Glazed and Confused

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So, the excitement has faded from the Foxy victory…

Being slightly worried by the fact that my fellow ceramicists had spent their time wisely and made more than one thing, I decided I should get my act together and make something quickly at home, so it could be taken to class and fired without taking another two lessons to get it all in shape.

It’s a water-dragon-thingy. There’s no excuse for it, and once this post has gone up we will talk of it no more. The expression ‘reared it’s ugly head’ was coined for this beast.

Put your sunglasses on; You’re gonna need them.

dragonheadAllAngles

Swim for your lives!

Lessons learned? Oh yes, plenty!

The red speckled glaze should have had more coats to give a thicker, stronger colour and no bare bits; Never model a butter dish around a real, live packet of butter, as (why did this not occur to me?) you will never be able to fit real, unwrapped butter inside the dish; You should also glaze the inside of anything that will be in contact with food….or that you will be looking at. ‘Nuf said.

There are to be so many elements to plan and consider in order to make one successful piece that perhaps just ‘getting on with it’ was a tad too optimistic. Good fun trying though.

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Ahead of the Pack

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Fired and being painted with glaze

You know that feeling you get when you leave your mobile at home by mistake? That unpleasant feeling of apprehension that you can only forget for a few minutes at a time? The out-on-your-own feeling that is only relieved when the two of you are reunited? That is how I felt when Foxy went off to be fired. Not only that but I also had the uneasy, queasy feeling that he would explode in the kiln and be returned to me as fragments…maybe even dust! Thankfully, my fears were unfounded and Foxy lived. I should have known…look at that expression…now there’s a fox in control of his own destiny if ever I saw one!

The next step was choosing a glaze. The look I was aiming for was a modern day Hornsea finish (see Inspirations), so I had thought that a golden brown would be good, with the eyes in a contrasting colour. The one I chose was a ready-made brush on glaze by Potterycrafts called Burnt Sugar. His eyes were glazed with Terracolour’s Turkish Green. Altogether a handsome combination. He looks a little bit medieval rather than ’70s chic, but it’s the journey…right??!

So there it is…my first attempt at ceramics!

 

My Handsome Fella

Smile for the Camera, Foxy!

You’d think it would be easy to stop there, wouldn’t you? But the clay seems to have addictive qualities. I have a really long list of all the amazing things I could, should, and simply-have-to make. I have grown critical of mass produced, detail-devoid, un-functional objects. The sketch book received at the start of the course is already full! I have anti-Cath-Kidson project ideas, anthropomorphic animal ideas (you can blame the sculptor Mark Chatterley and his cat for tha long word), and all manner of improbable looking creatures. This is going to be fun!

Hello Foxy

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Looking HandsomeHere he is at last!  It took a while to get the hang of making a head though; At least three attempts, several cups of tea and a glass of Tia Maria with lots of ice. The Tia Maria must have done the trick and got my brain ticking. It was a Wednesday night, the day before my lesson (I am a last minute elf!), so I had to keep working and wait for that Eureka moment to happen.

My teacher, Eva Keyes, had given me lots of advice on shaping the head, and had also kept telling me to use newspaper to support the body as it grew, but the penny didn’t drop straight away. It took a couple of false starts before I found myself a small plastic bottle, wrapped it with clingfilm, and moulded the main shape of the head. I couldn’t model the nose very easily so I found a highlighter pen with a sloped end to the lid and used this to shape his muzzle.

There had to be a little cutting away and some more clay to support the head when it was attached to the body I’d already made but, luckily for me, it fitted. All I had to do next was put some texture on to match the body. This was the bit I really enjoyed. You know that point when the clay is ‘just right’ and you can mark it cleanly? Absolute bliss!

Sitting Pretty

I was so please with this fellow until I realised………….he needs legs!

So there was my next mission.

Can You Tell What It Is Yet?

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First attempt.

This was my first attempt at modelling a… erm…unique, stylish and elegant something-or-other. If you can tell me what it is I’d be very grateful!

It was much more difficult that I ever thought it would be. The clay was soft and elastic, so my original plan to make an ornament about 5 inches tall kind of grew out of control. It also became lumpy and fairly unattractive (The idea and the clay!). However, with cunning purpose I started to add texture (a bit early, I know, as he didn’t have a head!) and regained some dignity. And then it was home time. Now there’s a thing… I hadn’t thought about this bit very carefully… it’s impossible to carry a headless-wet-clay-something-or-other home to be worked on. So home I went to model a head, without any measurements or handy neck to fit it to!

Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Don’t worry, what he turned into will be revealed shortly.

Why Am I Here?

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That’s a good question.

About a month ago I started going to a ceramics class. My motivation? Well, I read alot of interior design magazines (Okay….so I look at the pictures!) and I adore the big characterful vases and ornaments that you see in them. They look so simple in line and form that I mistakenly believed that it would be incredibly easy to create something unique, stylish and elegant to take pride of place in my somewhat untidy dwelling.

This blog is my kind-of diary of the adventure I’ve embarked on. There’ll be photos. Oh dear; Have I just committed myself to that? Hmmm. I might rant and ramble on a bit if it gets tough but it’s most likely that I’ll be laughing too hard to be miserable about it. Hopefully I might make other people smile too. Life is supposed to be fun, isn’t it… hello?… anyone???…

As you can probably tell by the colour scheme and the waffliness, I am a double-newbie. I’m new to blogging as well as pottery and sculpture so I will be adding to the blog as I get organised. I’m off to my lesson on Thursday, but I will be posting before then and adding some photos so you can tell I’m definitely, definitely here. I have plans and lots of enthusiasm. Will that help?

See you soon!

Elfie