Friday, 30 August 2013

Kiln sitter.

Beautiful evenings at this time of year.

Waiting to reach temperature, it is currently 1136°C. Filled the kiln on Monday afternoon with the work for the exhibition in September and bisque fired. Quick turn around as the kiln was "sort of" cool enough, I live dangerously! Unloaded yesterday morning and coloured and glazed all the work, phew, took all blooming day and I still had a couple of pieces to put in this morning. So I'm nearly finished the glaze firing. I'm a little concerned I rushed it all yesterday and it won't be finished well but well have to see.

The large distorted bowls I airbrushed with several layers of different coloured underglaze as I wanted them to have a translucent appearance but who know if that will work but worth a try. They are the main work for the exhibition. Again I have experimented with the other crab plates and am a bit nervous, will I ever learn to experiment first!!
Bowls with underglaze.

These are the colours that are the inspiration for the bowls.

I have been working on my paper for the China conference today, shuffling paper and images. I sent an email and a request form to the fellow at the Museum of Australian Pottery, Geoff Ford, whom I contacted before I went to Sweden about using images of pots from the pottery I am talking about. No reply! Panic! Looked up his website and he is away until September so I hope he reads his emails as soon as he gets back, yikes!

This afternoon when the paper became tedious I drew a leaf from the garden and am going to make a Lino cut I think. Such a pretty leaf with lots of cutting involved.
The leaf veins.
Pressed into a slab with a gentle celadon would make a pretty plate.

Must pay attention to the kiln and cones now, the old girl is roaring away and is about 1200°, so should keep my eye on the spy hole for the cones to start bending. It's hot in here.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Treasure Island

I'm finding it difficult to stay in the shed today with another perfect day on the island.
Can you blame me when this is a few steps outside the shed door?

I'm trying to pluck up courage to colour the inside of the "Rock Pool" bowls. It's always nerve wracking when you do something for the first time especially when it is a piece for an exhibition, but I do like to live dangerously. Ha!

The six bowls that survived the rigorous manipulation (so far) are out on the table calling to me for colour inside. I can waste hours thinking about it or avoiding it before I leap into it. That's where I am right now.
I have sanded off the lumps and bumps and wiped them down.
Courage don't desert me!

Avoidance technique #105. Write blog.
This week I found a couple of precious treasures. They were both sad finds. The first, the leftover dinner for one of the four "%#{%&#$}" cats next door. I'm always finding little piles of feathers but this one was a wing from a rainbow lorikeet.
It is so beautiful and is packed with such hope of flying fast and furious. No other feathers were found of this bird. Last night the cats were left to run wild as usual and intermittently the screeching alerts of masked lapwings punctuated the air waking us with great alarm. They must be nesting nearby and with the bright moonlight they were warning the cats who were stalking them to stay away. So with the masked lapwings and the curlews who run about like panic struck rioters shouting at each other, we didn't get a lot of sleep.

The next find was on a walk yesterday afternoon on the beach near home. I could believe what I found.
I put it back in the water hoping the was still some life left but it was well and truly dead. It had been washed up and was on the high tide mark so had been there for some time. I have only ever found fragment of anemone and always on the ocean side. So this is an amazing find for me.

Well I can't think of another avoidance technique so must take the plunge as I want to pack the kiln. Speaking of the kiln, yesterday Geoff and I got down on our knees and grunted and groaned to loosen the burners and twist them at an angle so that I could scrub them out with the brass brush. Then we vacuumed them and hopefully they will not blow bits of rusty iron throughout the kiln when firing. Keeping my fingers crossed.
If you need a burner scrubber, this little beauty was perfect. It is a b-b-q grill cleaning brush from Jim's Bait Shop on Straddie - $3. (avoidance technique #106).

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Daydream Day

Perfect day here on the island today. What daydreams are made of. 
Calm and warm, wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Should be in the shed but had to go for a walk to photograph some broken coral for an idea I had for some plates that I am making, I am calling "broken Coral Plates" surprisingly.
There is so much coral washed up on the bayside of the island and I have been mulling over it for ages and have finally incorporated it into some plates.
All these broken and worn pieces of coral once had animals living in them. I don't know why they end up dead on the beach. Is it a natural event, the impact of people, boats, other sea animals? I don't know but I love the water worn shapes with the hint of a previous life. Some have shells welded to them and they range in colour from white to grey to brown. The shapes are just waiting to be put onto a clay surface.
I dug out some old, old plaster moulds I used for plates years ago. They were pretty grotty but cleaned up. I did have six but one was broken so I've made four.
This mould was made using a b-b-q hot plate from an old round b-b-q. I wish I still had access to it.
I rolled out some clay with a rolling pin and placed it on the mould and made a foot ring from rolled out clay and added it to the bottom.
When it was dry enough to handle, I painted underglaze around the outside and placed it back on the mould to harden up.
I carved the four plates with different coral designs.
The animals holes were drilled with a small drill piece I use for teapot holes.

Now they are drying to go into a bisque kiln along with all the other pieces for the exhibition in September.

Maintenance is the next job. I have to clean out the burners. Dear Geoff has been flogging all over the city looking for a brass brush to scrub them out. Finally after many tolls and kilometres he has found one on the island at the bait shop of all places for cleaning b-b-q's (I'm keeping the b-b-q theme going here).

I hope to finish all the pieces today, that's if I can keep myself in the shed on such a glorious day, and loosen the rusted burners so that I can turn them on their sides and scrub them out before vacuuming them to avoid rust spotting on the glaze.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Day in Clay

Dawn to dusk in the shed, well not quite it only felt like it according to my back. Finished the plates, made a large bowl, in fact several but wasn't happy with the final shapes and recycled them. I'm a bit out of practice and throwing 5 kilos gets harder the older I get.o
Finished Lino cut, my "new faithful", it worked well.
Pressing in the Lino. You have to judge the softness of the clay carefully as it is easy to make a mess.
Worked okay.
Turning plates, always an enjoyable job. I do love making plates.

The exhibition is about the shoreline so I made some flowing bowls. First I threw a large cylinder without a bottom, let it become hard enough to handle and manipulated it as I placed it onto a slab.
Above is the cylinder and below manipulated and placed on slab. 
I made a couple of them along with half a dozen flat plates which I also hope have a flowing quality.
They aren't finished yet, I need to round off the ends and I can't decide where or not to put small feet on them. As I am firing them to high temperature as it is porcelain clay then I risk warping if I elevate them with feet so it might be best to leave them flat.

I would like to glaze everything with a celadon but need to vary the finish for the exhibition, so I am still considering what I will do.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Decisions, decisions!

V&A 2013

Frustrating week back in the shed. I launched into the exhibition work for Drift in September with ideas that had been percolating for weeks throughout the trip. I had planned a series of bowls that had the required theme of shoreline. I began by making large, long slabs with shells and another one with nets and ropes also found on the beach. One large bowl from clay pressed into the full slab and then cutting down further clay into three smaller bowls that could sit inside one another, blah, blah, blah. I had contemplated these for many nights in Estonia, London, Bath and thought I had it all worked out. I over thought it I fear and after making the moulds, last night I decided to toss them.

Today I threw six 30cm plates and decided to dig out my old faithful Lino cut of a crab that I cut in 2005 and press the Lino cut into each plate.
First of six 30cm plates
Old faithful crab Lino cut from 2005.

 I dug out old faithful only to find it crumble in my hand from brittleness. Yikes! Frantically I looked back through all my old drawing books to try and find the original drawing, thinking that it being eight years since I drew it was asking too much. So there is an advantage being a hoarder after all, there it was, as good as the day I drew it.

So here I am tonight tracing the drawing onto some new plastic replacement for Lino, I hope it lasts longer than Lino. I am procrastinating as you can see, I'm tired and haven't prepared my mind for a hard night of cutting and grunting. I'll have to finish it tonight as the plates are getting harder and harder and I won't be able to press the Lino into the clay.
Tracing done.
Traced the image onto the plastic as I usually do for Lino but the pencil lines smudge so easily. I have gone over with a black pen what I can decipher and have begun to cut the lines. You can see the smudging in the above photo, yuck! I won't finish it tonight so will have to wrap the plates up securely and hope like mad they remain soft until I finish the Lino cut (plastic cut doesn't sound romantic enough does it). It's a lot easier to cut than Lino that's for sure but my hands are black from the pencil smudges.
 V&A  2013