This post is to record the week long workshop I attended last week at the Australian National University ceramics department.
The first picture above here is part of the results from the workshop.
We were given leather hard clay tiles to experiment with textures pressed into, and scratched into the clay. These ones were mine. The whiter ones have been bisque fired, the middle one is still wet and not fired. They are made out of pb103 white stoneware clay.
The pic above is of our tutor for the week. He is a potter visiting from England. Peter Beard. In this picture he is demonstrating a form he makes from clay slabs, joined, scraped and shaped to make a nautilus shell shaped pot.
Here is my number 7 tile. I liked this one best of the glazed tiles I made. It is first poured with a glossy white stoneware glaze, then brushed lightly with a light manganese wash, see the curved brownish layered brushstroke underneath. Next layer is of 3 different colored earthenware glazes, brushed on. Next layer is black under glaze decoration. Firing temperature was 1280 degrees Celsius.
The pic above is of a tile I was playing with, developing textures. Unfired. The patterns were carved in with a turning tool, pressed in with the sharp end of different paintbrushes and tools, coil added, pressed, or stamped with a plaster cube that we carved into, poked from the other side with the end of a paintbrush and pierced with a needle around it. Fun to do.
It was really lovely to have that time especially allotted to the practice of playing with clay. I haven't really had that since I left Junee and had my own pottery shed, before I moved to Canberra.
By Thursday I was exhausted because I still had to go to my cleaning job when the workshop was finished. It would have been so much easier if the workshop was held next week when the Queanbeyan schools I clean had started their 3rd term school holidays, But... there you go. I wasn't going to miss out on this workshop so I went anyway. It was great fun.
I thought I might be out of my league doing the workshop at the uni, but I didn't feel that when I was there. I got to do a bit of hobnobbing too, because one of Australia's and possibly even the world's top potters was there and I got to spend time around him. Cool. Greg Daley runs the ceramics department at the uni and he also added a few things to our workshop, showing us all what he is doing with glazes at present. He is such a cool guy, and very personable. As was our tutor Peter. A couple of the other participants are ceramic teachers as well. I knew a few of the the other people there, now I know them a bit better.
The next 2 pics are of my slumped shapes before being joined. We cut out shapes, traced them on to strong fruit boxes, cut them out with a Stanley knife, then slumped soft clay over the hole we cut out. Gently pressing the clay downwards into the hole. Then we let them firm up (half dry, called leather hard) and joined the 2 sides together and finished refining them with a surform and scrapers, knives and sponging. I made 2 of the same shape. One decorated by impressing the clay the other form was kept plain and burnished. Burnishing is polishing the clay surface with a metal spoon or smooth rock. I used a stone for mine.
Below are my 2 gourd ladies, joined and front one burnished. Not dried properly yet, and as yet unfired.
Below is one of the tutor, Peter Beard's finished pots. Cool eh. Reminds me of a sea urchin.
Peter giving the demo of slumping clay onto a fruit box.
This (below) is an example of the some of the great effects resulting from layering different glazes and oxides on a tile, this one is not mine. It shows very well, the difference of a dry and glossy glaze. That white dry glaze on this tile contains barium carbonate which is very poisonous and it is a substance that I wouldn't use in my own shed when I lived in Junee. So it was interesting to have a play with it.
To give an idea of some effects that were on the tiles, which may be used on a larger pot, we placed these paper sheets with cut out pot shapes over sections of the tile.
The pic above is of the colored glazes we were given to play with on the tiles.
There were 3 colors,each of an alkaline and a non alkaline earthenware glaze.
The small blue cups contained cold wax solution. Glaze will not stick to a pot where the wax solution has been put so it leaves gap .this is called wax resist.
The cups with the black liquids contained thin solutions of manganese dioxide and copper oxide. Three base glazes of stoneware white glaze,(one dry alkaline, one non alkaline glossy, one dry) were also given to go under and over the glazes mentioned earlier here.
The piece above is another of Peter's. We saw a demonstration of how he made these forms then had a try to make similar for ourselves.
I made two, decided to trash one and the one that I kept is yet to be finished. We ran out of time, which is understandable with such a big group of people, there were 20,of us.
They are made by cutting a solid block of clay with wire to shape it, then cut in half. Left to harden up until leather hard and then carved out from the centre, rejoined and finished off by refining the shape with a surform tool and a knife or scraper. The piece in this pic is quite small, the clay part is probably only about 8 inches high without the stone base.
Above and below...more examples of tiles with the paper frames on them. The one below was on one of my tiles.
I want to make some pots this shape to decorate, and try out some of this stuff on them.
The pics below and above here are both example tiles, mine again. The one above is from the beachy tile.
Pic below is our tiles spread across the table being discussed and inspected.
Below, my beachy tile before the glaze firing.
My tile number three. Above, after firing, below, before firing.
The next tile is the one that is partially framed in the paper frame a few pics back. After the glaze firing. I do have trouble with getting the photos in the proper order. Sorry.
Above and below. Tile number 4 after and before firing. Firing melts the glaze coating which is chalky looking before it is fired. The black tree was painted in underglaze, the brown tree was painted in red iron oxide and wax resisted, before the green glaze was poured on top. Glazes are basically a mixture of crushed and ground rocks and earth minerals, put together in such a way to give desired effects and melt at set temperatures. Firing makes the glaze coat permanent as well as sealing and protecting the clay underneath and giving a smooth clean surface to serve and cook food on.
When the glaze kiln (gas) was opened. An after (above)and before (below) firing picture again.
Below is a pic of my tile number 1 before firing. The after firing pic is a few before this. I couldn't work out how to get them together.
Today the Watson Arts Centre where the Canberra potter's society is situated had it's annual open day. The new studios and artist's residence are now finished and was officially opened by the current minister for the arts, Joy Burch. On open day they have the member's exhibition, I didn't exhibit, but enjoyed having a look at all the other exhibits. We also have a soup lunch going where you buy a bowl and get it filed with soup and a bit of bread then take your bowl home with you. There are also demonstrations where you can participate. I did a demonstration of painting with slip and under-glazes. I have not done a demonstration there before so was a bit nervous, but I think I did ok. A couple of little girls stopped and had a try of my painting and quite a few of the other members filed past and stopped to talk and see what I was doing and were interested, it wasn't too threatening. But..... then when everything was finished I took all my stuff out to the car to take it home again and broke the platter I had been painting for the demnstration. Bugger! I was enjoying that and was looking forward to working on it tonight at home to finish it off. Oh well, it is only clay and can go back into the recycling bucket to be wet down and reused over again. I will have to do another one to paint won't I.
That is all this post.