Friday, 24 August 2012

Claude Bell and John Ehn

Following on from those great Blackgang figures, i thought i'd do a little post on Claude Bell. Claude created the cabazon dinosaurs, just outside Palm springs in California. Along with these he was responsible for figures at Knotts Berry Farm and Calico Ghost Town. Claude had also created a lone figure of a trapper for Old Trapper's Lodge, before the owner, John Ehn, decided he could make them himself! read about it here. These now all reside at Pierce College, California (which i've posted about them before). Enjoy!

Claude and Dinny the dinosaur
Dinny under construction
I love this one!

John Ehn with a couple of his own gals!
His office...I need an office like this!!
Claude Bell's original Trapper (based on John) for Old Trapper's Lodge, with John Ehn's own figures alongside.

The Trapper now in his place behind Pierce College

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Glaze Firing, The Inquest Begins!

Well, hmmm, this is tricky, i'm putting these up, but feel a tad embarrassed to do so. I like to keep all my faults hidden, especially with all you potters looking on! When i finally dared to open the kiln i was filled with a mix of deflated spirit and some kind of satisfaction. The kiln had finally fired a glaze firing, the pots had survived a journey, nothing stuck to anything etc etc. they were.... "ok"... but they weren't right. For a start i had expected the body colour to be darker... not so orange.. i have orange pots! Matt had fired one of my pots for me a while back and i had some expectation of colour. Why did it do that? this is where my lack of clay knowledge becomes (embarrassingly) obvious. Was it John Cleese who said "every Englishman's wish is to make it to the grave without embarrassing himself"? I'm a true Englishman. The glaze colour may be ok if it was over a darker tone, anyway i think I want a slightly more golden glaze, so will add a bit of iron. The main problem was the glaze pinging off !! Ha ha( i can laugh now... just). Shivering, is it? Anway it was only apparent at first on a couple of rims, but then about 3 hours later as i sat working on a new piece i heard the terrible ping, ping. I threw a cover over the pots to stop any stray shards! It was mainly the handle on that owl cup, which was a shame as that one initially seemed the best. There, one unsuccessful glaze firing. I'm not sure if just lowering my bisc temp (to what Matt and Doug had told me!) will resolve that issue? I'm sure it will help. I felt pressured slightly to increase the bisc temp from local advice. Sorry att, your student let you down and won't be doing that again!!). I bisqued to 06 and glazed at 03. I'll try my 07 bar for the next bisc. What about the colour the body fired to, how does that change? Should i glaze higher?... can i glaze higher with this lead glaze? Now i wish i had a bit more education!! Like i said it's embarrassing, but hopefully a relatively small hurdle. I felt a bit overwhelmed and... stuck, but then we took the boys out to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park( highly recommend it) on Sunday and it helped me get perspective. It was just a very small kiln load of not many pots, no biggy in the actual real World!! Now it's out here in the open, advice welcome but go easy... don't embarrass me! ; )

The kiln load, a mix of small stuff mostly early pieces

Shame about the glaze on that handle. i would have used this little fella.
This bottomless cylinder is now holding pens and pencils in the studio. A permanent reminder of my failings!!
only showing mild signs of losing bits of glaze on the rims
I really liked this fella, but now he has a tiny flake off the top. The top had a big old orange blush on it, which is wrong, but i kinda liked it. Tell me why though.
just a couple of flat pieces of scrap, but these seemed fine, no issues with the glaze. Maybe i just make these... for ever!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Beatrice Wood

Thought I'd just put this clip up on here. I've not seen Beatrice in action before... and, well, she's just great! What a funny, charming woman she was. I shall put together a post soon reflecting on my first glaze firing. it was a bit of a flop, but it was nearly right. I need to figure out what to do next to best figure out and rectify the problems... without mucking up too many more pots. the glaze wanted to behave for me, but i think i must have given it too many obstacles! I know how Sisyphus felt! nearly got there though.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Glaze Firing #1!!

Yes, my very first glaze firing is packed and on.... blimey. It's taken me some time getting to this point and I'm praying it goes ok. It's a bit of a gamble with this weird extra dial on my kiln sitter. We think we've set it all right. It's certainly making the right sounds in there. Have to wait and see... lots of waiting! I really hope it goes smoothly, then I will have all stages of production resolved and can crack on with the pots i want to make!  Fingers crossed, can i be so lucky and escape all the potential things that could have gone wrong??... time to stop thinking and just wait. Again I've picked one of the hottest days to fire my kiln! Phew......

Monday, 13 August 2012

Glaze And Other Stuff

Thought I'd throw a quick post up about where I am at... all over the place!! ... I really need to get some routine to my life... which is impossible at the moment, during the kid's summer holidays. Anyway, the good news is I've finally got what i needed for my glaze and done all the weighing, mixing and sieving. I then bit the bullet and glazed my first batch of bisqued pots at the weekend... bit stressful! I'm not very good at thinking on my feet when it's all going on. Afterwards, with a clear head, i can always see the better way of doing things!! I think it went ok though. Well, i shall find out when I finally do a glaze firing... hopefully this week. fingers crossed for that.
We also took a short break to the Isle Of Wight... which we may have enjoyed more than the boys!... what's wrong with kids these days???... spoilt, I would suggest. Don't get me started on the modern day curse of doing everything to entertain and treat our kids all the time! What's with that? Some weird modern guilt thing... I'm not a fan (you'll never win. Give them five and they'll want six. take them somewhere and they'll want to know where next as you're on the way home. Buy them a toy and it'll be the wrong one the next day... if they haven't already broken THAT one!) Some dad i am! rant over. I love em, but boy they can be ungrateful.. ha.
I've also been guilty of watching quite a bit of the Olympics, good to see our guys do so good. Always enjoy the boxing and cycling!
anyway, now i need to get back on track... don't I Jack? Ha, will get that all moving again this week. 'Jack' knows what I'm talking about! I'll let you in on it when i can, just some illustrations I've been working on for a while now. I think that's about it though, all swirling around up there. Time to get out of this tail spin!
here are just a few pics from Blackgang Chine, on the Isle of Wight... typical English summer's day! I love these old amusement park figures, a real step back in time. Wish I had a few for our garden... really!