Monday, 25 November 2013

No shed time

This is the wonderful reason I'm not in my shed. Do you blame me?
Next week I'm locking myself in the shed as I'm not needed for babysitting as much. Of course a cricket match got in the way a little as well.
The latest Journal of Australian arrived in my inbox today and it looks a pretty good edition focusing on ecology and ceramics. I haven't collected my hard copy from the post yet.  I've been reliving China again as there is an article on the ICMEA Conference with photos. It was a wonderful experience and I urge any emerging artist to take the opportunity to send an entry in three years or submit a paper, do it, I had the most wonderful time seeing amazing sights and ceramics as well as meeting the most interesting people.

The shelves are slowly filling up in the shed. I am becoming frustrated that I just don't get enough done  but next year I will have to knuckle down with a few things planned already, but there are some items heading for the kiln.
Cups thrown.
Handles pulled.
And attached
Moulds drained.
Mould of bowl waiting to be released.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be showing some art students from Melbourne via Skype what I do. They  have been following my blog thanks to my cousin (once removed) Simon Moore, their art teacher. We had a false start last week but tomorrow with the help from my iPad I'll be able to show them how much fun it is to work with clay

Monday, 18 November 2013

Storm watching

Queensland's south east continues its dance with dramatic weather. Hail stones the size of tennis balls and bigger hammered down. It was Straddie's turn this afternoon and we watched it thunder towards us, we were fortunate that again it didn't hit us.
Here it comes across the Bay as we watched from our house! Yikes!
Looking towards Peel Island
Glad I'm not in that teeny boat.
Coomera north of the Gold Coast was copping it here.
Looking towards Cleveland.

After the storm
Blue sky again in minutes.
Waiting until tomorrow for the next dance.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Making moulds

Yesterday on an impulse I decided to make a mould of a bowl that I could use for a series of work for Drift. Instead of throwing bowls and then having to wait until the next day for turning them now at I am so pressed for time I thought I might be able to cast bowls in between doing other work. 
Below is my plan for making the mould. I am trying a new method and it is much easier than the way I was taught using wooden frames.
The details are above but in case it isn't easily read I will repeat it.

I threw the shape I desired upside down. I then rolled a coil and secured that onto the batt outside the shape. With a wooden tool I made a groove in the coil and placed some stiff but flexible plastic into the groove. I secure the plastic by turning the wheel and pressing both inside and out. The plastic is an old folder that I cut into strips. I made sure the plastic overlapped considerably and placed clips on the top where they overlapped to hold them. String was then wound around the outside, not pulling it so that it bent the plastic but to hold it securely when the mould was filled with plaster. I didn't bother to put soap on the batt for easy separation between the batt and the plaster which I really should have done as it would have made it easier. Plaster doesn't stick to clay so that was ok.

I mixed the plaster and poured it into the mould well above the shape and let it harden. I then removed the string and outside clay coil, the plastic and the rest of the clay. The tricky bit was getting the mould  off the batt but it wasn't too difficult for the bowl, the bigger plate wasn't easy.
It makes a neat mould this way. Next I made a plate shape and i followed the same procedure.
Plaster poured over shape above.
Taking off the coil, clay and plastic.
Looks good, but the tricky bit was next.
Trying to prise the mould and shape off the batt. I used the round stick to whack the scraper under the mould all the way around and I did damage the edge, silly me. I am always taking foolish short cuts.
Finally the mould is off the shape ready to be wiped and dried for a week. I have previously made a mug mould which I will have to dig out, hope I can find it.

I am in the process of drawing whales, fish, turtles etc. I want them to look like old engravings to some degree. I could go on line and copy images but I feel that's cheating so am laboriously drawing them. I will reduce the drawings to various sizes and have decals made. It would be nice to test a series of glazes for the colours I want but for expediency this year I will use underglaze and clear glaze, fire them and add the decals. 

People are always wanting freebies so these shapes might be a way to fill these requests as cheaply as possible. I have Lino cuts that I can also use for a change of design.

Babysitting for the next few days and a musical evening at the big boys school, the moulds will have a chance to dry in that time.

I am hoping to go to this day of action on Sunday, see below.

Brisbane Day of Climate Action

National Day of Climate Action > Brisbane Day of Climate Action

On 17th November, tens of thousands of Australians will gather in every capital city and hundreds of regional towns - tomake it clear that Australians want stronger action on climate change. Make sure you RSVP today to turn up the heat on climate action. 
Please also invite your friends to the Facebook event 


  • Sunday
  • 17th November 2013
  • 10:00 am
  • open event - capacity of 20000 guests.


  • Queens Park, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia

From the host

WEAR HOT SUMMER COLOURS. Think red, orange, yellow - shirts, clothes, signs, banners, facepaint, hats, umbrellas and any other creative ideas. Together we will turn up the heat on climate action! Also bring water, hat and sunscreen.
Map data ©2013 Google

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Selling my soul?

Picked up some remaining work from Drift yesterday and had a chat with Jennie the owner. She's very keen for more work before Christmas, I haven't enough hands or time. The markets return more money quickly which sets me up for supplies for the next year and I'm reluctant to give them up but it would be nice to make work for Drift and not have the pressure of the markets.

Jennie suggested whales, turtles etc, etc. I cringed but she said island themes just walk on out of the gallery and I know that from previous experience. So the old soul is up for sale again it seems, it's not as bad as that really but i don't like repeating myself. I am trying a couple of pieces to see how I feel.

I poured this T/C mould above too large for its original purpose so coated it with white slip and sgraffito-ed.....yes you a whale. Above is the front and below the back. I do like sgraffito work it is very relaxing.

Then I started on one of the larger bowls of T/C that I had thrown, the clay is a lot more coarse so harder to sgraffito cleanly. The one below is underway but with the hot wind today it is drying out fast.
We'll have to wait and see if it turns out, don't like it yet unless I can make it less rough. Gazing over the sgraffito may fix that I hope. I plan to single fire the T/C to save cost and lower the price.

It looks like my following the nesting and future chicks of the curlew has hit a disheartening spot. I hadn't seen them around for a couple of days and upon exploring the park I found this sad sight below. I don't know if it's the male, female or juvenile. I have seen two curlews but they are back hiding in my neighbour's yard and not nesting.
After posting the image on Facebook on the Bush Stone Curlew page, Scott, the Phd student studying them said he thought it was hit by a car, but I find that hard to believe being so far from the road. I thought it may be the " %#¥%^"cats that are left to run wild next door.

 We have peewees on a nest outside our gate in the camphor laurel. I knew they were there as one pooped on my head from the nest, yes I then looked up foolishly but didn't cop one in the eye luckily. The masked lapwings, or plovers as we know them, are nesting out in the open and screech with an ear splitting noise if you approach. By the look of the spurs on their wings I don't go too close. On a trip to Main Beach the other evening the beach is still littered with hundreds of shearwaters. The sight and the smell is dreadful. Flocks of bossy looking terns are congregating on the beach to rest and feed before heading south, I love the look of these birds and its interesting to observe their pecking order. I took lots of photos and will sift through them and post them later.

With some of my earnings from the Drift exhibition I splurged impulsively and bought myself a quilt from Drift. The quilts are made by Bangladesh women from antique saris, there were all sorts of colours and designs but this is the first one I looked at and the haphazard saris with patches and different saris on the reverse was instant attraction. I'm not usually a bright floral person but these quilts are so unselfconscious and obviously made in non factory surroundings that I just had to have one. Below is my quilt with a Fergus Stewart salt glazed bowl he made in Bendigo when I was there for the National Conference, it goes very well with the quilt don't you think.

Repair patches above. Below, on my bed.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

In the News

A good week for Ceramics. Two popular magazines have featured Queensland Ceramicists. Wow! Congratulations to Shannon Garson from Maleny and Kylie Johnson from Brisbane.
I always look in Country Style as they often feature ceramic artists so was delighted to find Shannon and Sonia told me of Kylie, both of whom I know. I'm tickled pink for them.

Today I had the most pleasant surprise. Recently I had complained about the cost and difficulty of delivery of Feeney clay. So I was so delighted to have a very kind reader send me information on buying clay directly from Feeneys in Ipswich at a substantial saving from Pottery Supply. I didn't know that people other than family and the odd friend read my blog so I am thrilled to have someone interested and to be so kind. Thank you so much.

I've been throwing large bowls of a non throwing clay, a Feeny's terracotta (I didn't know it was non throwing until I bought it but that didn't deter me). After four large bowls I ripped a hole in my little finger due to the grog, in the clay, not in me. So today I've been casting rather than throwing. Due to the large size of the kiln I need lots of pieces so I'll have to repair my finger in order to throw large pieces to fill the kiln. I'm crazy, why am I making with T/C as it can only be fired by itself at low temps and my better selling work is not being made?

Insert here a Buddhist saying to keep myself on the straight and narrow! 

I made an earthen ware slip yesterday, it is so hard to cover the dark T/C. I will have to tidy up the top edge.
The white area I will sgraffito with images of local birds that are busily sucking honey out of jacaranda flowers.

Jennie is keeping some of the remaining work from the Drift Exhibition and I will pick up the other bits tomorrow. She wants more work so I had better get on with the work I'm planning just for her gallery. I want to try out some new work and see how it sells and keep the market work separate.

At the moment I'm watching some nesting Bush Stone Curlews for a fellow who is doing his Phd on these beautiful birds, he asked for help on the Birds in Backyards newsletter and it is very interesting to take part. I'm learning so much from him. My neighbour has been following the birds near us for years now and between us (she has the info and I have the email), we are watching and recording.

Aren't they too beautiful!!!