Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Creative Kids

.... and is that such a good thing???
Yep, this is what i came downstairs to last week. Tennessee really went to town with the green, it was thick behind his ears and on his head, at least Texas was a bit more restrained. It came off eventually... though I'm sure there's still some tinges of green!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Art in Clay

... I nearly forgot. I made the trip to Art in Clay, Farnham, last Sunday. I managed to have a chat with fellow blogger Margaret Brampton and it's always great to see pots in the flesh rather than photo's on computer screens (and potters in the flesh, though wearing more than just a fine glaze). Margaret had a fine selection of pots, great sgraffito and Margaret was very generous with her working ways, which we beginners always appreciate! I came away with a great mug, "thanks Margaret". It was also so nice to hear that she had taught herself, figuring it out as she went along. To begin with, i thought i might be making a slightly mad leap into clay, but reassuringly I've discovered several who just got the clay bug later on and got on with it. I guess Mary Wondrausch is about as good an example as you can get for a late starter potter!!

I learnt something else on Sunday... don't take 5 and 3 year old boys to ceramic shows!! I can't say it was the most relaxing way to spend a Sunday... "ARMS AND ELBOWS IN!!".... "IMAGINE THERE'S AN INVISIBLE LINE.. WAY BACK HERE!!".... "JESUS!!'..."DADDY CAN'T AFFORD IT IF YOU BREAK IT!"... "IF YOU BREAK IT, AT LEAST MAKE SURE IT'S SOMETHING I LIKE!!'.... sorry for shouting, you get the drift. Tense. Jakki did take the pressure off and took them to the cafe, but that only lasts so long.
Still, glad i went though. Any time spent with potters is a good way to learn.. and save myself a few extra heartaches along the way.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Illustration/Pottery, balancing act

I'm not making anything in clay this week, just getting on with my illustration work.
It's a really nice set of book covers, but as usual can't really tell you anything about them. I'm working through the first cover and once i get that right, it will set the tone for the others... well, hopefully! Look forward to sharing them with you, eventually.
I still need to sgraffito that pig/money box, but my time is being spent reorganising my workspace, so i can get the kiln and new wheel in and also give me a space for more shelves. I've pulled all the stuff out and somehow managed to fill the room! it's funny how you squirrel stuff away and drift up the walls!! Anyway, I've now got to make it all disappear around the walls again... but in a different order.

I always like to have a picture in my post, so here are a couple of things from Hastings (Old Town) Museum. I always love to see this big pot. The leather bottles are inspiring me to try some in clay. I think the small one, will be perfect for a slab of clay. I'm going to give inlaid slip a try to, just a little drawing on each side of the 'bottle'. We'll have to see how they turn out.... but first i need to sort that workspace out!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Clay Connections- a look inside my mind

Somewhere amongst this fantastic combination is where I hope to 'find' myself. Looking forward to the trip!

Remembering to throw in a face jug, of course!.... this one will do just fine, a beautifully simple Burlon Craig creation.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Slipware Lamp Base- Part Two

Here it is all slipped and scratched. The erratic bold stabs that I'd wanted, ended up much more controlled and uniform than I'd envisaged, but i guess you can't make yourself do something you're not!
Now, how long is it going to take me to fire them?? Going to have to deal with glaze next, the next part of my learning curve! Matt's helped me out with that thankfully, i just need to buy some supplies and mix it up.

I also slipped my tall, top hatted money box man last night... he was a slumped heap this morning!! weirdly, I'm pretty cool about it. I learnt a lot constructing him and making decisions along the way. I do need to figure out why though ( I'm guessing it was not dry enough when i slipped it?) the key is to not keep making the same mistake! Anyway, it's time to focus on the kiln now, sorting glaze and then firing it. Might make a few mugs along the way. Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

My Morning Jacket-Live at De La Warr

Following on from Tracey's post about the fantastic Tinariwen gig she went to at the weekend, I went to my own fantastic gig last week. My Morning Jacket played at the De La Warr Pavilion, just down the road in Bexhill. It was a great gig and they are an amazing live band. Jim James has such an amazing voice! love it!! Here's a sample, you need to give the first one at least 4 minutes of your time... and I'm sorry it cuts off abruptly at the end, but it was the best live clip i could find. I do love a good long track, i'm not a 3 minute pop song guy, over 10 minutes and I'm happy. On The Beach- Neil Young, Listen To The Lion- Van Morrison, Love From Room 109 At The Islander(ON Pacific Coast Highway)- Tim Buckley, all some of my favourite tracks. If you don't know them it's time to go and find out! Life's better with them.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My Pottery God

What was i saying just the other day about the madness of making pottery without the 'kiln bit' being sorted?.... well look what i picked up yesterday for FREE!!! I don't know if it works yet, but I've been given no reason to believe it won't. A friend was doing some work for someone and they had a small kiln and a sit-down kick wheel and they were about a week from taking them to the tip!.. what kind of madness is that??? I picked the wheel up today too, so I'll clean it up and see how it runs. They had been given them about 4 years ago, but never got around to using them.
I'm so excited to have a kiln of my own. It's only small, but it should be fine for me at the moment as I'm not making large quantities. It gives me the chance to learn about firing (and make mistakes without losing lots of work!!) . Perfect. Now to swot up a bit and ask a favour, so i can be assisted initially, without making any obvious mistakes. Hooray, a happy day!!!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Slipware Money Boxes- Man and Pig

Here are a couple of poor quality phone pics of the two pots on the go. The coin slots are in the top of the hats (if you couldn't guess) and the man has a cork sized hole at the bottom of his back. The pig will be slipped white and the band on his hat cleaned up with some lettering on it. I had fun building this man. In the end he was just slab and pinched, no coil, no thrown ( I'd love to have been able to throw the bits!) I'm now thinking how best to slip this sucker, both in terms of design and practicality! I might just dip his head and scratch back to the clay hat, leaving a band, leave his body raw and then blob some slip on his hands and buttons. Think i may also slip around the base, so i can write something. I was going to write it on his back, but i don't fancy the practicalities of a beginner slipping the whole thing!!... and don't ask if it will fit in a small kiln (that i don't even have!)... what kind of madness is this?... what am i doing?????...( i only bought some clay for the first time ever in April) I just figure make it and the rest will come!!.... you proper potters out there must be rolling your eyes... "...and he hasn't even got a kiln!!"... tut tut. ;-)..... i hope you like them.

English Country Pottery... Bargain!

Found this last week in a charity shop... what are the odds?? not even a couple of quid.
It's a really good read for someone like me, who finds Slipware and Country Pottery so vibrant and alive. ...very real history. It's another ticked of the list of pottery books i'd like to own.

I'm in the middle of my pottery making at the minute, should have my lamp base all scratched out by Monday and a little piggy bank... and a full figure, epi de faitage inspired, top hatted money box (waiting to be slipped). there'll be lots to show next week hopefully. I've been crazy busy all week, working on some advertising work... the shame of which is that i can't go putting any info or pics on here, until they've been used/printed etc. By that time it's old news! The nice thing about the blogs are you get to see work as it's happening, but with most illustration, there will always be that delay until it has been put in use. Don't need to go upsetting any clients on here!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Visual Feasts

Just a quick couple of things to direct you to.

Firstly, my good friend and amazing collage illustrator/artist Martin O'Neill, has this beautifully crafted word search available for only £20, limited to 100 prints, a bargain... and a great Christmas present. Make sure to keep checking in on his blog too, so many interesting bits and amazing craft in action.
Secondly, I strongly advise anyone with a human heart beating inside of them to go and watch the film about Grayson Perry and his Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. I've not enjoyed a show more for a long time. Brilliant work, amazing custom motor bike, brilliant insights and a lot of fun. Just watch it.... all of it!
Every time i see Grayson on something, i warm to him more and more.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Never play with balloons..

... caught indecently in the park in the summer, playing balloons with my little boy, Tennessee. Someone had just pointed out the error of my arrangement!... i was just trying to keep them together, so we wouldn't lose them.
Don't expect to see many photos of this blogger on this blog!

Have a good weekend folks.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Slipware Lamp Base- part one

Not much to show for it yet. I slipped it yesterday and am looking forward to going at it once it's dry. I'm going quite bold on this one, i think. I plan to scrape away the face area and leave a white beard and hair, with white eyes. I'm not planning on intricate hair, just lots of quite bold little stabs of dashes. I want something that will really fizz when the light sits above it.

I'm thinking i might also illustrate the lampshade to fit on it. Just pick up a large charity shop shade and go to work on it with some pens, a bit like this little lamp shade below (which i still need to finish off). This little shade has a face jug on one side and a harvest jug on the other side and the paths and connections fill in between. I'll finish it off and put pictures up of both sides, you might recognise a few bloggers on it!