Thursday, 27 October 2011

Clay Mojo & Epi De Faitage

I've been finding it a real struggle lately. Daily stresses and demands of my illustration work, not feeling the urge to make anything once i finally get the kids in bed at night (also the restrictive working window that leaves me). Then i have the decision between actually making something interesting that i like, or just surrendering that precious time to practice throwing and ending up with nothing much... except more frustration! I know it's a pain barrier i have to go through if i want to end up making what i ultimately want. Being able to throw good pots is a very important part of that. Jakki had some good advice yesterday, she suggested using some of my actual working day, in between jobs or whenever, to put aside for using the wheel. A time when I'm not exhausted and can actually focus, move things on rather than grabbing an hour or two here and there. I think this is good advice, i need to do it if this pottery is going to move forward.
Anyway, my pottery mojo... i started coiling a pot last night and it felt good to actually start making something. I didn't have a strong idea of what it would be, until it started rising. It is now going to get a function, a lamp base (i know, not very exciting... well, it is to me). I've wanted to make my own for a while and this will be my first. Now i need to find some nice words on enlightenment/illumination to put on it... I'm guessing a face will feature heavily somewhere!
I also have a slightly more ambitious pot in mind, using coil, slab and possibly pinched elements. It's inspiration comes from those magnificent French roof finials, or 'epi de faitage'. These will feature in my own work eventually... and this is why i need to throw well... and soon (I'm very impatient.. but also very determined!) I have lots of ideas involving stacking individually thrown pieces, some slip trailed, some sgraffito, some combed etc etc. I'm a very long way from having the skills i will need to pull that off though. Still dreaming is part of what it's all about. Aim high, no point planning on being mediocre!!
Anyway, it's good to feel a bit of a surge and hopefully it will translate to my early attempts at throwing...i need to take the wheel head of and have a look first. I'm not liking the noises that weren't there before! Below the video are a few examples of the epi de faitage that i like, the simple figures, but if you want to see some of the epic stacked kind, i suggest you look further at Tony Mauger's site and look at the 'catalogue et tarifs'. It's interesting to see the various pieces broken down into separate costs, then you can mix and match to your budget. All very interesting. I'm not mad about his actual forms and the coloured glazes he uses, but i am fascinated by the process, the history, the objects themselves... and the future potential of it all. Watch the video, I know it's in French, but all you need are your eyes!.. if you can understand it, then it's a bonus! If you get bored, skip to 8 mins in, where you can see a guy installing one on a roof.


  1. I don't know how anyone gets anything done after having children! It is a bit of an ongoing struggle!! You can do it!

  2. Keep going, take whatever time you can eek out.

  3. Hey Scott, Keep at it. I love that you have all this determination and ideas. I had never heard of the roof finials. Wow! They are totally amazing.
    It's really hard to get any thing done when your tired and at the end of your regular work day. Setting aside some fresh time sounds like a good plan.

  4. I remember having so many things I wanted to make and not being able to throw well enough. So I started figuring out what I could make them with coils and slabs and now I hardly ever throw anything. My skills at throwing are good enough, but I really love the process of slab work. Why not get up early in the morning, have a nice cup of coffee and make a few pieces in the quiet of the early morning. I find that I am more focused in the mornings and while I work quietly I can think about other things I want to work on later in the day. I love the finials, and so much of that can be made without even owning a wheel! I think this would be a great direction for you, seems to suit your personality very well!!! GO FOR IT!

  5. You cannot beat a good epi. I'll commission one off you Scott...