College – Term 5 – Final Ceramics Piece

This piece from last term won’t be exhibited at my end of course show next week, so now it’s been fired and assembled, I thought I’d share it with you here šŸ™‚

The brief was to create a ‘Cornell style box’ (i.e. an assemblage) based on my chosen collection, which, for last term, was beads. The base and top were scaled up from a metal filigree bead, with the top flowers being formed from a mould made using lucite beads. The hanging flowers were sliced from a clay extrusion using my own custom laser-cut perspex die and then individually hand carved and pierced. The clay used was earthstone which goes cream/white when fired, and I decided to keep it unglazed.


The filigree section was formed by sticking down D-shaped extrusions to form the pattern, using slip, and then I used a fine potter’s knife to cut out the enclosed sections. This obviously took the most time! Just as the box was finished, I managed to drop it – a gut-wrenching moment, but happily not much got damaged and the clay was still soft enough to work out the kinks. After that, I was a lot more careful!

College Term 4 – Ceramics – Weeks 1 & 2

So far this term in ceramics, we’ve been learning techniques – week 1 included shellac and masking tape resist, piercing and carving. The tiles were fired and then I was asked to embellish the pierced tile – I’ve used beads, head pins and a bit of superglue. The result has been variously described as St Basil’s Cathedral, Brighton Pavilion or the Taj Mahal! I’ve already thought of a way of adapting it to make a final major project, so keep watching the blog šŸ˜‰

Carved pattern – Masking Tape Resist – Pierced – Shellac Resist

Ceramics – Exhibition Piece

As regular readers will know by now, the last term’s work at college has been based on an artist of our choosing – mine is the Polish fantasy/surrealist Jacek Yerka. For our ceramics module this term we had to design and make a functional teapot based on our artist’s work.

This first image shows my three designs that reached maquette stage: I dubbed them ‘Time Flies’, ‘Town in a Teacup’ and ‘Brontosaurus Civitas’ – click on the links to see the original images on which they are based.

As you can see,Ā it was worth doing the test run, as the Brontosaurus exploded on firing as I’d not leftĀ a big enough hole leading toĀ the pot void… All would make functional tea pots, with the ring pot being the most striking, but trickiest to make. I decided to go for the quickest to make, and my original idea, as time was limited to get the pot finished, fired and glazedĀ before exhibition night. Here’s the final pot – a little on the large size to be practical, but fully functional. The town isĀ a close fitting lid, and decorated with various oxides. The main pot isĀ internally glazed and decorated withĀ slips and part glazed to give the impression ofĀ the monster being in water with cliffs leadingĀ up to the town. I think I prefer working small, as I’m far happier with the town than the pot!

Martha Stewart Craft Paints on Ceramic/Glass

I had an ‘interesting’ day yesterday at the fantastic Coleman’s Craft Warehouse Big Demo Day. I was billed to do a make and take with the Martha Stewart Craft Paints on Ceramics, but there was an unexpected influx of young children which resulted in me being asked to lead a children’s party next week! (I declined!)

That said, I’d done plenty of preparation for the make and take and here are pics of my samples. The plates are technique samplers and the text is written with a porcelain marker. All of the samples were baked, and are dishwasher safe – I actually tested this claim before I agreed to promote the paints, and I can absolutely say it does what it says it will do! The paints are more adherent than most acrylics I’ve used, and though water based, the box says not to mix with water – I presume this messes about with the resin technology that makes them multi-surface. You can thin the colour with the glaze product that is in the same range of products, which is how I managed to get the wood grain effect on one of the mugs using a brush. I would recommend applying the paint with a sponge onto non-porous surfaces and you can use a heat gun to make a layer workable, although it is not as stable as if left for an hour or so to dry between coats. The frosted glass effect paint is also applied with a sponge and is one of the most user-friendly frostings I’ve ever come across.

The paint itself is a creamy consistency, dabs on well and has good opacity. It comes in four varieties – a Satin Finish which seems more matte to me, a pearlescent – which is striking, a glitter – which is more of a coloured glitter translucent glaze, and a high gloss. The colour range available is comprehensive and there are various special effect bottles that I haven’t had the opportunity to play with.

I’m particularly impressed with the range of accompanying accessories, including the fine applicator tip that attaches to the bottle (see the high gloss black outlining) and the sponge dabber tips that do the same. Ms Stewart has also included an empty bottle in the pack which is for rinsing out the caps when done with clean water. Clean up is easy – as long as you do it while the paint is still damp. The paint by its nature sticks firmly and to any surface. I found that the stencils retained paint even after cleaning quickly after use, but any dried paint didn’t shift with subsequent applications.

To be honest, I’d probably use other acrylics for painting porous surfaces, but I’d certainly recommend these craft paints for any non-porous surface.

Unique Giveaway #3 – four days to go

Just a little reminder to those that haven’t entered yet, I’m giving away this mug and fancy saucer set hand-decorated with my own tangle designs. Entry is by commenting anywhere on my blog between now and midnight GMT on my birthday, Friday 10th February. I’ll draw the winner on Saturday 11th February and announce it here on my blog. Good luck! [If you’ve already entered, you’re welcome to make more comments, but you’ll only be entered into the draw once.]

Unique Giveaway #3

Well I’ve finally done it, and created my third unique giveaway. This one is in honour of 50,000 blog views, and I’ve just passed 55,000! It is a one of a kind, never to be reproduced, ceramic mug and fancy saucer with my own tangle patterns hand drawn onto it. It is dishwasher safe, and the mug is a perfect size for a double espresso (but not a decent mug of tea!). I’ve signed and dated both pieces – you never know, they might be worth something in a few years time šŸ˜‰

All you have to do to have a chance to win this unique giveaway is to leave a comment anywhere on my blog between now and midnight on Friday 10th February. I’ll draw the winner on Saturday 11th February. Best of luck šŸ™‚

Please note:Ā I don’t like spam, and I wouldn’t want any of you to be getting loads of emails you don’t want. So, please, don’t put your email address into the main text of your comment where everyone will be able to see it! (Unless that’s what you want…) If you have signed in properly, I can see your email address in the private admin area of the blog. If you’ve already added your email to a comment, you’ll note I have edited them away.