This year, partly for environmental reasons, but also mainly because of my reduced salary while on maternity leave, I am trying to do a mostly homemade Christmas (with a few small exceptions).
In order to do a good homemade Christmas you need to plan ahead and not leave it to the last minute – there’s never any time in December! But also I’ve got more time on my hands than I used to at the moment so with that in mind I have been busy making all sorts of things!
You may have noticed my blog has become utterly dominated with adoption stuff, because, you know, becoming a mum is the single biggest thing to ever happen to me. It’s fairly monotonous and dull, which is not unlike my life at the moment – very little else going on in my life so there’s less to write about.
However in my boredom I have been missing my pottery classes and so have set about doing some more knitting and sewing and crafting in the evenings to keep myself busy and less bored.
So to break up the monotony of talking about adoption and being a mum here are some of my recent crafty projects instead!
Well there’s more news on the job front, but before I get to all that misery, I’ve been busy making MUGs, mugs, glorious mugs!
Practising handles and also learning slowly how to get the dimensions right – I can’t easily gauge how much something will shrink by (I know it’s about 15-20% shrinkage in the kiln but almost impossible to see what that will look like!).
One of my first mugs – very pleased, and it looks a little small but almost mug-sized – but then it shrank…
Yes, it’s time for a few more of my pots and things I’ve been busy making! Some finished bowls and things, turned and on the drying shelf ready to be bisque-fired (the first firing) This is a large platter I … Continue reading →
Well, I started my first pottery classes in January 2017, and at my class last Monday I reflected how far I have come.
Here’s my very first efforts from last January/February:
Even though it has been a year, I still make fairly wobbly things, and so each week when you come into the class, the first thing you tend to do is search the shelves for your pieces to see if they have been bisque-fired or glaze-fired etc.
There are some people who are BRILLIANT and make perfect things, and so usually I’m searching through all the perfect things looking for the slightly wibbly ones which are likely to be mine.
So last Monday, I was searching through the shelves, lifting up all these perfectly-round bowls to see if my wobbly ones were underneath. I searched and searched, and at some point, I lifted up a really good bowl, and was shocked to realise my stamp was on it!
I was so surprised to realise that my bowls are actually pretty damn circular!
Very chuffed indeed, and I may just have to keep some of these for myself…. just hoping the glazes come out looking alright!
A few more of my pots – starting to get better! I went and did a whole Saturday class, and it was FAB! Lots of practice throwing on the wheel and I think my pots are slowly getting more symmetrical! … Continue reading →
Here are a few more pots that I made Love this splatter one – it’s got deliberate notches that I cut for chopsticks (as it was a present for my sister) but sadly the bowl came out much smaller than … Continue reading →
After getting really REALLY into my new hobby (and while wondering how I would fill my days in the summer with no pottery to look forward to), I have been watching The Great Pottery Throwdown on the BBC, and getting lots of ideas and techniques.
I then found a place in Wiltshire that offered Raku firings so I booked myself in for an afternoon of Raku!
Raku is a Japanese form of glazing pottery that involves an outdoor kiln, where you bring the pots very rapidly up to about 1000 degrees, then remove them and immerse them in a combustible (usually sawdust or similar) which starves the pot of oxygen while it is oxidising and producing a lot of carbon, (a process called “reduction”).
Then the pots are removed and immersed in water, and scrubbed to get some very unusual glazing effects. The most common ones are the metallic colours from the oxides you paint on while glazing (Raku glazes are oxide-heavy to get this shiny metallic effect), and something called Crackle glaze, which is usually white, and which cracks in a rather beautiful way due to the sudden changes from hot to cold.The bits you leave without any glaze on will turn matt black in the Raku process, so you can use tape to make interesting designs as well. Continue reading →
I have finally achieved something I have been trying to do for years. Ever since I moved to Oxford I have been keen to find a local pottery class I could take, as I adored pottery as a child, and have been keen to take it up again ever since. All my years living overseas made that hard to do, and even when I was based in Oxford it was hard to find a class I could easily access on a weeknight, without a car etc. However I finally found one and I’m LOVING it!
Here are my first attempts at making some pinch pots and finger pots – very crap, but useful for practicing with glazes and slips etc.