Friday, 16 January 2015

2015 - Surprisingly Different!

Happy New Year to all of you!

2015 is already shaping up to be busy.  The last month has been very interesting from a home point of view as my husband has started work in Paris, therefore I will likely be joining him closer to the summer!

However, I am vey much in the here and now, and looking forward to several projects before June.

First of all, I would like to thank Trend Magazine in Aberdeen for their amazing article in the winter issue, not only was it well written but I have had so much positive feedback from people I both know - and don't know!

On the 28th January, I will be starting a very exciting collaborative community project with my friend and general amazing artist Gabrielle Reith-Thompson of Small Stories fame.
We have been commissioned by the folks at Smart Consultants to take part in Look Again - A visual Art and Design Festival in April.  There is more info to come but those who know the Robert the Bruce statue outside Marischal College will certainly Look Again when we are finished with it!

In March, I will be taking part in the Arts Across Learning Festival with Aberdeen City Council, this festival aims to improve learning and develop creativity through access to high quality arts and cultural activity across the city.

As for moving to Paris..... It is rather a thought to potentially wrap up my kiln for a couple of years but being able to spend quality time gathering ideas and soaking up the atmosphere would be unmissable.  I guess I will cultivate my sketchbooks for a few years instead of clay!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Working 9-5

Well, its the easter break and after a good....15 years of working odd hours, starting at the last minute and pulling all-nighters, I've decided to do an experiment...

It sounds really easy and ridiculous but I am doing 2 full weeks of 8-4 or 9-5 there or there abouts to see exactly what my potential output would be if I was to work full time in my studio...

I must say its a bit strange for me but I am already getting used to coming in for tea and Pointless at the end of a day in the studio... and realising exactly how many teabreaks I was taking in the past.

I suppose that in Art School, you were used to working 'when the inspiration came' and getting in later in the full knowledge that you could work till 11pm if you needed to (as I frequently did)
Its not exactly the best way to run a business and working part time makes me soft - its too easy to say 'ill lie in today - its the holidays'

So, in 2 days I've probably equalled my output for most of 2013! I am starting with the easy stuff - raku plates and trinket dishes, while the rotten porcelain and paperclay are slaking down.
Tomorrow I am carving bats and getting on with a new range of porcelain vessels, before the big haul - figures!

I am planning to have 1 admin day a week where I will actually have time to fill in dreaded applications and update my website without the guilt of thinking; 'I should be in the studio'

So heres my making pics:

My Commute to work.....
I also got a coupe of wee test of clay from the lovely folks at Scotclays - their clay choice looks great, im looking forward to their Earthenware offerings - the raku clay I tried was their version of the Ashraf Hanna Earthstone clay...
Trinket Plates

Trinket Plates

Trinket Plates

Raku Clay - I am NOT used to working with heavily grogged clay!

A curious - yet poopy visitor

Not happy that I wasn't paying him any attention

Theres no mystery in my making process; just knowing how to push the clay when its needed and when to know to hold back.
I am happy to say that I will not be making trinket plates for a wee while now!

Kindrogan 2014

On the weekend of March 14th-16th I headed down into Perthshire for the annual Scottish Potters Association away weekend.
throughout the weekend there are specialist demonstrations, competitions, exhibitions and opportunities to meet and chat to fellow potters/ ceramicists.
The last time I was at Kindrogan was 7 years ago! As i had recently re-joined the SPA, i thought a little inspiration was in order!

The three main demonstrators were: Lisa Hammond, A potter from London and the lady responsible for the amazing Adopt A Potter scheme,  Simon Griffiths, an amazing animal sculptor from Northumbria and Christine Hester Smith a ceramic sculptor, known for her illustrative work from Dumfries and Galloway.

I saw many new and old faces and was reminded of how warm and friendly everyone from the Scottish pottery and ceramics scene is.

I will admit that I spent most of my time with Christine and her Big Blue extruder! Christines work has focussed hugely on extruded forms which are manipulated and illustrated.

Christine and her Big Blue extruder - rigged up on a specially built platform

Christine and her husband
Christine had a HUGE amount of dies for the extruder and her making process was fascinating.  She proceeded to throw and handbuild components - whichever way was easier to envisage her final pieces:

dies and bits for Big Blue
Christine has a large expansion box attached to her electric pugmill at home for the wider platters and she brought several prototypes with her to work on.

extrusions, components

heads, feet and bodies


one of the pieces ready for decoration...
Christine made a large amount of pieces and it was easy to see how prolific she could be in her own studio!
one of the first extrusions - boats!

A candlestick for a gannet!

the finished boat!

components and platters

Penguin candlestick!
After a ceilidh and a few G&T's on Saturday evening, we were up nice and early for the Sunday demonstrations:
Again, I was spending most of my time with Christine and she was focussing on the slip decoration of her pieces.  She admits that the most enjoyable part of the making process is the illustration of her pieces.  Slip was used for this demo but Christine uses multiple applications at her studio and combines glazes, oxides and spray slip/ glaze decoration to give a depth of colour to her illustrations.
Everyone was really impressed with her very fine slip trailers and she was very generous in giving us a wee shottie!
the slip was naturally free flowing...

ooh - a foxy

whats this???

the slip trailers were much squeezed!

only the start of the decoration
Finally, Christine demonstrated the illustration of her large platters - it was great to see the free flowing lines of the drawing.  The final decoration would be glaze inlay and it really was astonishing how much effort is put into one piece!

Happy Penguins.....
Finally, Christine kindly agreed to finish a piece so it could be fired for our raffle next year, so she made a wee party penguin and slip decorated him for us!

Drying in the sun....
It really was a great weekend and thoroughly motivating!

Huge thanks to Michelle Young-Hares for some ECA nostalgia and Sylwia KolasiƄska for being my buddy!