Friday, August 17, 2012

My stamp

I spent ages messing with pottery stamps. Only to decide that I prefer to use my signature. It's so much quicker and can by etched into the clay with a pencil or just scribbled on with a ceramic pencil.

Here it is:

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

A few hours with a professional

Today I was lucky enough to go to Malcolm Greenwoods studio. It was a real privelege and an amazing morning. He shared so many of his techniques with me and I even walked away with a tool.

He said it was nice to talk to someone who shared an interest. I found it amazing to be able to talk to someone who has so much knowledge and experience, who is currently making a living in a really hard industry who was so willing to share some much of his knowledge. It really was amazing.

It was so nice to just listen to the odds and ends of what he does. The space he works in is fairly modest and considerbly open to the elements!! He uses every square inch of that space. He doesn't spend loads on tools. Everything about the space is really modest and humble. It was really intersting and also shows just how frugal and clever you have to be to make ceracmics profitable. There is no room from time intensive tasks if they don't add value to the end product. I like that method of working. Time is really important. He is so efficient in how he operates. It also shows how creative you can be not only in the creative process but also the running of a business.

I will never think of almost leather hard clay the same way again! It was amazing how dry he lets his slabs become before working with them. I can't wait to try it all out for myself!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Continuum manly art gallery

Yesterday I went to the artist talk for continuum an exhibition on at manly art gallery the work showcases teachers and students work from northern beaches TAFE. Amazing and fabulous work.
The speakers were
Sue Buckle - Early art education - ceramic artist
Sue Jorgensen - Sculptural/teaching
Malcolm Greenwood - Ceramic production
Bruce McWhinney - Facilitator/ ceramic directions/ tertiary education
Bruce was absent. But there in spirit.
It was such an interesting discussion about the direction of ceramics and education.
I was very excited to meet Malcolm Greenwood. He was nice enough to trouble shoot a problem I am having with neriage. I was unaware it is something that one of his mentors specialized in so he knows it really well. I have never come across any of his work that uses the technique so it was a nice surprise and gives me some new hope in this project I am working on.
It is so nice to meet people that are willing to help you get where you need to go.
Ceramics isn't an easy career and is still a hobby for me, however it is nice to meet people who are willing to share years of their professional experience in terms of technique and business knowledge, like trends for the industry, even though it is an area that is difficult to make a living from.
Malcolm acknowledged that it is hard to compete with china as they have taken a large chunk of commercial work. However he still believes there is work there for smaller runs that are specialized for restaurants etc... He also noted that if someone wants something done just say yes and figure it out as you go. I like the attitude but it would take a lot of guts!
The information and discussion was invaluable and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Disappointment and slight set backs

It seems that my idea for combining an earthenware and stoneware clay 50 50 may not be working as well as I hoped. I must admit I have pushed it to the limit as I know that even commercially made clays would struggle. I was trying to use stained clay and neriage. I am using drape moulds also.
This has resulted in my plates and bowls warping while the dry. I am so heart broken. I know it's not all the clay body it's a combination of the technique I'm using including stained clays combined and draped over a mould. I wonder if I should try throwing and using the stained clays as slip as I know throwing this clay does not result in warping when thrown.

I have been given some mid fire clay from TAFE to try. I'm not sure if I want to though as if I can't get anymore to finish the dinner set then it's a waste of time.

Throwing isn't easy at the moment with a little one. Hand building was quieter and less messy. But I'm sure I'll find a way.