Seaweed pinch pot

Seaweed pinch pot

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

full vessels, embossed textures and pigeons

rounded wheel thrown forms (on which I'm experimenting with embossed textures around the foot) and a fat pigeon that emerged when playing with some raku clay as 'homework' for my Form and Surface class
I've recently started taking a short course at Slow Clay (in Collingwood) with Shane Kent. The focus is on handbuilding and surface treatments. It's been invigorating! Getting off the wheel and really exploring the possibilities of hand building techniques is one great thing about the class, but most of all I'm loving having the input of a knowledgable and insightful teacher. I didn't know just how much I was missing this by working autonomously at home until I started the course. It amazes me how quickly a skilled teacher with a well-attuned eye for the medium can hone-in on what's needed to bring a work to a higher level. In the first week Shane responded to the first little pinched vessel I made in class with a comment about the importance of working on the interior spaces of vessels until a feeling of fullness is achieved. I've had this focus in my mind with every vessel I've made since. It's so incredibly helpful!

Another thing that's been really helpful in hindsight was the few days away in the bush with my family last school hols. I thought quite a lot about my clay practice while away and it helped me to remember the qualities of vessels that I love. There was a marked change in my cup-type forms when I got back on the wheel.
embossed patterns from an improvised 'relief plate'
The time spent in the bush also got me re-inspired about textures and the tactile potential of vessel surfaces, so I've been having fun exploring that a bit more.  I'd already been dabbling with subtle impressions around the bases of cups (leaving these areas unglazed). Extending this idea I recently tried making a sort of basic relief plate using cardboard and PVA and when I rolled the sides/bases of some small pots over this it left a very organic seaweedy embossed pattern which I'm really enjoying. I had actually been aiming for regular striations like on a mushroom cup but this result was cooler!

experiments with glaze resist
Another area of recent experimentation is glaze resist. I'm on a quest to find a good resist medium for mixing with iron oxide. This is related to my interest in texture as I love the textural contrast of glazed/unglazed that resist can give.

All this experimentation is awaiting firing, so no results to share here yet. But I do have a few carved pinch pots to share with you. The designs are based on fern species found in Tasmania and Victoria.
comb fern and coral fern pots

fork fern pot detail (with coral fern pot in the background)


  1. The fern pots are exquisite, like ancient fossils but with an almost folk embroidery quality about them. I just found out that our kids share the same primary school and we are both friends of Nicola! Go figure!

    1. ha! funny! I'm glad you figured that out because I actually thought I recognised you at school from the photo on your lovely blog, but I wasn't sure and I felt like it would be a bit weird to approach you saying 'hey, do you blog?'. In retrospect I should of! Thanks for your lovely comments. See you at school then!