Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spring with Flowers!

Where would Spring be without the flowers? For me it is flowers that are the first brave messengers of Spring. The very first of them will even push through snow, and arrive, nodding and blinking and tossing their tiny heads. In no time at all, the cheerful flowers make the world a better place!

Laura has been painting again, and her paintings reflect Spring, and new life and possibilities.
This painting is rather long and thin, so here are 3 photos of it!

Laura also entered some arrangements of flowers and vegetables in a recent local flower show, and..... she won 2 silver cups!

Photo kindly supplied by Rhonda

I have an exhibition scheduled for November this year in the Selwyn Gallery in Darfield near Christchurch. When the exhibition was first mooted, I was expecting to put together a show of new crystalline glazed work, and had ideas for sculptural pieces for mounting on the wall, as well as for vases, but what we have been through this year took me away from doing much in the studio for a considerable time, and when I returned to creative work I needed refreshing. The studio seemed rather empty and lifeless at first, and I had no real desire to make smallish things out of porcelain.

Instead, I found myself drawn towards some bags of earthenware clay. My first attempts were planters and fairly simple things, just to get some throwing skills and some stamina back. Then I made large jugs or pitchers. The warm, human form of a jug, what can be nicer! I hope to wood fire some of them soon.

Handles, fit for a hefty jug, are a challenge and a creative pleasure. I enjoyed adding some decorative lumps and bumps to this one!

Now that I have made a start, I am back to the porcelain again, and am experimenting with largish objects that are somewhere between a bowl and a vase. I am thinking of forms that will be an adventure playground for the extremely fluid crystalline glazes that I will put on them, so I am thinking of glazes running, pooling, and intermixing when I make these. 

The bowl/vases are made in two pieces, they are really a deep bowl with a thrown foot, I suppose they are like a chalice or goblet for a giant!

have had my first crystalline glaze firings for quite some months, and completed this shallow bowl recently. 

And.... Last, but not least.......
we were delighted to receive a post card from a friend who traveled to Paris. The post card was of a black cat, and this can be seen on the left of the photo.. In close proximity to the card, Nigella Stopit did her best to pose appropriately!


Sandy said...

Hi Peter,

It's so good to hear you are back to creating beautiful pottery after a long break.
I love the Blue Crystalline platter.

Did you add cobalt carbonate to the base glaze that you posted in 2010?

Peter said...

Hi Sandy,
Good to hear from you. Regarding the crystalline glaze.. The glaze base that I am using now is as follows,
Fritt 4110 47
Zinc Oxide 27
Silica 24
Titanium Dioxide 2
Bentonite 2

I fire this to a peak temperature in the range of cone 9.5 - 10.5. You really have to test this as it will determine the number of crystals that you end up with. Glaze thickness influences this too.

This base is one that I have slowly evolved to suit the porcelain body I have been using for the last couple of years. (The glaze bases that I used earlier often did not work well for me on this body so I had to start from scratch and find something that did!)

In the case of the bowl in the photo, to this glaze base I added cobalt carbonate 1.5 and red iron oxide 1.5.

The base works well with other combinations of copper, cobalt, iron, or manganese. A combination of rutile, cobalt carbonate, and copper carbonate, all at about 0.5 each was rather lovely when I tried it.
Good luck! P

Linda Starr said...

congrats to Laura and her florals; love her narrow painting perfect for a spot in the home with a narrow wall; glad to see you back potting; can't wait to see some pooling of glazes on your new forms.

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad you and Laura are feeling like creating again. I sure hope she is doing much better.
Love that arrangement, she is multi-talented like her hubby.
Nigella Stopit is looking quite regal.
Take good care of yourselves and welcome back. You have been missed.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
Lovely to hear from you (I tried to leave a comment on your blog last night and it didn't seem to get through to you... I think I must have my browser security settings screwed down too far or something! I'll make some changes and try again!). I've passed on your congrats to Laura.

Hi Patti,
Thank you for the "welcome back", it is so nice to hear from you. We have quite a creative thing going on in this household at the moment. Laura's health has improved a lot now, and it is lovely to see her enjoying life, her painting, and her garden again!
Nigella Stopit can be very photogenic... she would like "regal"!

Anna said...

Great that you are getting back to your special glazes. your pretty cat has posed purrfectly...

Sandie said...

Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your glaze receipes. I assume you still soak at 1100 for 3 hours. I have to work out the firing schedule to try the firing.
I have been following your blog for a long time and admire all the work you have been doing. It is also good news that your wife Laura is painting again. The floral paintings are beautiful. When I next visit NZ, I have to drop in to your studio/gallery.

Melissa Rohrer said...

Good to hear from you and very enjoyable to see what you and Laura are doing.

Peter said...

Hi Anna,
Good to hear from you. All go here tonight, I have two kilns loaded and a glaze firing going through the night.... That "pretty" cat has stolen my computer chair, so I have to use a rather more inferior one. She is the boss round here!

Hi Sandie,
It is nice to be able to share glaze information, and always interesting to see how other people use the glazes too. You are right about the soak at 1100 for 3 hours, this is a good starting point for these glazes. You can get more spiky looking crystals by soaking 20 or 30 degrees higher, and even rounder looking by going a little lower. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a way of catching the run off glaze that is almost certain to happen when the work is at high temperature in the firing. I make glaze catching bowls for each pot, and stand the pot on a porcelain ring that I make to the same diameter as the pot. I use a mixture of alumina and PVA glue mixed with a little water to stick the ring to the pot before the firing. After firing I tap around the join with a sharpish wood working chisel and a hammer. It usually breaks away quite cleanly if you take care! After that I grind off the sharp edge with an abrasive diamond disk that I attach to my potter's wheel. I should do a blog post with all the steps of crystalline glazing photographed... it will be easier to show in pictures!

Do drop in and see us if you are over in NZ, it would be lovely to catch up with you. If you gave a little advanced warning we could probably give you a meal too!

Hi Melissa,
Thank you for writing in, it is nice to hear from you. I feel bad that the blog has been happening so infrequently lately, and it is lovely that people keep in touch.

Sandie said...

Hi Peter,

I was there last year but did not get to your part of the territory. How nice to be invited for a meal. I will certainly take you up on it should I be there.

My friend are I are really keen on trying to do some crystalline firing. The advice you have given will be really useful. It would be lovely if you could do it step by step with the firing process temperature guide. But please do it only in your spare time (if any!)

Good luck with your firing and I hope to see some pictures of your results.