Friday, July 31, 2015

We are nearly there......

August is just a few hours away, the start of the month where we will see lots of change! I am in limbo at the moment and I keep reminding myself that Skype is the answer to all my problems !! I hope it lives up to expectations!!
On the plus side we have booked a weekend away later in the year to sunny Scarborough. Its been a while since we have been there, we tried to get a weekend in Whitby but we couldn't find anywhere suitable for Dad who is coming with us. 

I am still doing my pottery course and I am still loving it. I find myself thinking about what I will make all the time. This week I finally made a candle stick. 

In my head I could see a beautifully proportioned candlestick, a textured creation with waving seaweed and stylised fish. In reality I have produced a chunky column with fish which are being threatened by rampant earth worms!! Who knows how this is going to turn out !! I was so full of optimism when I started the evening, I was so optimistic that I made a template for the column so that I could make a matching pair!! I really don't think there is any need to try and replicate this creation!!   

My other bright idea was to make puffy heart shaped wall plaques, I had no idea how I was going to actually achieve that, so with the help of my able tutor Elly, I set about rolling out my clay, I wanted to have some texture so that when it is time to glaze it there will be some interest on the surface.
After the first one, I was really taken by how satisfying it was to make, so I made a few!!

I padded them out using balled up newspaper, I hope they come out of the kiln in one piece!

I have also be up-cycling some t shirts. Now that supermarkets are all going to have to charge for shopping bags I thought I would try and convert some shirts into bags. It was a quick job on the sewing machine and they have turned out to be rather strong and useful creations!!

Beth has claimed this one as her own!! I have made little elasticated bags to store them in so they can be kept in my handbag or work bag. 
I have a few other ideas for the weekend so watch this space!!!
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lots of Things going on.....

This week has been a long time coming, end of term, mums birthday the preparation and aftermath of the party. Its been a slog!! Its hard to believe that this is the second year that we have not been able to celebrate Mums birthday with her. She would have be 80 this year. It seems very strange that she is not here to celebrate. I am so glad that I have insisted on taking photos on everyone's birthday, it gives us something to look back on and track the changes.

This photo was taken on Mums 73rd birthday.

This year we went to Dads, it was a beautiful afternoon so I inflicted one of my Victoria Sandwiches on everyone!

I was actually pretty proud of this production !! During the week the council chopped down the once beautiful pink blossom tree, for years we had been treated to showers of pink petals every spring, it was a beautiful tree. Last year it suddenly stopped flowering, this year it stopped full stop, no flowers no leaves and now no tree :(  . It has however made a perfect cake stand!!

We decided to let a few balloons from Carl's party go to mark the occasion.

We set them free, but one was particularly resistant to leaving the garden , two shot off but the third went up to the eaves and then came back down a couple of times, in the end Beth had to take it down the garden and force it to take off!!

I have been back at my pottery course, inspired by my cups from the previous week I took some paper cups from work to use as templates and made three more cups.

I made this small cup for guess who?? Tom requested a small coffee cup !

The two cups in the background are the large mugs which I am pleased with, can't wait to get them cooked and then glazed!!

I also tried a bit of slip work on a bowl that made the previous week, I hope that will also look nice glazed up!! In my head I think this might look nice with a white inside and a nice sage green outside!! That said, I am sure I will change my mind a few times before the painting starts!!!
Have a great week, don't work too hard.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Well I have the finished product!

I was itching to get to my pottery class this week, I couldn't wait to see how all my bits had come out of the kiln!! I wasn't disappointed.

I am pleased with my big bowl, the glaze has smoothed it off beautifully and its so lovely to touch ! I am pleased with the colour, which in the flesh is a rich turquoise blue with darker accents. The dribbles down the outside are in evidence but not as pronounced.

Well the mugs are great not the prettiest of mugs but there is  huge satisfaction drinking tea from a mug crafted by your own fair hands!!

It has really inspired me to try to make a couple more. I really need a bigger size for me and Tom has requested a smaller cup shape for his morning cuppa. I like both colours but I really love the brown one so I am going to see if I can make a big mug in that colour.

This little lidded pot was made by using a textured rolling pin on the clay. It was fairly simple to make and I like the way the glaze has sunk into the shapes and has emphasised the hearts. 

The small plate came out well, I like the colour, BUT my eye is drawn to the blue spec that managed to land on one of the daisies!
I suppose that's character, a unique feature!
My head is buzzing with new projects to try. Last week we tried coil pots. Its not a technique that I am overly fond of now that I have tried it, I get the idea, but I couldn't seem to make it do what I wanted. In my head I wanted to make a narrow necked vase with a bulbous bottom I tried very hard but it wasn't having any of it! I could not make it get smaller at the top, it kept getting larger. 

The idea is that you make lots of sausages out of clay, you then keep them moist while starting to build the pot. You do a couple of rounds and then smooth the inside and outside, to shape the pot you then start to make the coils smaller something that wasn't working for me!

In the end I gave up and decided to flute the top and hope when its cooked the glaze will work its magic again! Can't see this one being anything other than a disaster! Lots of people have asked about the pottery courses, so take a look HERE for further details. The lady who runs the courses is called Elly Wall of Elly Wall Ceramics.

These weeks are going fast, Beth has already ended for the summer . Its amazing how fast her first school year has gone. She has packed lots into it and has made huge steps forward in terms of knowledge and confidence. I am sure she is at the start of a long career in her chosen field. 

Carl is at the brink of a new chapter of his life and in a couple of weeks he will be off to Hong Kong. He wanted to say good bye to his friends with a get together, so last night we went to that party. I have downloaded the photos but need to make sure that they are OK to post!!!

Have a lovely week

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pressing on with my pots!!

I am really enjoying my pottery in the shed course. Its relaxing and exciting at the same time. I am enjoying the making and I am keen to see how my masterpieces turn out. This week I have taken a fair few 'before shots' so that I can compare them to the finished glazed results next week. 

This was the first piece that I made the big bowl. 

I originally thought I would go with pale blue until I was shown another technique which looks pretty awful in the above picture but which should hopefully turn out a rather beautiful cobalt blue/green colour.

I had to paint the black mixture on and then sponge it off leaving the black in the grooves and textured bits. Once it was dry I then covered it in white glaze . 

I painted the outside a turquoise blue colour, but when I was painting on the white glaze on the inside I accidentally dribbled some down the outside, so I decided to turn that 'happy accident' into a design feature, so I piled the dribbles on ! I just hope the finished result is as good in 'real life' as it is in my head!!!!

In the first week I made a square plate, its got imprints of daisies all over it,  I couldn't decide what to glaze it with until I saw some lovely red pots on the shelf, I decided to go with the red glaze!!

I can't wait to see how this one turns out!

I have also made a couple of wonky mugs, I know they are wonky but I am pinning my hopes on the glaze sorting it all out and turning them into beautiful symmetrical well balanced drinking vessels.  

I suspect that 'glaze' doesn't have that sort of magical property, so I may well take home beautiful 'rustic, organic' unique mugs!!

One mug is a sort of brown with a cream speckled inside, I though that I would try the dribbling on the inside again, you can't get enough of a good technique can you ?? The one on the left will hopefully be purple with speckles. (I like speckles as well!!)
The pot behind is also mine, in my head it is an elegant jar decorated with 'rustic' circles of various colours. Again  I really enjoyed making it but I have no idea how it will turn out. I had planned on making three for tea, coffee and sugar but the first one was very hard to make so I suspect it might turn into a feature vase!!!!

Over the last weekend we went out with our friends, I usually go out with the girls nearly monthly, but this was the third time we had the men along. We had a lovely evening in Aroma Kitchen!

We have decided that this will be a regular trip out, its great fun to get the boys out!!!

I have had a lazy day and its not been in a good way, I feel like I have wasted it, I should have done something instead of a bit of shopping and nothing else. I am now knackered its exhausting doing nothing!!!
Have a good week

Sunday, July 05, 2015

We have 'had' summer!!

This week we have  had summer. We had summer for three days. 

We had 35 degrees at one point, it only lasted a few days. The heat went out with a huge bang, overnight we had the most violent and loud storm, lots of rain lots of thunder and lightening. Poor Hunny was in a state, she hates storms, so we all had a very disturbed night. I wish we could just have normal unexciting weather!!

Beth has been away in Germany working at a school for children with extra educational needs. Its been a bit of an eye opener for her. A useful experience in all sorts of ways. It has helped her to see just how different things are in the education systems of both countries. It was a huge step, travelling on her own by plane, then getting herself to school every day in a strange country, on top of that there was the language barrier! She has done so well, she has really moved on! Just the driving to sort out now!!

I have been out in the garden trying to capture some of the wildlife, my lavender bushes have been attracting most of the interest with this beautiful butterfly and loads of bees.

I have also been busy doing a pottery course, something that I have wanted to do for ages. The problem has always been fitting it in with everything else. It has taken me right back to my school days when we used to do real pottery, right from construction through to the finished glazed item. I have found a lovely lady who has a studio in her back garden in Hertford . There are two other ladies on the course and we have had a go at lots of things! In the first week I made a big bowl which I decorated with lots of textures , We have added some colour and that will be glazed and fired this week. 

It is really good fun to have a go and see what you can do.

I am really hoping that this bowl comes out, its huge possible 14 inches across! I have painted it pale blue inside and I hope to be able to glaze it with a white glaze.

This one is very textured and I am going to add glass frit to the holes in the bottom, lets see how that comes out!

I have made a small square plate, a box with a lid, a circular jar and some small bits and pieces. I can't wait until they all come out!!

Have a lovely week.