Thursday, March 27, 2014

Red and green from the same glaze, and the towers of St Augustine on a sleepy Sunday afternoon!

Unfortunately a single photograph can never convey the experience of picking up a pot and turning it around, so I thought I would show two views of a bottle that came out of the kiln this week. I particularly like this bottle, to me it looks like the crystals have clumped together into continents that are surrounded by oceans of grey sea.

Here is vase that came out of the same firing as the bottle. This one also has red crystals, but the colour of the glaze that surrounds the crystals is pink. The bottle and the vase both had an extra firing in a kiln that I dripped cooking oil into to create carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide helps strip away the oxygen atoms from the copper carbonate that is in the glaze. This turns it from a pretty green, to red, and finally to copper metal. (CuCO3 becomes Cu with no O!) Without this extra firing the pots would have been a similar colour to the bowl that is in the next photo.

I usually don't have much success with crystalline bowls, as the highly fluid nature of the glaze can make things very difficult, but they are lovely when they turn out. Here, the glaze that has collected in the middle of the bowl is smooth, dark, and mysterious. Sometimes crystalline glazes can be rough to the touch and unpleasant where they pool, I was lucky with this one.

Last Sunday I drove to Waimate to collect my pots from an exhibition that had just closed. It can be a bit miserable collecting unsold work after an exhibition, but the expedition to Waimate was an enjoyable one, and more so because I was able to collect my father on the journey up, and spend the time in Waimate with him.

 (Bye-the-way, Waimate is pronounced "Why-mat-ay".)

It was a beautiful sunny day, and Waimate proved to be a fascinating place to walk around.Waimate is quite a big small town really, with a great expanse of flat farmland on the seaward side and a solid range of hills at its back. Most vehicles travelling North and South miss Waimate these days, as the main road has bypassed the town. On this sunny Sunday afternoon it felt so quiet that it seemed like Waimate had inhaled and held its breath, but the town must have been a busy place in its day; there is a sense of grandeur to the wide streets and public spaces that says "We have prospered."

Many of the shop fronts still have verandas over the footpath.

The makers of this 1910 building used concrete to imitate stone construction around its arched windows and doors.

This hotel still has its lovely tall chimneys. Chimneys, and their lack, is something I always notice these days. After the Canterbury earthquakes, most chimneys around the Christchurch area either fell down, or were pulled down. To me a building minus its chimneys, is a bit like a person without ears!

I caught glimpses of a church tower from the main street of the town, and went to investigate. The shape of it was like something that I might expect to see in Europe somewhere.

The tower belonged to St Augustine's Church, and St Augustine must have been fond of towers, as the building has an extra one that stands free of the main building, like a lighthouse... or a wooden rocket!

It was a struggle to find a good spot to take an uninterrupted distant view of the whole church building, I could nearly see it from a supermarket car park, but trees, cars, and wires got in the way.

A clearer view from the middle of a road, tended to distort things.

The church has a lovely covered entry, known as a lychgate. I enjoy looking at structures like this, with the simple, logical use of triangles, bracing, and ties. There is a wholesome sense of order that reminds me of music by Handle or Bach. Probably the whole thing was jointed and pegged together without the need of nails.

I have said that Sunday afternoon in Waimate was rather quiet, and this was quiet in a good way,


Was that the roar of a classic car engine, and a screech of tyres?... Not quite, but down a side street there was an impressive mural of a classic car race on a wall; and there is my father, watching the cars hurtle past!

Waimate has a long history of street racing, and the next Waimate 50 GT series will be held October 25-27 2014.

Well, that was an all too brief glimpse of Waimate. A wonderful place really. Well worth a visit!

Over the last day or two, apart from catching up with the blog, I have been making porcelain bathroom hand basins. Someone has asked me to make one for them, and I have made two of them... just in case. I used 7.5 kg of clay for each one, and they have a diameter of about 15.5 inches when freshly made, that is nearly 400mm in metric. I will have to wait a couple of days for them to dry enough to turn the underside.


cookingwithgas said...

Time has a way of slip slidding away from me. I just finished reading down and down to see what you have Benn up to.
I loved the memories of your parents.
Life does have a way of just chugging along and dragging us with.
Everything looks lovely.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Beautiful, beautiful glazes, Peter! I enjoyed the walk around Waimate; the church is wonderful.

Melissa Rohrer said...

I can't decide which of the crystalline pieces is my favorite. Very beautiful.

Enjoyed the tour!

Sandy miller said...

Peter, beautiful glazes and the pots the glaze is showcased on.
So loved your walk around Waimate. The architecture is just lovely......

time...... the older I get the more elusive I find the concept. Thank you for sharing :)

Arkansas Patti said...

I thought the blues were the best but the red crystals are even prettier. You do amazing work.
Thanks for the tour of such a lovely town. I love the architecture. So different from what we have.

Peter said...

Hi Meredith,
Good to hear from you. Time is very elastic as well as slippery.., I remember remarking to dad about it as we drove away from Waimate, because our journey to the town seemed so much longer than our return.

Hi Pat,
Thought you would like the church. Wish dad and I could have had a look inside too, as I could see some rather fine looking stained glass windows. I must do a return trip one day.

Hi Melissa,
Good to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the pots and the tour!

Hi Sandy,
Time just won't keep still! Would we appreciate the moment more if we didn't have clocks to tell us the time? It is quite a thought. I must say that time does seem to tumble along faster and faster these days.

Hi Patti,
The red crystals fascinate me. The process that they have gone through often seems to make the structure of the crystal easier to see. Waimate is a wonderful town really, so much of its history is still evident, and many of the buildings have retained their original features.

Linda Starr said...

All of your architecture photos are very inspiring to me. Love the contrast between the light and the dark on the second pot, so good you and your father got to spend some time together.

Armelle Léon said...

Your crystalline glazes are really lovely, and I love the shape of the first one, congratulations to achieve red and green as well.

It seems a shiny day on the photos and the blue of the sky is so deep and bright. I love the wooden buildings of St Augustine's church. Many wooden buildings in Bali too, the shapes are so different though.

The 'trompe-l'oeil' on the wall is stunning.

Kind thoughts to all of you from Bali

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
I enjoy the interesting shapes, colours, and textures of the old buildings, and think that they could inspire some sort of response with clay and glaze. It was a special day.

Bonjour Armelle,
There is great clarity to the sky here, often the distant hills have a sharp outline, almost as if they had been cut out of cardboard with a knife! I like wooden church buildings, such a humble and natural material seems right somehow.

Michèle Hastings said...

Gorgeous bowl!
Thank you for the tour of the town. I really enjoyed seeing the architectural details.

Sue said...

I've been through Waimate a couple of times on my way to somewhere else. I haven't given the town my full attention, as you have done. It is wonderful to see it through your eyes (camera),and I enjoyed your appreciation of the buildings.

Penelope said...

Peter, these are gorgeous pieces, and make me feel acquisitive again — not helpful when we're having a year or two gypsying. When we settle back down . . .

Peter said...

Hi Sue,
Lovely to hear from you. I do think Waimate is worth spending time looking round. I fully intend to go back properly sometime....maybe when the classic car racing is on. Glad you enjoyed glimpsing it from the blog!

Hi Penelope,
Welcome to to blog. Thank you for your kind words. "Having a year or two gypsying", sounds a really interesting to do, I wonder where your travels have taken you?

Pat - Arkansas said...

Just checking in with you. Hope all is well and that you and Laura had a wonderful Easter.

Peter said...

Hello Pat,
Thank you for checking in, it was nice of you. We are OK here and had a good Easter.
I have had a few ups and downs with health, but mostly my blog suffers from my lack of discipline... I really need to "pull my socks up", and make time for the blog.... and not get side-tracked!

Anyway, Happy Easter to you. And a New Post has finally been written this very day! Pxx