Saturday, October 12, 2013

All is Revealed!

It is a great pleasure to have Peter Johnson making seals and other good things in our studio here at the Waikouaiti Old Post Office.

The Process.

The first task is to prepare some clay to even out the moisture in it and get rid of any trapped air.

Then Peter makes a cylinder with an open bottom and a closed top on the potters wheel. To begin with this looks a bit like a mug. The cylinder flares out a little way before it is raised further and pulled in at the top. Then the clay at the top is persuaded in further and further, with the opening narrowing, then finally closing.

The cylinders are put aside to firm up.

When the clay is soft leather hard the missile shaped cylinder is altered by hand, and made into a seal or sea lion. Most of the work can be done by squeezing and manipulating the clay with fingers. Detail can be added with improvised wooden tools.

When the seal is leather hard Slip (liquid clay) is brushed onto parts of the seal to modify the colour and surface texture.

When completely dry the seal is fired in a portable raku kiln that is fired by gas.

Working with clay is all about transformation. What is commonplace, and sometimes despised, is made beautiful by skillful hands, an enquiring mind, and a joyful heart!


Armelle Léon said...

How nice ad beautiful, bravo to the Peter(s)

Peter said...

Bonjour Armelle,
Lovely to hear from you. I will pass on your "bravo" to the other Peter!

Melissa Rohrer said...

Those are great! I've made birds that way, though not as detailed and realistic.

Peter said...

Hi Melissa,
Good to hear from you. Isn't it interesting what wonderful things can be made from throwing a cylinder, than altering it. I will see if I can find some of your birds on your blog. Best Wishes, P.

Michèle Hastings said...

Beautiful! Amazing that he can turn those missiles into seals and sea lions.

Arkansas Patti said...

Those seals are amazing and adorable. Well done.
Thank you so much Peter and Laura for your caring during my tough time. It meant so much.

Peter said...

Hi Michèle,
Good to hear from you. It is quite the best use for missiles I think! Peter's seals really do have a spark of "life" to them.

Hi Patti,
Lovely to hear from you Patti, it is really good of you to write. We send big hugs your way. Peter, the other potter, really does do something magic with those seals, and transforms ordinary clay into something extraordinary. Kind thoughts to you from us. xx

Sue said...

lovely little seals...especially their cute wee noses (wink wink).


Peter said...

Noses and toeses,
Each made unique,
by skillful hands,
and the occasional tweak!

Debbie Wareing said...

Hi Peter, do you sell your seals in Wellington or online at all? I saw them in the Moray Gallery Dunedin window today and would love to buy one, but am not sure if I'll get there before I fly back to Wellington tomorrow evening. Thanks Debbie

Peter said...

Hi Debbie,
The seals are made by Peter Johnson, who was working in my studio at the time I wrote this post (I know it gets confusing with us both being Peter!). If you email me at opogallery AT gmail DOT com I can put you in touch with him directly.

Best Wishes, P said...

Hi there.
Say Hi to Peter (J) from me (a potter friend from Sweden). I was so pleased to see some of his work again. Thanx for a great blog :)

Peter said...

Hi Saga,
Good to hear from you all the way from Sweden! I will say Hi to Peter for you, he lives quite close by. Best Wishes, P