Clay at the gardens today

One thing I did do yesterday was make a couple of pieces clay that might be used as part of a tiled piece at the BCB (British Ceramic Biennial in September at Spode in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent. They will be fired up and someone else may end up glazing them.

I made lots of marks using old buttons and metal rings. I tried to give them a three dimensional look. I hope they won’t explode on the kiln.

It’s good finding different things to do when you are having a day out.

Terracotta pot

Decorated terracotta pot from outside. Our money plant got too big so it’s in this enormous, heavy pot now.

I’m glad in a way. I love the flower decorations that are on the outside. If the pot was outside in the cold and frost they might crack and split if ice got into it.

I need to see patterns, if I don’t, if everything is plain, I get bored! I don’t know why. Some people like clean lines, simple colours, bare walls.. I don’t.

Turn over club

The back stamp on the bottom of pottery can identify where it was made, it’s country of origin, and sometimes indicate what it’s worth, although sometimes people fake the marks to try and con people thinking a cheap teacup or vase is worth more, sometimes a lot more, than it actually is.

This happens in pottery manufacture across the globe. A Ming dynasty vase might have been made last week, a Delpht plate might have been made somewhere in Britain..

The thing is an inanimate lump of clay can be transformed into something delicately shaped and beautifully glazed or enamelled. People want to know it they are looking at a Clarice Cliff or a Susie Cooper. That’s part of the reason they look. But also if you live in a pottery manufacturing town you want to tell the difference between them. And the turn over can be enlightening!

Tea set

Bone China tea set my friend is getting rid of. I’m going to try and find someone who wants it. I think another friend will have it.

Bone China was manufactured by potters who wanted to find a substitute for porcelain that came from China. It took several years to find a formula that produced thin, strong, translucent pots. It contained clay from the China clay quarries in Cornwall, calcined bone and flint (heated and ground to break them down into a fine powder). The bone gives off phosphorus which adds to the strength of the bone china. You end up with a material half way between pottery and glass. This fine white china was then beautifully decorated with hand painted flowers, fruit and landscapes.

I’m sure there is far more to say on this subject. But that’s enough for now.

Just doodling

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What to do when you are watching TV and you want to draw? Wait for the ad break and draw something quickly.

I’m watching something called the Great Pottery Throw down where twelve potters compete each week to make the best ceramics. This week the challenge is to make a six piece coffee set with a caffitierre, two expresso cups and saucers and a toast rack. Really enjoying watching people design, make and fire pots. Watching clay dry and drawing… Fun!

9 for 2019

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9 of my favourite images from 2019.

From top left to bottom right…

Dramatic mirrored image of a North Wales beach.

Lion I painted for the local lions charity.

Mural in a downstairs cloakroom. I can still climb!

Easter Island clay head I made at Etruria Artists.

My art stall at a craft fair.

The stray cat that we are looking after who needs rehoming.

Falcon works, two images of the pottery I painted last autumn.

Holding my green man painting and with my vase painting during my exhibition at Spode.

Finally, painting of a window with peeling paint, taken from a photo I took at Spode.

Flat back pottery

The British Ceramic Biennial has some hands on workshops that are free and open to the public. Last week I made a flat back pot using a mold of a boat with Donald Trumps head in profile and a pair of boots walking in the other direction. There is also a lion with a union jack, a monkey, and other figures and plants. There are other pots shown above. Each of them has been designed by an artist, so they are possibly controversial, maybe a bit tongue in cheek.

Today I painted glaze on my pot that had been fired. I didn’t remember to take a photo of it, but I have taken photos of some of the larger pieces now they have finally been fired.

I’m glad I had a go, it’s definitely worth a visit.

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Papier-mache pot

In the play we are doing this weekend my partner has to pretend to throw a pot on a wheel. We don’t want anything big, heavy or breakable, so I’m Papier-macheing a black plastic flowerpot. I had to buy some pva glue but only wanted just enough, not a great big tub or a tiny bottle. So instead of the adult craft section I found a bottle of clear pva in the children’s section at a craft shop.

Got home and started ripping up newspaper. This is many layers later, I’ve added a few layers about two thirds up to give it a slight bulge. When it’s dry I will paint it white as a base coat then a pale brown “clay” colour with shading to make it look hand thrown. I’m hoping it will look reasonably realistic.

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