November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Bradford Peace and Craft Fair and the Shipley Alternative were both well organised events and a lot of fun to take part in. There is a really vibrant arts scene, especially craft, in this part of West Yorkshire, which is a supportive environment in which to be making work. Several of those craftspeople, making beautiful work, have the ideas of Slow craft as central to their practice. The Slow movement is a natural place for the crafts to reside but it has been totally at odds with mainstream culture over the last few decades. The idea of Slow has re-emerged into popular consciousness since the Slow food movement was founded in the 1980s and subsequently spread across the world.
Localism, sustainability, community, small-scale, reflection, responsibility, time: these are the pillars of the Slow movement and they are socio-politically potent. As the tenets of globalism and capitalism are increasingly being questioned, Slow becomes all the more pertinent.
In today’s culture, we tend to be overawed with choice, which is promoted as the ideal. More choice, more competition, more satisfied consumers. In time, I want to develop my pottery so that the clay I use is dug as locally as I can find it and I would like the glaze materials that I use to be sourced from this country. I would then be a local potter using local materials selling to a local market.
I have just started to read ‘In praise of Slow‘ by Carl Honoré.
November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thank you to all who left a comment on the post ‘31.10.11’ for the beaker giveaway. As promised, I put the names into a proverbial hat yesterday, gave it a good shake and pulled one out.
And the name that came out of the hat was Jill Lee-Jones, which means that the beaker will be travelling all the way over to the beautiful state of California, USA. (Jill, please email me directly with your postal address and I will put it in the post, so that it arrives before Christmas. My email address is on the ‘About’ page.)
Thank you again for reading and supporting this blog, it really is very much appreciated.
November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of my projects for the winter is to learn a bit more about glazes. I have just dipped my toe into the exciting but fearsomely complicated area of glaze -making and I am intrigued by the alchemy of it all. I am intrigued by how you can make up relatively similar glazes and yet the results can be wildly different depending on the proportions of the raw materials, the clay body that’s used and the environment of the kiln (oxidation or reduction).
What makes a shiny glaze? or a satin one? or a matt one? This is the first thing I need to discover as I am trying to find a shiny glaze to glaze my bowls with (much more pleasant to use than a matt glaze – no scraping/scratching of spoons) and haven’t succeeded yet. The shiny glazes I have made have crackled terribly, which is not so good for domestic ware. This crackling has happened with quite a few of the tests. The books say ‘mix the glaze to the appropriate consistency’ but then don’t go on to describe that consistency (although I know that for the most part it is supposed to be that of single cream).
This glaze has crackled because (I think) it was applied to thickly. When I added more water it became much more matt and lost its greenness, except for around the edges.
I have done some test tiles…
and will do more of that over the winter weeks.
The books I have been using are Daniel Rhodes’ ‘Clay and glazes for the potter’; Cooper and Royles’ ‘Glazes for the studio potter’; and Emmanuel Cooper’s ‘The potter’s book of glaze recipes’. A book that has just come out (15th November, so in a couple of days) that I would like to add is Linda Bloomfield’s ‘Colour in Glazes’.
I am looking forward to my experiments and seeing what discoveries will be made.