Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kobachi (small bowl).

I love how gravity merges a melting glaze into another.
The blue glaze inside this bowl has a lovely depth when held in the light. Unfortunately it really needs to be held in person to see.
I continue to be amazed by the nuka (white) glaze. It has 33% wood ash (saved from my studio fireplace over Winter) this glaze has a solid white obtained from the ash and some lovely yellow specs from what must be little bits of iron (I know it's from the course black bits of ash). The other ingredients are Silica_33% Potash Feldspar_33%.
This bowl along with some others is on its way to Planet furniture in Sydney. If your in the area perhaps drop in and have a look. 
Planet also has a great selection of other ceramics.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Saltbush berries on platter.

Saltbush berries (2.5mm) on a stoneware plater with nuka glaze.

Summer is here now and the house is getting hot. The saltbush berries are ripe and on mass. They need to be on mass as they are so small, but a small hand full is just the thing to end the day; sprinkled on a bowl of vanilla icecream.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The last of Spring.

It's just turned Summer.
Spring was a charged atmosphere of lightning and thunder and heavy rain to match, it's a stark contrast to a prolonged drought lasting 12 years.
My garden has almost become a jungle. Filled with flowers of all colours, and bees buzzing with a confusion for choice.

The Bud vases in the photo are available at SMALLpieces.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Coffee in hand, I'm right to go.
In my favourite cup, I'm inspired and nothing can stop me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Altered porcelain vessel.

Detail of an altered porcelain vessel.
Made back in 2008.
The process I came to depend on for safely altering a thin porcelain vessel was to let it get to leather hard. Trim the foot as usual. To alter it I rotated it at a usual throwing speed and introduced water (*with a damp, not wet, sponge) back to the section that I wanted to alter. Use a tool while rotating the vessel, to manipulate the piece. 
It's a matter of trial and error.
If it were easy, it would be boring.

*Thanks Anna.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yunomi w/nuka glaze.

This yunomi cup has the same nuka glaze inside and out. Though its appearance is varied through thickness.
Inside the nuka glaze is an unctuous white through thick application. It was also sieved through a fine mesh.
On the outside it's applied thinly and sieved through a coarse mesh. The bottom half applied over an ash undercoat.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Nothing better than home made bread.
I started making my own bread early this year after the supermarket stopped stocking my favourite light rye bread. Though I'm almost glad now, nothing better than bread straight from the oven; actually I try and wait 10 mins. at least, as it's hard to cut when it's still steaming. The only downside to home made bread is the time and effort to make it, but that's quickly forgotten with the addition of butter and jam.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Some books selected that I've had listed on this blog for years (time flies too quickly).
I'd like to draw your attention to some of them again.




I hope you enjoy them as much as I have/do.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nuka glaze tests.

Ash is 33% of a Nuka glaze,. And as you can see in the above image. Preparation plays a big part.

Recipe for Nuka glaze, cone 10 Oxidation

Wood ash_33
Potash Feldspar_33
Water_1.5 times the weight of dry ingredients.

add 3% bentonite to help keep the glaze in suspension.
The downside of bentonite though is, it takes a lot of effort to sieve the first time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bowls with ash glaze.

Finally I have a properly functioning kiln and wheel. And hopefully these are the first of many bowls without failing equipment de-railing me again.

Below is a link to some great books on Ash glazes:


And the following is a book I've just ordered; Looks fascinating!    

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


These are the remnants of the elements I tediously removed from my kiln last week.

A few weeks ago I pushed my kiln twice, trying to reach cone 10. It was a futile pursuit and I new it after the first failed attempt; But I did not want to replace an element. It's such an effort. Elements twist, slump and fuse to the kiln, or at least embed themselves in the grooves made for them to sit in. It's a tedious job with pointy nose pliers to lever and snap them out.
Reluctantly I took the side of the kiln off to measure the electrical resistance in the elements, to see which one was weak and needing replacement. Unfortunately they all rated the same. I new the bottom one was not that old, but unable to argue with an amp meter. I had to remove them all.
Only having one spare element, meant a 300KM round trip to Dandenong (VIC, AUS.) to buy a few kilos of Kanthal wire. That, though frustrating in itself, was the easy bit.
With some help and encouragement from Justin, the Technician at my local Uni. we wound new elements. That was not all though. I had to count the coils, measure the amps and bend and twist them to fit the kiln. And that was the easy part.
After spending hours crouched into a kiln prying the old elements out. I had to fit the new ones, with many alterations to what I should have already been the right fit. Then I drilled holes and fitted rods to stop them from escaping during firing. Justin suggested hand made elements tend to fall out. Luckily they have not. They could not, after the effort I went to to keep them in check.
On Friday I fired a successful bisque.
Next, the big test I was dreading, a cone 10 firing.
Late last night I turned the kiln on and crossed my fingers. Just before 1PM today, looking through the spy hole after blowing a few breaths through so as to clear the atmosphere to see the cone. A sigh of relief; it was a full arc, touching its tip to the kiln shelf. Cone 10 over. And over in the time I had calculated.
With a brand new state of the art potters wheel and new elements in the kiln, it should be plain sailing from here; Though I thought that after getting the new wheel.

Just in case, I've found a book by Emmanuel Cooper that I should get:

Monday, August 29, 2011

In a Native garden.

Growing proudly in my (mainly) indigenous garden (definitely no exotics, except the ever determined oxalis pes-caprae, It's a persistent devil), is this Pterostylis (Greenhood) orchid (Flower head: 30mm high, 20mm wide. Sepal tip to sepal tip: 25mm). 
I first found a "Greenhood orchid" in the Whipstick forest this time last year. Until then the forest had become a mainly dry desolate place, only the large Iron bark Eucalyptus, Wattle and Melaleuca decussata, in abundance, as a result of over 10 years drought. 
Now quite the contrary, all sorts of orchids have sprung up; including my other favourite, Leopard Orchid
Until last year the only orchid I had seen was Glossodia major; Itself quite beautiful, now growing twice its previous height.

Goldfields Revegetation Nursery has Nodding Greenhood Orchids for sale.

Further links:


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Soufflé bowl.

I seem to be spending my time procrastinating: looking back through previous work.
It has been a year of un reliable equipment for me. Earlier it was my potters wheel that was broken; resulting in the bees knees new direct drive wheel (that has a different lug setting for batts, of course. Resulting in the need to make new ones).
The latest is my kiln. It's electric with a Harco (electronic controller (a must have for the potter that enjoys sleeping regular hours)) kiln sitter. The last few firing have been a struggle. I thought that one of the elements must have been much older and delivering less energy. Turns out they are all delivering the same, all less than desirable. So, rather bravely, I decided to buy the Kanthal wire and wind new elements myself. As if getting an old element out of a kiln wall wasn't hard enough. I now find myself reluctant to start. 
I think this time I have raised the skill level too high.
At this point, I wish I still had access to a gas or even wood fire kiln. The usual ease of an electric kiln does have its trials.
I look forward to the time when I can fire at will again.

In the bowl pictured above, the yellow/orange is a reflection of the fire burning brightly in my studio fireplace (much needed this week). I love that this fire is producing part of the ingredients for my next ash glaze. 
So much of my practice in ceramics has more than one life or single use.

This vessel has a Tenmoku (recipe in a previous post) glaze.