Raku firing and Kintsugi

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

Casa del Maya – the amazing transformation of my loft!

As many of you know, one of the biggest pieces of life admin I have been involved with lately has been my loft conversion.

After about 18 months of hard work getting all the paperwork in order and getting all the permissions from the council and the housing association and the bank, I finally got the money and it’s all started!

I thought I would document the process as I go along too…. Continue reading

A day at the zoo

Last weekend my sister and her family came to stay, and we went to check out the Cotswold Wildlife Park – our nearby zoo, and it was BRILLIANT!

I love zoos, and getting to see lots of amazing animals, although I increasingly worry about the cruelty of animals being trapped in small cages and things. However this zoo was FANTASTIC! Tons of amazing animals and the cages and paddocks were cleverly designed so it seemed like they weren’t in cages at all.

Here we are, pretty excited about the zoo in the morning…

And still pretty excited when we were in the car on our way!

Continue reading

Quotes

Aside

As part of my book challenge this year, the first book I happened to read was Rebecca, and in it I discovered a quote that I really love!

Then while staying at my mum’s recently I got a chance to do some block-printing, and so I printed it out, letter by letter.

The actual print was huge, but I’m planning to print out a nice photo of it and frame it for my casa somewhere.

I (heart) Pottery

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.

img_3141 Continue reading