My pottery creations on and off the wheel.

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Tai chi and bird feeders


I have had a good night tonight.  I feel all balanced after my tai chi class, where i sometimes remember the moves and sometimes know my left from my right, but not too sure if the bird feeders i made tonite will be balanced.  At least I am 🙂

Normally i would have made 3 points to hang up these birdfeeders but the shape of them didn’t suit it so these ones are a bit of an experiment, will have to see how to string them when they’re done, might have to wire them instead, or just re-design them.


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Too much for me and the chooks

Thankfully it is not cold but it is raining, good for the seedlings but not the greatest for me and the chooks!


The poor things have decided to gaurd the nest they made under the rose bush again, rain or not. I also gave away the rooster so the eggs won’t even be fertile, the silly chooks.

I had planned on today being “moving day” for them as i only have the gate left to put on their new home and run, i just didn’t want to get drenched myself. “One more night to go chooks”

And for me the muggy rain means a lot of moisture is still in the air, so the clay projects from the class are very slow at drying.  The water can’t evaporate into wet air, mid summer is another story with trying to slow it down.

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Super excited for tomorrow!

Am adding updates for students so that you can see the journey your creations go through, i hope you enjoy them 🙂

Tomorrow i will be doing a class for pottery, super excited.

This will be my first adult class with 6 artiststs who normally use different  mediums, just a little bit daunting 🙂

I am just hoping that i can translate some pottery joy and inspiration on the day!

Update: some pictures of the workshop i took today. I really enjoyed it and got such a buzz out of helping people get creative. We worked with texture, underglazes and even some handmade beads….

Update:  just a quick smooth of edges and holes with a wet sponge, to make sure there are no sharp edges, and the pieces are just starting to lose some of their moisture.  The drying needs to be a slow process especially with flat pieces to reduce the stress on the clay.

 Update: the pieces have now been shifted onto a wire rack (a.k.a my fire surround) to get some air circulating around the flat pieces.  As the water comes out of the underglaze colours they look quite different and brighten up again after the final firing.


Update: Saturday i put the pieces in the kiln for their first firing or bisque firing, there was still a bit of moisture in the clay, you can check this by holding it up to your cheek and if it feels cold it is not completely dry. So i did a very long and slow firing with an hour of candling at the beginning, this is where i fire the kiln with the lid open to let some of the moisture escape. This is where the chemical change happens in the clay that hardens it and changes colour. Sunday evening after cooling the kiln till it is just warm, i unpacked the kiln ready for the next step.


 Update: With the bisque done and a nice sunny day, Monday is glazing day.

Now it is Tuesday and i am waiting for the kiln to finish cooling to see the results before i bring them in in Thursday!

Had a tiny issue with a piece of number 8 wire masquerading as a piece of kanthal wire! Got creative though and now one bead, has an embedded loop ready for hanging.

Great results, will share after the students have seen and added their bits and bobs 🙂

Glazed pieces from the kiln

Unfortunately there is a little bit of colour difference in the clay and the heatwork from the top to the bottom of the kiln.

I love the painterly colouring and textures with the terracotta coming through that the ladies acheived!


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Inspiration by chook

Trying to make myself scarce for an hour this morning turned into a good thing.  It led to a play with the chooks which led to the scraps in a bag of clay, a quick sketch and this serious looking girl 🙂

DSC02909 (1)

Yesterday was hand building again, small Tui, Fantails and a nz gecko. I may turn a couple of the fantail pieces into chooks instead though, since I like this one, she looks a bit like the boss of the roost, just like 3 of my 4 chooks 🙂


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Are you a potter too, can you help?

Are you a potter? Can you help me work something out? Or let me know if I am on the right track?

I am starting with a terracotta that vitrifies at 1150C between cone 01 and cone 1, and a glaze I have tested before at cone 04 with colorant combinations I like so will use that, expecting some difference at higher temp. The glaze will go from cone 04 to cone 02.

With the test I did in previous post, I think the probe is reading a bit lower than the heat work the cones actually had. If I take it to cone 01  and it ends up with more heat work I could end up with a puddle of clay and will likely have a puddle of running glaze.

To be safe on both counts I have decided to go with cone 02, what I am questioning now though, is whether or not I should go closer to vitrifying with a higher firing glaze, and what the impact is of not doing so is?




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Woodfire with Duncan and Charade

Just amazing to be part of this wood firing, and in awe of the process and I thought my firings in my little electric kiln were labour intensive!

This was the culmination of work the pottery club did at Charade’s Candlestick workshop a while back using a white sculptural clay. It was a nice grogged clay to work with for hand building and just might use it again.


After the workshop I also made my “all about the heart” sculptures and small carved masks and mini Buddha heads out of the same clay.


Saturday was all about applying the glazes by brushing and dipping and slip was sprayed onto the pieces that have had their first bisque firing done. Some of them here waiting for loading.

glaze done

Then between us all, each with our little jobs from rolling balls of wadding, attaching balls to the bottom of each piece and passing down the line to be loaded into the kiln. Charade  waiting for the next pieces to load, camera shy but you get the idea.

charade loading kiln

The inside of the kiln is a work of art in itself with all the glaze, soda and ash (I think) from previous firings coating the bricks ! Can just see my little kiwi candlestick facing the front I wonder how it will fare with his wonky beak?


The masks and all about the hearts going in.

This view is from inside the throat of the firing chamber where we put the wood in, into the main part of the kiln.


Now the kiln is full Duncan temporarily covers the entrance with mud and bricks. Then a final covering ready for lighting this morning.



Kay and I were first on the roster this morning to light the kiln.

No pressure 🙂

My first job, appeasing the kiln gods with a bunch of flowers then cutting a wheelbarrow of kindling.

for the kiln gods

Well at least I didn’t embarrass myself, I can still light a fire!


One more to light and once they got going it was time for the next shift and some lunch, I wonder how they’re going?

lighting the chambers

Opening in a few days time!

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Large terracotta mask again.


The inside of the original sculpture after removing the polystyrene, it is almost an abstract sculpture on it’s own!


Plaster cast from the original sculpture that I did on top of the polystyrene.


The original sculpture after removing both the polystyrene base and the plaster cast. Cleaned up and fittings added to hang. No undercuts this time except for the eyebrows, no biggie to fix though. HINT: spend some time on this part for there is nothing as disheartening as an undercut in the clay that the plaster grabs onto and you can’t prise the two apart!