We took some new work into the Stuart Street Potter's Co-operative in Dunedin yesterday. It was nice to catch up with a few of the potter's there, and to refresh my display. Each member of the Co-op has an area of shelves on which to display their things, and sometimes a few works are shown on plinths too. At regular intervals through the year, the potters swap the spaces around, so people get a chance to occupy other parts of the shop.
I took a few photos of my display with my smart phone, and was quite surprised to see that the phone did a good job for such a basic little camera.
The blue dots that you see on my work is not some sort of disease, but it is just little pricing labels... In some respects I dislike having to put them so prominently, but it does make it easier for public to see how much things are, without having to do a lot of rummaging around..., which is somewhat risky with pottery!
The tankard shaped mugs, and the cups near to them are both new designs for me, and I am particularly pleased with the "twisty" looking handles. The handles were made by forming a gently tapered thin sausage of clay, maybe 5 or 6 inches long, then carefully rolling it at a diagonal across the texture of some corrugated cardboard. After that I smoothed one side of the clay by throwing it down hard on my work table. Then I bent the clay around in a handle shape, and left it to stiffen for a few minutes before attaching it to the mug or cup. When bending the clay into a handle shape, I found it important to gently push the clay together and bend it at the same time, this helped prevent it cracking. I have never made handles this way before for my cups and mugs, but recently tried this when my pupil, Becky, was out here for a lesson and needed to turn a cylinder into a mug. I liked the way the handle looked so much that it appeared in my own work the next week!
I have an exhibition coming up next month in the Selwyn Gallery, Darfield (near Christchurch, NZ), so it is "Action Stations" here at the moment, and both my electric kilns are helping Just Energy turn a handsome profit this year! The exhibition runs from 6 November to 4 December and I share the gallery space with Christchurch Artist, Judy Rogers, who works with fabrics.
I thought you might like to see how pots are glaze fired in my little kiln when I am doing crystalline glazed firings, and I took some photos looking in the kiln before and after the firing.
This is the smaller of the two electric kilns that I have here, I think it is a shade over 3 cubic feet in capacity. It can take me a long time to pack a small kiln like this, as fitting overlapping shapes is really like trying to solve a three dimensional puzzle. I sometimes stand the bowls on insulating fire bricks to lift work high enough to squeeze in near something else. To make things worse when packing the kiln, crystalline glazed pots have really runny glazes, so each pot has to have a glaze catching bowl made for it, and stands in the bowl on a specially made porcelain ring.
And here is after the firing, it is fun to see the change in colour. I fired this one slightly too low. With crystalline glaze firings the number of crystals that you get to form is strongly influenced by the temperature that you fire the kiln to. If you are slightly too low in temperature, then you usually end up with too many crystals forming, or slightly rough or "dry" areas on the glaze where it is thick. The smaller pots in this firing were all under fired, so other pots were loaded in with them, and they were fired again, whilst pots that were destined to become part of my Potter's Co-op display, warmed on top of the kiln.
And here is the result of the next crystalline glaze firing. Much better this time.
Well, I have another hour or so to go on the firing that I am doing as I write. I had better put on something for a meal as well so will send this post off into the "ether"...(as they used to say before cyberspace was invented!).