My pottery creations on and off the wheel.

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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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A bit of colour on the wheel

Finishing off the small pots I started last week and felt like a bit of colour to brighten me up. So these ones have a bit of  white slip coloured with cobalt and red pigment stain, like an underglaze painted on at the un-fired clay stage. Left the bases clear of colour, just because I like the terracotta colour too!

Have left these a bit long and they dried out too much as you can see in the photos, but I got there. I would normally turn the top of the pot one day and carve the foot the next when the clay has firmed up and is still a little softer, but stuff just happens on it’s own timetable sometimes and gets in the way:-)




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Lucky elephant is on duty

Loaded the kiln today, the chook feeder towered over everything else and no amount of juggling and re-arranging could allow a second shelf.

So rather than waste all that space at the top of the kiln, I snuck in a broken shelf “precariously” balanced on one post!  I know it is tempting fate a bit, hence the lucky elephant being on duty! Go lucky elephant do your thing!


Here is hoping I don’t end up with one gigantic sculpture from this one 🙂

Update: did something fall on it, or did I just blow the bottom element because only 5 hours into the firing the bottom element is off…holding my breath?

This one has the tiniest peephole in the side so a bit hard to see but doesn’t look like it has fallen and temp still climbing okay so taking a few tentative breaths.

This morning’s update: well nothing fell down so that’s a plus I should be able to re-fire, but couldn’t reach temperature with only one element going, only got to 800C so no glaze melt no nothing! Oh no another headache!

Thursday update: could have been worse, the relay blew on one element, but the part needs ordering so just hoping I get time to re-fire before the Riding for the Disabled Farmers Market- Waihou on Sunday!


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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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How To: Terracotta Chicken Waterer

Even the pottery is all about the chooks today!  So this time it’s a how to:  for an automatic water thingy for the chooks.


Step One: joining the two slab built shapes together with slip and a soft coil.


Step Two: smoothing the inside join with a very technical tool called “sponge attached with a zip tie and green tape to a metal rod”.


Step Three: pulled a handle for the top to hang or pick it up.


Step Four: scratch and attach with slip adding soft coils to strengthen the join.


Step Five: adding a fluted edge to the base of the feeder using the thumb and first two fingers.


Step Six: score and add slip the base to attach the top of the feeder.


Step Seven: add a soft coil and blend this in to strengthen the join. Leave the opening free to allow filling and dispensing of water.


Will get the chooks to test it out for me next!


How to make a large terracotta face mask in 10 steps

Tonight I have been making a larger mask and thought I would show step by step how I am making it, the polystyrene base I made in another post seems to be doing the job okay, pleased with it.


Step One: cut pieces of polystyrene for the high points of the face, tape and cover with cling film.

mask 1

Step Two: Clay slab draped over the mould and press firmly to get basic shapes in.

mask nose 2

Step Three: usually I start with the nose so I get an idea of the length of the face.

mask mouth 1

Step Four: add rolled coils for the mouth.

mask mouth 2

Step Five: added another thick coil to add weight to the lower lip and chin.


Step Six: and another ball of clay to raise the height of the chin.


Step Seven: next put two oval shaped balls of clay into the eye sockets.

mask eyes

Step Eight: begin by marking in the outer edges of the eyeball and the iris using a wooden tool.

mask eyes 4

Step Nine: smooth outer edges then add coils to build up the lower and upper lids.


Step Ten: build up the side of the nose and blend into the cheek to frame the eyes.


Tools down for now!


Finished off today.