March 27, 2013 § 3 Comments

 

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If anyone would like an invitation to the British Craft Trade Fair, 7th – 9th April, please let me know and I will send you an e-version to print out and take with you. I’ll be at stand no. 362.

It’s a brilliant trade event showcasing over 500 makers from all disciplines – ‘BCTF is the perfect home and giftware trade fair for sourcing the very best in British design, and we pride ourselves in giving our trade visitors a huge selection of the most desirable product available in the market place today.’ It’s easy to get to and the parking is free. Come and have a nosey, if you want to.

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25.03.13

March 25, 2013 § 12 Comments

So, these are the first few pots to be glazed with my new colours.  I was a little trepidatious about opening the kiln this afternoon but, overall, I think I’m pleased with the way they have come out. They need a couple of tweaks – the black was slightly too thick when I applied it and the green slightly too thin – but I definitely have something to work with. I should have taken a photograph of all the colours together because they work really well as an ensemble, they complement each other beautifully, which was one of the key elements when I decided to develop the new colours.

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The two colours that I am most excited about are the black and the white, the white especially. The inside of each of the different coloured bowls are like little colour explosions, as you can see below with the blue one…

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And what I like about the white one is that it is full of beautiful warm tones, very subtle, but clear at the same time – peaches, pinks, purples. It is a similar experience to looking into someone’s face. At first glance, it all appears to be a general pink but the more you look the more colours appear, until you realise that every millimetre is actually a different colour.

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It is hard to see all the different colours in the photograph below because it was taken in the last light of the day but you may be able to get an idea.

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I wasn’t sure about the green because it wasn’t quite what I expected, so I took it off the table to leave the white, blue and black. Then I put it back and the range became grounded. The blue and the white, and the black somehow, were sky bound, colours of the sky; the addition of the green gave a sense of the earth, of what is under our feet, of growth and life.

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But what I was really excited about was this…

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A clothing shop in London is wanting to stock some of my pots. They have wanted to commission a colour or style that would be exclusive to them and asked if I could produce a pot with a colour variation on the rim. I’m really pleased with this test and think it has potential. It has a traditional, timeless quality to it that I find attractive.

It has been good experimenting with new colours and I am really pleased that I made the decision to do it. I feel that now I have a strong foundation upon which to approach the rest of the year.

23.03.13

March 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

This is a post for Pete, from Pete’s Pots, who asked if I could post some pictures of the workshop.

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Just before I took these pictures this morning I loaded the kiln up for a glaze firing – the first full kiln load with my new colours. I have a little bit of kiln anxiety but I’m looking forward to seeing how the pots come out. More on Monday…

18.03.13

March 18, 2013 § 1 Comment

As I wrote in the recent post about mugs, my cousin, who lives in China, asked if I would make a series of pots for him as a birthday gift for his sister, one of which was a water jug. I am really pleased that he asked for it has lead to some unexpected results, the first of which being the pulled handles for my mugs rather than the ‘cut’ ones I was going to use. I love the process of pulling handles and enjoy the vitality of the results. The other unexpected consequence is that to throw the water jugs I am using about twice as much clay as I have thrown with before (1200g or just under 3lbs), which has lead me to think more generally about pot size. On the back of that I have increased the size of two of my pots, the little milk jug and the beaker. I have not increased them by much but enough to make them more practical on an everyday level.

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This was my second attempt at creating a jug. It’s approximately 17 cms high. The handle is out of proportion and the balance isn’t great. I also kept coming back to some drawings in my note book.

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Last Friday, I put a handle on this jug.

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It is about 20 cms high. I don’t yet know how it feels as it hasn’t been fired yet, but I like how it looks, so we are getting somewhere. Thank you to my cousin for challenging me to make a water jug; I am grateful on many fronts.

If you are in the area tomorrow, don’t forget the opening of the workshops here in Shipley, West Yorkshire. The Lord Mayor will be performing his official opening duties at 5pm but I’ll be in my workshop from 12pm until 8pm. I hope to see you then…

16.03.13

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Thanks to Jacqueline Sharp for taking the above picture. For promotional purposes, I’ve been needing a photo of me in my workshop for a while now, so Jacqueline and I spent half an hour on Tuesday setting this up.

And just as a reminder, the official opening of the workshop complex where I am based is to be held this coming Tuesday, 19th March. If you want to come you would be most welcome. I will be at my workshop from 12pm ’til 8pm and the Mayor of Bradford will do all the official stuff at 5pm. Light refreshments will be available. Hope to see you there…

 

11.03.13

March 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

I have been spending some time refining the shape of the handle of the mugs I have been making. It is important to get it right now, as I want to have them ready for the British Craft Trade Fair, which starts on Sunday 7th April. The first handle I tried was one achieved using a bent wire tool to cut the handle out of a rolled out slab of clay. This was fine except that I was asked to make a water jug (more to follow!) by my cousin for which I tried to pull a handle and for consistency’s sake, therefore, I felt that the handle of the mugs should be pulled, too.

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Here’s the first cut-handled mug

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And here the first with a pulled handle

The size of the mug itself is quite a bit bigger in the second mug and, I think, functions better as a result. The handle looks OK but I felt that it was too big, stuck out too much away from the mug. If I looked down upon the mug and measured the top of the handle from the lip of the mug to the edge of the curve before it comes back in again, it measured 5cm. There was too much negative space within the handle form and two fingers kind of got lost in there. The measurement across the top part of the handle that felt right, that gave the fingers a nice snug feel without being cramped, was 4cm.

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So, my third attempt was the right hand mug of the two above – the left being the 5cm version, used for comparison. I’m really pleased with how it looks. I think there is a good proportion between the mug and the handle.

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Here is an image of the handles attached at the lip, waiting for the join to be secure before attaching the handle to the bottom of the mug. I used a method  I saw on youtube demonstrated by Hsinchuen Lin. It is an informative and clear video, and if you are interested in learning how to pull handles it’s worth watching. Having attached the top of the handle to the mug, he waits for 5 minutes or so to let the handle and mug bond – it’s a useful tip.

Here’s the join at the top…

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And the bottom…

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And a group shot…

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I’ve been drinking tea out of the small cut-handled mugs that I made, which I then used to test the new glaze colours on. I like all the new colours but the one I’ve been most taken with is the black one – actually, it’s a lovely deep, very nearly black, chocolate brown. I look forward to glazing these mugs and sitting quietly with the kettle on and the teapot ready.

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