

New Pots for an Exhibition with Manu Berry

A print maker friend of mine, Manu Berry, has invited me to have an exhibition with him in his studio in George Street, Dunedin. For various reasons, the deadline for this has had to be very short, so I have been really busy making new pots on the wheel, and other projects have had to go on hold for a couple of weeks.... including this blog!

Most of the pots that I have been making have been a little bit larger than my usual ones, and I have tried to push my technical skills along... sometimes with frustrating results, as... yet another large pot wobbles, loses 4 inches in height, then folds itself into a forlorn mess on my wheel head.

Tall pots... currently about 21 inches in height (53.3 centimeters).

These two are shrinking steadily as they dry, but were 22 or 23 inches tall (58cm) when fresh from the wheel. I would love to be able to report that they were thrown in one effortless pull from a small ball of clay! These were in fact thrown as high as I could, then coils of clay were added, and each one thrown higher. Currently I seem to be approaching my limits throwing this clay about 16 inches (41cm), after that attempts to gain more height seem to result in my pot getting smaller and thicker!

Anyway, I have battled on, and have the first bisque load cooling down in the kiln as I write this. I will make a few more pots this week, then it will be glazing and firing until March! Most pots will be crystalline glazed.

The exhibition will open near the beginning of March, I think it will be 4th March, but I will confirm the dates tomorrow when I visit Manu in Dunedin.

I'll post again soon (I hope!), but must dash now... one more job to do before giving up for the day!


potterboy said...

Nothing wrong with pulling then coiling. Seems my limit on height is about 14 inches, but if I need big I put two pots together. I don't think there are many potters who can pull up 22 inches.

Good luck with the exhibition. That bottle at the top - the carved one - is fab.

Peter said...

Andrew, How lovely to hear from you. I'd sort of lost touch, and I see that you've got a nice new blog. For some reason I had missed the change over from your old one, and you'd vanished into cyberspace!
Thanks for the encouragement about the "lift" or lack of it. It would be nice to do an Isaac Button and whoosh aloft a huge quivering pile of soft clay into a magnificent big pot, but... it is good that there are other ways of achieving something of a reasonable size!

cookingwithgas said...

the texture on the first pot is pretty slick! It reminds me of a cable knit.
Great shape and the pattern just makes the form really stand out.

Arkansas Patti said...

Must be frustrating learning something new and out of your comfort zone but also interesting. Can't wait to see how they look with the glaze.

Linda Starr said...

I love the texture on the top pot, good luck with all your work. I saw a video of Tom Coleman where he put put two pots together to get a huge pot, he put a little groove in the top pot and the bottom pot at the rims and then attached them together. You tube has lots of videos. This advice of course being from someone who no longer throws Ha, have a good one Peter.

Kitty Shepherd said...

These are very interesting, seems we are all getting texture all of a sudden!

Angie said...

Love the textured pot ....and good luck with the tall ones must be so frustrating when they colapse on you when on the wheel. I look forward to seeing them with their glazes.

potterboy said...

I had a temporary wobble, head-wise, and gave up for a few months. Now as you can see, i'm doing something completely different, but missing the woodfirings. Hope to do some of those in the summer.

Anyway, I've been here lurking :)

I'd like to feel how heavy some of those pots that Isaac Button made were. There are still potters like that - but they're few and far between I think. Well, that's what I like the believe. I have a nice DVD of Ken Matsuzaki making big pots, all coils. One day, I'll be brave and try it.

ang said...

the shrinkage is bothersome eh peter, its cool to look at a piece you've achieve the height you want then evaporation sets in :P i can relate to shorter and thicker too....look forward to seeing your efforts for the shows opening

Pat - Arkansas said...

The decorated pot is gorgeous, just as it is. What intricate work you did on that one. WOW!

Best wishes for a highly successful exhibition.

jim said...

hi peter, wow, 23 inches is tall, haven't gotten that tall yet. that 10-13 % shrinkage can be a pain tho. good luck with the show and congrats.

Peter said...

Hi Everybody,
Thanks very much for your comments. Sorry to be a few days replying to most of you... it has been a busy week (again!).

Hi Meredith.., The "cable knit" observation is very apt! It was one of those patterns that started innocently enough with just the idea that it would be good to do some vertical lines all the way around the form... then I discovered that a little wooden throwing tool made nice marks if dragged down and across the raised bits... About one quarter of the way around I was regretting having started, as it was all taking way too long... About one third of the way around.. I suddenly thought..., "I wonder if it has the right number of lines for the pattern to match up!!!??" It did, thank goodness. I really liked it once it was finished!

Hi Patti,
It is frustrating when things go wrong, but it is just one of those things that I would call "growing pains"!

Hi Linda,
I have tried the two part method, but I have had more success with the coil and throw approach. Coil and throw is slow in comparison, but I think the form is less mechanical (in my hands anyway!!).
The Net is wonderful for potter's videos, I always feel so thankful to potters who post videos of themselves working, it is an enormous help to those of us who make pots in relative isolation.

Hi Kitty...
Mmmm, texture! I was getting desperate for some after making relatively smooth pots for crystalline glazes for so long.

Hi Angie,
I should make a potter's video of great potting disasters with pots collapsing on the wheel to suitable music.. it could be quite funny, and something positive to do when I am having a bad throwing day!

Hi Andrew,
Sorry that you have had your own "wobbles" to contend with. It is awfully tough sometimes (I would never tell the half of it here), and the mountain of selling and making work whilst still maintaining some remnants of self esteem is very daunting. Glad that you are still making pots. I love the video of you making a cider jar on your new site.

Hi Ang,
It is amazing how much difference even 10 percent shrinkage can make when something is half a meter or more tall.
The getting short and thick thing is hilarious to watch really. The clay I use will slump several inches in no time at all if I have spent too long pulling it up into a tall cylinder. It is like throwing in reverse!

Hello Pat,
I do look at that decorated pot and think that I might just put a really simple thin white or pale green glaze over it and leave it like that. It does look nice all dry and white and ready to go in the kiln.

Hi Jim,
I am bisque firing the tall pots as I write this, they went in the kiln with about 3 inches to spare. It will be interesting to see what they shrink down to. If I fire them hot enough I will have a form of Bonsai potting!

Armelle said...

Very nice pots, Peter, I wonder how much clay you throw first, before adding coils ?
I did see Gaëlle Haubtmann throwing two days ago, and she tell us, she need 1 kilo more, to throw 1 cm /0.4 inches higher (when pots are more than 20 inches).
Wish you a good exhibition with Manu Berry, and all the best.
Have a good Sunday ?

Peter said...

Bonjour Armelle,
How nice to hear from you. I was reading your blog yesterday and saw how busy you are. I wanted to leave a comment, but I was busy too! I was firing the kiln.
I am not really sure how much clay I used for those pots before adding coils. I did not weigh it. My clay comes in 20 kilo bags, and I often cut that into six for medium sized pots. Large pots may sometimes start with about 6 or 7 kilos.

I must go now as someone has arrived,
best wishes,


Armelle said...

Hi Peter,
It's so difficult to throw so much clay !!! Hands and arms and body have to be so powerful. I tryed 1.5 kilos and my hands are not strong enougth.
Last days, for me at Matthieu's studio.... We are learning glazes, and Seger Formula, it's the second session, today I made many tests with crystalines glazes, looking foward to see them fired, in his gaz kiln, in oxydation. So I am thinking of you !!! I will post some photos.
Kind regards to you, Laura and the cats