Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Thoughts on surface decoration

I am currently working on some new ceramic pieces that explore my drawings from everyday.   An example below.

 With that in mind I am going to try out  different decorating techniques.

In the past I have used red clay with a white slip, drawing into the slip to reveal the red underneath.  After bisque firing I have used underglaze colours and a clear glaze.

I want to try using a white clay body, for a clean finish on the inside of the vessels and give a more contemporary edge.  A white body me a blank canvas both inside and out, but need to explore what I want the finished piece to look like.    I could also experiement and challenge myself my using porcelain. 

Things to consider about the surface decoration:

Do I want to literally use my drawings and get these printed onto transfers.?
Or do I prefer the immediacy of drawing and painting on the clay?
Or could I use layers of slip and sgraffito to create the effects I want?
Or should I play around with different brush on glazes to get a painterly effect?
Should I give underglaze pencils a try?
Would use masking techniques get the effect I want or a combination of  all or some of the above?

The options are endless, so I need to experiment to make decisions on the surfac qualities I want.  Giving reasons for my decisions.

My initial instinct is to continue to draw into the clay and use underglaze for the colour.  I like the impact of redrawing the image into the clay creating a one off image.  But there is nothing stopping me from using slip, and putting transfers on at the end....  

Time for experimentation....

The form of the work also needs addressing.  At the moment I am throwing straight side vessels but wonder if these should be more enclosed forms like vases.  Or a flatter pieces using the inside to draw, like a platter? 

 Form, function decoration are all points to consider.  

What are my drawings in response to?
Exploration of my surrounding
Study of objects/people.

Fotoceramics.com.  Ceramic transfer printing company
Siddha el Nigoumi.  Great use of slip, burnishing and sgraffito.
Susan nemeth - using paper clay, slip, transfer and gold leaf/on glaze. Below is an image from CR, ISSUE 276, of a transfer to be used by susan

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Studio day.

Another day in the studio.  I managed to through two large flat bottom vessels/bowls  They went okay, but not perfect so will need to throw another couple to make sure the size and shape are correct.

Here is one of them

I also mangered to draw into the smaller vessels, using inspiration from my queue drawing.

I have cut into the clay and plan to use underglaze to colour and glaze with a transparent glaze.

Here is a video of the unfired piece. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Jerwood and Hastings storytelling festival

'Currently sitting in the cafe if the jerwood gallery.  It is a extremely windy and damp day and I have come with storybeard to Hastings for the storytelling festival.  Due to the high winds we have been unable to put the yurt up but have space in the marque, instead.

I have taken myself away from the hussle  and bustle of the event and sort refuge in the Jerwood Gallery on the Stade, what can be better than wandering around looking at art followed by tea and cake.  

Jerwood have a collection of work by winners of previous jerwood painting prize.  Interesting to see the variety of work through a period of years,  as well a collection on on loan from which included work from Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

While in the cafe, It would have been good to do some sketching out the window of the fishing boats, but did not have the right seat, and it was far to windy to sketch outdoors, so here is my still life instead.  

In the studio yesterday I did some throwing and managed to successful throw 3 vessels ready for surface experimentation, using my drawings as inspiration.  Future research and thought is need for these ideas but it is a starting point.  Also making some leaf tiles before all the trees completely defoliate ready for winter. 

Here is picture of the 3 vessels I made yesterday,  I have the two large ones still to throw out of the set of 5. 

After this weeks episode of the throw down, next challenge to set, myself is a coiled basin although may change the purpose slight, and make it a bird bath.   Also need to make 9 decorated tiles in 90 mins.  Will have start a separate blog with the outcomes of these challenges.  Obviously will need to spread these over a linger period as I just don't have the time that the contestants have.

Until next time.....

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Great British pottery throw down

Watched the first episode this week and thought it was excellent.   Quite compelling viewing as you warm to the contestants and judges instantly.   The format is well thought out and I enjoyed the challenges, so much so I have decide to set the challenges for my self.   Perhaps not quite in the timeframe they have, but it would still be interesting to see the results .

So this week/month I need to make:-

5 bowls that stack inside one another.
Throw off the hump.  Have done this before but no that good at it.
Experiment with different handles buy using the pulling method.

I will post images of my final pieces later his month.

August, September, October

Where did the summer go.  It has been 3 months since I last posted on my blog.   Sorry It has taken me so long to write anything for ages.  The main reason is a struggle to motivate oneself,  September and October are always difficult months due to personal reasons and therefore I haven't been getting into the studio at all.   

However , now making a concerted effort and finally made my nieces piggy bank.  This is a work in progress, but has potential to make a nice gift for Christmas open house selling.  Will make a few different ones and see how they come out.  

I have some exciting new work I want to make, which include throwing some straight sided bowls, and drawing  / painting on these using my observational drawings.  Look forward to developing this work and exploring its for and direction.  Also have plans to continue my bird chatter work, but start using white clay.  I will have to rethink the decoration for the birds it will be exciting to experiment with different medium.

On apersonal note, after successfully designing my tiles for our hearth at home I have decided to make some for the fire surround, and watch this space to see how this designed progress for these.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

MA Ceramics

I have been reconsidering doing an MA starting in September 2015, as I don't think I have enought evidence to support my application.  All my recent sketchbooks are very sporadic and to be honest not so much books but bits of paper in many, many places.  But here are a collection of books from my Degree and aftewards, plus recent drawing sketchbooks.   Just need to bring together the ideas developed inbetween....

Over the next two weeks I am going to try to bring order to these and start developing my ideas and do some reading and gallery critques.   I need to demonstrate that I have the analytical and research skills required for MA level.

This may also be a good opportunity to start to group my 'finch365' drawings, so they are more meaningful.

I have the opportunity of meeting the tutor at UCA (MA Ceramics) to discuss my work, so I need to sort this out and then decide if 2015 is the year to start this or work more on new projects, and decide on 2016 entry.   May also be worth considereing the MA Craft at Brighton, although do I want to do a degree where I work and where I previously studied?

On that note I am going to start a seperate Research Diary blog.   So all, exhibition visits, book/article reviewed or comments, plus websites visited will be listed here.   It is a staring point.    It will be quite general to start with exploring different ideas and interests, but it should start to become more focused as i develop my ideas further.  Will need to transfer some of my earlier posts on this blog over to the new area, or provide links to this blog.

Inspiration/ ideas while camping

Last week I went camping, or rather glamping may be an more accurate discription, at a wonderfl campsite in Dorset, Riverside Lakes (Horton).

Great opportunit to relax, read, play silly games, eat and explore.   The weather was fantastic, although it did rain on a couple of occasions.   The evenings were spent round the campfire and on clear nights, we did a bit of stargazing.  Now have knowledge in the old brainbox of 3 new constellations.

The Crown
The Eagle
Also refreshed my memory as to where  Cygnet (The Swan) and the Herdsman were.

Sunday (5th) was the perfect opportunity to see Venus and Jupiter , very close together, or a least from our perspective.

During this trip I had time to think about ceramic work/projects that may be good to develop.  One is looking at the stories about the UK native trees.   There are many stories linked with myth and legends about our trees and I think it would be an interest area  to explore.  Would like to link drawing and ceramics together to explore this subject.    Something to think about!

Another idea is to work with my observational drawings, but transfer onto the ceramic surface.  Did to think about context for these.  What form should they take, how should they be seen.   What reasons am I doing these drawings?  They are a collection and therefore be represented as such?  Should there be one piece per drawing or several drawing at one, telling a story over a period of time?  My journey?   Things to think about here and research to do.   What artists use ceramics as form to storytelling?   Grayson Perry, Alex McErlain, etc.

Need to go a leaf collection at the weekend to make some impression moulds of native leaves and any seed heads.

During my camping trip, we went to Poole Pottery, interesting mix of things going on there.   Initally, when I walked in I thought I had gone into the wrong place, but at the back of the shop, there were the makers and their work.  there was also a collection of past work from poole pottery dating back many years, all for sale.   I managed to find the dinnerset that my mother-in-law has, would have phoned her to ask if she need any replacement pieces, but the lack of electricity supply in the yurt, meant I had no battery on the old telephonic device.

Regarding the work at poole pottery, some interesting mix of work, which was very well made and can appreciate the work gone into these pieces, and the prices reflect this.   Way outside my price range but good research as to pricign work!

There was a maker that stood out for me, but I didn't write down her name and now cannot find her work.    She used a drawing techique - negative drawing - taking away the background by scrapping into the clay to reveal a lighter colour beneath the redish slip.    All based on natural forms and using a vasel like structure as the form.   I will post the name should it resurface to memory.