Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ceramic Voyages - Beth Cavener Stichter

For me Beth Cavener Stichter is a total revelation. The technique she uses is mindboggling and her pieces are technically exquisite. You just have to say WOW. This is made of clay? Nah... really? No way.

Husk, detail, 2009

Her pieces seems technically too noble for a clay. That kind of detail, that kind of elegance and expression deserve bronze or marble. But then you read up a bit on what she actually tries to say through her work and it kind of make sense.

Humiliation by Design, 2009

Beth Cavener Stichter's sculptures represent human emotions and consequences of our choices. I love that she uses animals as a subjects. There is something primal about it. Innocent, even though the subject itself can be quite sinister.

A Rush of Blood to the Head, 2009

And the cherry on the top... her sculptures are clever. Not in your face clever, but quietly and dignifiedly.

Olympia, 2006

It is really well worth it to visit Beth Cavener Stichter's website. You will also find there a slide show picturing technique she uses to create her sculptures.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Inspired - Formafantasma

Aren't these delicious? There is something homely about them. Maybe it's their crispy rustic shapes, or maybe warm crusty browns, or wholesome homely feeling? Or maybe, just maybe, they are made out of dough? Think baking, think bread.

These pieces were created by FormaFantasma, duo of Italian designers based in Netherlands. It was a part of “Baked” collection - a commission for an exhibition presented during Dutch Design Week, on the theme “Getting Lost”. "Baked" is inspired by a Sicilian folk event in Salemi, where a flour based material is used to create architectural decorations. But for me what is even more amazing than the idea of making 'ceramics' out of a bread dough is a use of ceramics moulds to create the objects! How fab is that!

More of FormaFantasma works is available here

Ceramic Voyages - Karin Eriksson

I am totally smitten with Karin Eriksson works. Lovely delicate lines, fabulous use of colour. My favourite is grass pattern... so delicate, so elegant.

'Stem' vases

"Signe" small grass beaker in porcelain.

More Karin's work is available here

Monday, 29 June 2009

My ceramic pieces - 2 bowls

I have tried to make a similar bowl to the plate made by A Plate A Week .
I love the simplicity of it, although I must say that I am not happy with my results, so this bowl is a test piece. I have resprayed it hoping for clearer lines. If this will work, I think i will make a series of bowls like this, with bananas, apples, kiwi, etc. Another bowl turned to test piece. One of these days I will make something that I am happy with. The decorating technique worked this time, but I am not happy with the texture. It is way to "rough" and prominent in the areas where stems were thick and strong. Not too keen on it, although S seems to like it. I have resprayed it with four different semitranslucent glazes, to see what effect may be achieved. I will definitely redo this bowl, as the effect is brilliant.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

My ceramic pieces - learning to turn

I've been trying my hand in turning. I've been even trying my both hands in turning. ( i know it's a lame joke, I've just could not stop myself). May I just say... I hate centring. I hate it and despise it and then hate it some more. But the rest is fun! I do not have pictures from my first session. The pictures below are from last two sessions. I am quite chuffed with myself, after three sessions I can turn by myself. I know these are not perfect. I know I have loads to learn, but still... well done silly old me!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

My ceramic pieces - mish mash

Surprise, surprise... I am not happy. This is not pink I have wanted, and the shading is nonexistent. On the other hand, a shape works a charm for brollies!

My lovely rhubarb forcer. The contrast between a glaze and terracotta works well. I wanted the glaze to run more, so I have sprayed extra layer of clear, but it did not work really. I need another two of those!

First attempt at nachos bowl. The olive glaze looks quite flat here, but in fact it stands out quite well. I need to work on smoother connection of two bowls. Also after speaking with Argillae, I will start to sand my work before if will go for first firing. This should eventually allow me for smooth and even edges.

And last but not least! This is what I am working on at the moment - beside learning how to turn (!) I wanted to make series of vases with wide oval base and tall necks. I have used bowls moulds, but the shapes did not work at all. So, I could either be left with 4 bowls, or totally change my concept. So here it is. It is a work in progress, so bare with me :D

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

My ceramic pieces - plate disaster - part 2

I give up. This mould obviously will not work. No chance in hell. It went pancake again, even though this time I made it from crank and made sure a layer is really thick. OK, I admit that my "thick" is often not thick enough, but still... a pancake?! To top that the oxides went brown... and why did they went brown?... because I have used matt instead of gloss. I am the only one in a studio that uses matt, so only my dandelion test showed that oxide with matt just do not work. So here it is, brown tacky colour instead of strong greens and blues. Great! Oh joy of ceramics!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

My ceramic pieces - Umbrella stand, take 2

I had decided that my first umbrella stand was too wide and too small, so I have to make a new one. I am quite happy with it, although next time I would spend more time smoothing a crank (memo to me; wet rubber kidney works like a charm!). I have managed to smooth most of the bumps and make it quite symmetrical - and trust me, this is a huge achievement for me; for some reason me and symmetry do not go together. The tool I used to shave off extra clay, I think is usually used by builders. It looks and works as grater. I absolutely love it, the only minus is it leaves a surface quite ... rustic for better word. Nice texture really, just not what I was looking for in this project. I was hoping a spraying with white slip would help the matters, but improvement wasn't great.

So far I did not really decorate my pieces, going for more of the shape, than a colour, but now I wanted something pink. After a bit more investigation into mixing glazes - oh blessed naivety! - I had to forfeit. I will definitely want to learn more about glazing and mixing glazes, but definitely not on raspberry pink. The amount of elements that had to be prepared from scratch is just frightening. And I haven't even asked if it was a reduction or oxidation, what temperatures should apply.

Luckily my test piece turned out almost as I wanted, so I've compromised. I have used chrome oxide on white slip and then sprayed it with white gloss glaze - I have to admit, I do not remember its proper name (memo to me - ask Stephen!). I would much rather go for the matt option, but matt does not work out... or rather turns everything to brown. The thickness of the chrome mixture has no true impact on an intensity of colour.

So here it is, looking great... so far. On a second test piece I made, I have noticed, that a white gloss, needs to be quite thick or chrome will turn brownish colour. I am going to cry, if it gets ruined!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Chicken coup with a lime twist

Call me bonkers, but after a last episode of 'It's Not Easy Being Green', I am contemplating having my own chickens... in a city. I know, ever so slightly mad. I haven't even mentioned anything to C or J and there of course is a matter of aesthetics; wouldn't like a chicken coup that would take half of mine already not so big garden. So until tonight the whole idea was rather ephemeral, but then came Eglu:

and I must say, the idea of keeping chicken in my back garden suddenly became insy wincy less bonkers. One can get Eglu from Omlet for £353 or with two chickens for £388

In search of pink raspberry glaze

I am a total novice when it comes to glazes. I use what is in a studio, but tend to go for whites most often. This time however, I am in desperate need for pink. I want it to be nice and warm, kind of raspberry or raspberry and cream.

Of course there is no pink glaze in a studio. None, there is no nice red either for that matter. I am saying of course, because I noticed lately, that with me and my projects somehow things never go nice and easy.

Anyway, so I am on a mission to find pink glaze and so far I have found:

Pink Glaze Base #4
WHITING............. 37.70 18.85%
FERRO FRIT 3134..... 55.80 27.90%
KAOLIN.............. 35.50 17.75%
SILICA.............. 50.70 25.35%
CORNWALL STONE...... 20.30 10.15%

CaO 0.84* 18.29%
MgO 0.00* 0.02%
K2O 0.01* 0.49%
Na2O 0.15* 3.63%
Fe2O3 0.00* 0.03%
TiO2 0.00 0.01%
B2O3 0.26 7.18%
Al2O3 0.24 9.70%
SiO2 2.59 60.65%

Cost/kg 0.81
Si:Al 10.61
SiB:Al 11.69
Expan 7.23

35 Nepheline Syenite
15 Whiting
9 Ferro Frit 3134
10 Kentucky OM#4 Ball Clay
19 Silica
10 Tin Oxide
2 Bentonite
Total 100

ADD: Chrome oxide 0.15%

A: Jeannie Purple
B: Clay Times Jan/Feb. 05, based on John Hesselberth
and Ron Roy Tin/Chrome Raspberry
B: similar oxides to Rosenrot Red 1, Rosenrot Red 4,
Chrome Tin Base Raspberry Blue, Chrome Tin Base
B: similar oxides to Chrome Tin Base and Goodrich
C: 6
D: cool maximum rate to 800C hold 1 hour
E: 30 silica
E: 20 calcium carbonate
E: 18 nepheline syenite
E: 18 ball clay,OM-4
E: 14 frit,Ferro 3134
E: 3.75 tin dioxide
E: 0.60 cobalt carbonate
E: 0.20 chrome oxide
F: gloss
H: Alisa Clausen: gloss dark blue purple

A: Lewing Raspberry
B: Paul Lewing
C: 6
E: 27 feldspar,Custer
E: 9 kaolin,EPK
E: 21 calcium carbonate
E: 18 silica
E: 9 frit,Ferro 3134
E: 8 talc
E: 8 borate,Gerstley
F: gloss
H: Alisa Clausen: Clear, stable, shiny gloss. No
noticeable differences where double dipped. Some
crystals where especially thick under rim. Nice.
Same recipe tested with 8 Colemanite for
Gerstley Borate, no discernable difference, except
colemanite version had a very small bluish pool
in test bowl center. I think this sub. works.

A: Chrome Tin Base Raspberry
B: Clay Times Jan/Feb. 2005
B: similar oxides to Goodrich Cranberry, Jeannie
Purple, Rosenrot Red 4 and Rosenrot Red 1
C: 6
E: 100 Chrome Tin Base
E: 7.5 tin dioxide
E: 0.6 cobalt carbonate
E: 0.2 chrome oxide
F: gloss

A: Chrome Tin Base Raspberry Blue
B: similar oxides to Jeannie Purple
C: 6
E: 100 Chrome Tin Base
E: 1 cobalt carbonate
E: 0.25 iron oxide,red
F: gloss
H: Alisa Clausen: gloss blue with many variations
on a smooth lush covering with streaking and
movement. Thickened at bottom edge
but did not run.

Spinach Potage

My family loves this soup. Last time I've made it, a wee one had 5 mugs of it. Five! No idea where she puts it though :D The soup itself is very easy to do and quick.
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • slash of oil
  • 1 litre of water
  • 2 veg stock cubes
  • 1 ts lime jiuce
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 250g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup milk
  1. In a saucepan heat up an oli and then add onions and garlic. Saute them for 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add potatoes and saute for further 5 minutes
  2. Add water, vegeterian stock cubes and lime juice. Cover, bring to boil and simmer 10 to15 minutes or until potatoes are ready. (You can speed up this process by adding already boiling water.)
  3. Add spinach and milk, bring it to boil and cook for further 2 minutes.
  4. Blend a soup until creamy and serve.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Ceramic Voyages - Teco

Teco Art Pottery was created by William D. Gates, the founder of The Terra Cotta Tile Works and tntroduced to the public at the begining of the last century. Butifuly architectual and fabulously practical epitomises the principals of the Arts and Crafts Movement;
"Have nohing in your house which you do not know to be usefull, or believe to be beautiful".

I love old pieces and a new ones. Strong, fresh, very expresive, with an emphasis on shape more than on a colour or decoration.



More examples of Teco Pottery wonderfull shapes >> here

Monday, 19 January 2009

Wall decorations - plates

Lamps & old lace

I think I am getting old... I more and more like laces... but aren't those fab? :D
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