Seaweed pinch pot

Seaweed pinch pot

Sunday, 28 July 2013

and beginning again

My market debut came and went a week ago and was a really positive experience - lots of great feedback and I sold enough to encourage me to begin the next cycle of making. Having spent most of the last week down the coast with my family on a winter beach holiday I now feel revived and raring to go  - many ideas already forming in my head, both for forms and for surface designs. (As usual, finding time around parenting my preschool age children is the tricky bit ... the making goes at a rather slower pace than the imagining). Stay tuned...

seaweed on a windswept winter beach 

Lichen - it makes pots! (with brown lining, you need to look closely)

new group of pinch pots on the kitchen table

Saturday, 13 July 2013

preparing for market

I recently did a course run by the Thornbury Women's Neighbourhood House called "Make Craft Your Business". I figured that if I keep up the making (which I intend to do!) I will eventually need to start selling. Of course this would also help with replenishing my materials fund, which is pretty much empty. The course was great - very supportive and lots of practical advice for how and where to start selling, including photographing work and setting up a facebook page and blog (yes indeed it was this course that gave me the nudge to get this blog going). The same neighboorhood house holds a craft market about every second month, and the course participants are very much encouraged to have a stall there - the encouragement worked and I will be among them, in ONLY ONE WEEK!! The market is called Made 'n Thornbury, and it'll be be on in the hall at 99 Leinster Grove Thornbury next Sat (20th July) from 10am - 2pm. You can find out more about it on the market blog, or their facebook page.

Whilst I'm excited and looking forward to this new experience of bringing my work to a market, it's been a big pressure hanging over my clay time in the past two weeks - will I have enough work finished? will I manage to get my latest stuff successfully glazed? This has been a whole new game for me. I've had a fear of market stalls since my highly entrepreneurial sister used to drag me along as a co-stall-holder to sell all sorts of strange craft creations when I was about 9 years old. This is my big chance to overcome that fear!

So, I've been a bit all-a-fluster with finishing off this and that and even trying to get some new work through the two firings in time for market (not sure if they'll make it yet... more trips to firing service this week...). The glaze quest continues and I've decided to shift my goalposts a bit in the hope of getting some of my stencilled work to market day. For now, I would be very happy with just a clear glaze on the stencilled work (eventually something more complex will evolve, but not in the next week). Good news though - my self-made clear glaze achieved a great clear result!! Credit goes to this Australian website, where I found the recipe.  I mixed up another batch today so that I had a good quantity for dipping, and also mixed up some more of an adapted version of the recipe - I was aiming for white but I got cream, which I was happy enough with. Here's a picture of the glaze ingredients all measured out ready for mixing.

Although I've been a reluctant glazer (often seeing it as a distraction from my making time) I must admit that mixing my own has started to draw me in - it feels like alchemy when you put in the simple raw mineral ingredients and create something totally new.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

the glaze quest

So, as mentioned in my last post, my current mission is to find a glaze that works on my stencilled iron oxide slip surfaces. I suspect I'm still in the early days of this mission. A few insights I've gained from my tests so far:
a) clear statin isn't really all that clear when put over iron oxide slip ... it's kind of milky and dulls the surface a lot
b) when a little iron oxide is mixed into a clear satin base there is sometimes an interesting opaque rusty sort of effect, but otherwise the colour is fairly dull semi transparent beige
c) weirdly, iron oxide mixed into white satin glaze changes it from opaque to transparent and from satin finish to high gloss! oh, the joys and mysteries of chemistry...
Actually, what I did probably doesn't count as a true glaze tests because I didn't even record percentage of iron oxide (would you even believe I'm trained in science!!). So findings b and c are pretty vague - just random experimentation really. 

Before I even gained the above revelations, impatient to get some finished pieces on my shelf,  I gambled on a few pots. I went with what I thought were safe glazing options. I got some ok results - like these two, which have a yellowish transparent glaze.

Sadly my gamble didn't pay off with some other works though - I think I ruined a few. I know. I should test. Evidently it is with good reason that those who actually know about glazing always go on about testing. 

Speaking of testing - I tried mixing a couple of glazes from raw ingredients for the first time this week. I'm motivated partly by budget and partly because I want to understand glaze better. Truth is I find glazing daunting and my lack of experience in this area has meant quite a few disappointments when picking up my fired work. Can't yet tell you how my debut glaze making went as my test aren't back from firing. Bit nervous....

Looking forward to getting back to making in my clay time next week. Thought I'd finish with an image of lovely winter oak branches I was hanging out under with the kids last week, as I just love these. One day I'll do a huge pot with winter branches stretching over it's surface.