Wednesday 30 October 2013

Seeing In The Dark

I've just dug up the biggest carrot I've ever grown in my garden! No weird tails or embarressing suggestive shapes. A minor blemish or two - that's organic for you!
Looking forward to making a curry using that.
The thread of this installment is seeing in the dark or through the mirk at least! Carrots are well known for their properties in that direction.
Recently I've been enjoying listening to Grayson Perry's Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4. He has a way of shining light on the Art World which illuminates some of the mysteries that pervade the common perceptions about Art.!/
Well worth a listen and a bit of pondering.
I've been busy preparing my vessels for the Nov 5th Bonfire, plus helping my students and friends to get theirs ready for the ordeal by fire. Looking forward to seeing the results, but slightly worried that folk will be underwhelmed by the effects - so perhaps I need to polish up my arts bollocks ready to justify the outcomes?! My major offerings are cooling down in my old electric kiln, having been taken to just over 900C to turn them ceramic, but not too high that the burnishing and fine slip coatings break down.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Remember, Remember the 5th of November!

I am running a project to use the Upwey Village Nov 5th Bonfire to enhance some pottery. I have been encouraging my evening class students and villagers to make some smooth pots that can be submitted to the flames, thus picking up some unusual colourings.
My own entries have been turned and burnished and are drying out ahead of being coated with fine slip and polished some more. They will then be electric fired to 950C and then packed in metal containers, surrounded with sawdust and an assortment of combustables and colourants and then buried in the bonfire.

Laurence and I threw a couple of large urns this afternoon, both of us helping to keep them concentric and under control. We were very impressed with our vessels. Tomorrow we will continue throwing them, just to thin them out a little (and hopefully not distort them too much).
Laurence may be allowed to put on some lug handles to give a bit more interest.
These will go in the next wood firing.
The exercise (both the physical effort and the strategic approach) was very satisfying - making pots is usually a sole occupation and so it is interesting to work closely alongside another potter and see how they do things.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Going North

I've been visiting Somerset Art Weeks today, with a couple of the Artwey "Old Hands". A very enjoyable day out exploring other folk's creative activities and some wonderful locations.
"Celebrating" creativity - as the poster says and so does Dorset Art Weeks'.
I've had a busy few weeks, starting my pottery classes up again, sorting out autumn workshops
and doing more Ancient Wessex events.
I'm off to the Cranborne Chae Woodfair this weekend - being ancient again, maybe even dressing the part!
I recently enjoyed making some replicas of Iron Age Black Burnished ware bowls and jars, getting quicker and more confident than last time (which is a few years ago). Hopefully they will survive firing and smoking. I had a very useful chat to a charcoal burner last weekend, about how traditional earth clamps are made - he still does them a couple of times a year, so I am aiming to use what he explained to do one myself with some BBW pots snuggled in with the timber, thus making charcoal and blackening the pots at the same time. Watch this space!