I’ve been book hoarding again… First a few books on clay modelling
Then books on Lustre (very interesting), Ceramic Jewellery (a bit hit and miss but a few interesting thoughts), Harry Frasers Electric Kiln book (much of which goes over my head, it will take a second and third read to grasp some of its contents), and finally a book on paper clay, which is interesting to know but don’t see any immediate application.
I would like to say that’s the end to my book binge, but there are several more books en route as I write. More book porn will grace these pages, so stay tuned.
What ceramics/ pottery book have you found most useful and why?
I am a cerebral type and learn a lot from books. I just got two new books in the post ::squee!!:: . The first is an old one by David Green called Understanding Pottery Glazes. It is a book i’ve wanted to get for a while and has both the practical and the sciency bits of glaze formulation. Though an older book, it is often the older books that have the most technically specific information. I am fascinated by glazes, their composition, their alteration, colourants, and all of the techie stuff so I already love this book.
The other book, Ceramic and Print by Paul Scott is a book on all kinds of transfers to clay from imprinting, inlays etc to ceramic transfers. Though I’ve used ceramic transfers before as onglaze for a branded job lot, the information on home printing and other techniques is interesting and a definite area for more learning. So this will be my reading indulgence over the next week!
What are you reading? How do books feed into your ceramic practice?
I was recently asked to help out at Camphill Duffcarrig in their pottery. Camphill are a registered charity in the Republic of Ireland that create homes and meaningful work for people with intellectual disabilities. I have been supporting their work now for 12 years, on and off. I was making glazes, throwing cups (and a few bowls), doing firings and others bits and bobs.
One of the bits was a very successful experiment making ceramic pieces for jewelry. This started with an idea for broach pins using a Celtic bisque stamp I had, and I also adapted them for necklaces. These are great kiln fillers, and often fit between tableware in otherwise ‘dead’ kiln space so from a productivity and economic perspective I am also very happy with the result. The recessed area became the perfect surface for the pooling of a coloured transparent glaze, giving crisp detail and a contrast in colour between the recessed and raised areas. I fired about 50 and got to see them glazed and I am happy with the result.
I will be making some of these later this year for my own store (coming soon) and another design featuring the triple spiral. They will be available in blue, and in the 3 realms glaze (blue, green and brown, reflecting sky, sea and land respectively). I am thinking about making them into broaches, but maybe also necklaces. A few smaller designs, also reflecting Celtic motifs, are being considered for earrings and cufflinks so keep an eye out here for developments…
Below are some other pots from my time in Duffcarrig…
I’m in the process of buying tools and building up bits and bobs. A lot of tools like the scrafitto tools, throwing ribs and more can be got online through ebay directly from China (where many of them are presumably made).
I have also been looking around me for various sources of texture, ways of impressing clay. I have been looking more closely at the leaves that grow locally and at the veined impressions they will leave. When you begin to look at the world as texture you wake up to many things around you in a completely new way.
Something else that creates imprints in clay recently arrived from India. I ordered a series of woodblocks, often used for printing on fabrics, to impress in clay. This is a bit of
an experiment but I have been told they make good impressions in clay. I hope to use some of them for sprigging, though some are much larger than I initially thought they would be, but its all part of the learning curve.
Recent developments have seen the possibility of some making space over the summer in a few different places so you may see some movement here… keep an eye out for updates as exciting things are happening.
Another turning point,
A forks stuck in the road,
Time grabs you by the wrist,
Directs you where to go…
Hi, my name is Brian and I LOVE making pots. It is a passion and an all engulfing obsession, and I’m quite good at it, having made pots over the last decade. I know a lot about throwing, glazing, handbuilding and all the things it takes to make a pottery.
Over the last decade I have worked in various potteries, many of which were social/ inclusive potteries. This year (2016) I also began to take stock of my lifestyle at a time when my mother was critically ill, and then I became seriously ill later in the year and I felt it was time to put my priorities straight and stop putting off something which is really important to me.
This is what brought me to this point of trying to put together a pottery, slowly but surely, so I can do what I love. So I am taking stock of all my work, and my trials and tribulations . while I put together my equipment (the saving begins), and a body of work and designs, working towards producing and opening. This is, of course, a million miles away at the moment but you are welcome to join me and look at some of my existing work in the gallery .
Welcome to the adventure!