Seaweed pinch pot

Seaweed pinch pot

Sunday, 25 August 2013

raw treasure trove

A few weeks ago I responded to a Gumtree classifieds add for some ceramic stains and tools and bits and pieces - so glad I did! The seller was moving overseas and clearing out her studio, and when I went to pick up the stains etc she threw in a bunch of other glaze materials she had. I felt like I came home with a bit of a treasure trove, yet it's only now that I'm getting around to testing a few things and looking up glaze recipes that will allow me to use some of it.

I'm doing a bit of experimentation with coloured slip now, and slowly testing out some of the stains, which is fun. There is a yellow ochre that I absolutely love the colour of raw, so I couldn't help but doing a few experiments on cups with that... I really hope it doesn't turn out to have a low burn-out temperature! (most of these stains don't have labels with burn-out info on them). There are the unfired experiments.

Plugging away slowly at the wheel this past fortnight - just trying to put in the hours to build my skills up really. Clay time has been a bit compromised for other reasons too, but I'm resisting the slight temptation to blog about parenting.

In good news, I did manage to get out and look at at a couple of open-studios as part of the Craft Cubed Festival on Saturday. Although I'm in and out of Northcote Pottery often because I use their firing service, their Open Day on Saturday was the first time I'd had a peek into the studio spaces. I really liked getting this little insight. Seeing Tara Reid at work in her clean white studio space was a bit of a highlight. Her meticulous way of working and her clean minimalist aesthetic is starkly different to my own approach but all the more fascinating for the difference I think. She was making tiny little balls of coloured slip which she then fires and incorporates into a clear glaze to crease a random speckled effect which is really striking (I didn't think to take a picture and I now can't find a good example to link to on the web - the photo under her name on the NP site here gives you a little hint of what I'm talking about - you can see the black specs on the inside of the bowl).

Other than NP, I managed a brief visit to the studio of Sophie Moran (brief because I left my run too late). She's tucked away in a very industrial pocket of North Fitzroy and makes elegant functional wares, mostly in soft colours sometimes with a subtle decorative motif. I was especially taken with her gorgeous batter bowls/jugs which had a lovely creamy satin glaze. Also loved her tall vases which melded a heavily grogged raku clay bottom half with a porcelain upper in a tall, elegant cylinder form - as a group they were very sculptural.

Hi to fellow bloggers on Mud Colony - I look forward to checking out what you've all been up to.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

pots in progress...

feathery seaweed pinch pot

pinch pot with forked seaweed design

Once again loving the making process with pinch pots and a few coils. Returned from our winter beach trip with seaweed strewn beaches imprinted on my mind so am having fun with seaweed inspired carved designs on these pinch pots. Some are more direct interpretations than others!

I'm hoping to join in with mud colony this week for the first time - what an exciting thing to be part of, a whole lot of ceramicists sharing blog posts in one spot - have a look!
pinch pot with abstract algae/basket design
pinch pot with tangled seaweed with air bladder

Vase (pinched and coiled) with a design inspired mainly by my 2 year old's spiderweb drawings, but also reminiscent of single cell algae (!!)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

musings about pots

Why make pots? Even ones that aren't really designed to have anything put in them?
From time to time I love to ponder this. What is it about pots that keeps me so enthralled? They can be just so wonderfully satisfying to make and to behold. Their essence and meaning sometimes seems crystal clear to me -  and other times it is entirely illusive. It seems there are many deep-thinkers in the ceramics world on what draws us to pots, and I've come across a few lovely pearls of insight from some rather awesome artists (not in-person, just to be clear, these are gleaned from the books and on the web).

Steven Heinemann (Canada)

"I'm interested in the character of contained space, and see the interiors of these vessels [bowls and open vessel forms] as a kind of terrain over which one can roam. It's also protected space in which your attention is concentrated, perhaps held for a time. So the bowls reflect my renewed interest in a more intimate framework, the power of which lies precisely in its limitation, its familiarity, its universality." (this quote is taken from The Ceramic Surface by Matthias Ostermann (2002))

David Roberts (UK)

"For me the vessel represents a touchstone, a constant, a point of reference and an expression of timelessness in a world of flux and accelerating change." (from his page here)

"Circularity and roundness are potent symbols of resolution in a world of complexity and fragmentation"(quote taken from the book Naked Clay - ceramics without glaze by Jane Perryman (2004))
Elspeth Owen (UK)

"The pots, I think, emerge more from my memories of holding and of being held than from any study of art or nature." (from her website here)

I really love that last quote. Wish I'd thought of that one myself.