Monday, December 31, 2012

For next year.






Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sliding into position: A just thrown on the potters wheel bowl, cut off and (still wet and soft) carefully placed (slid for dramatic effect) on the shelf.



I've neglected this blog, again...

I've been researching, throwing and throwing. 
It continues to amaze me how subtle a variation in curve can be between a bowl that stands to attention and a dumpy thing. 
Also, I tend to concentrate on shape and glaze, It's just what I've always done and enjoy. I feel the need to decorate, I've been in company of some exquisitely decorated vessels lately. 
I'm fighting against it.

Sliding into position.
A just thrown on the potters wheel bowl, cut off and (still wet and soft) carefully placed (slid for dramatic effect) on the shelf.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vase with no name.






This is the first in a new series of vases.
I can't find the rite name for it. Please help, what do you think should be its name?



Also:
I have a new facebook page: www.facebook.com/andrewwiddis.potter

Friday, November 2, 2012

Swirl bowl with cream on white glaze.





I was looking at this bowl yesterday and was taken by how the glossy glaze and the swirls has such a lovely fluid look.
It has taken many glaze tests to get this super smooth glossy glaze, and about as many tests to get the cream and white combination to look just right, but I think it's been worth it.
The glaze tests are those strange things to the left of the bowl. I've got quite a collection now. Perhaps I should start making them more like chess pieces and start a side line.



I have a new facebook page: www.facebook.com/andrewwiddis.potter

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bud vase.




It's Spring here in Australia, and the warm weather kicked in on Monday (unfortunately so did the hay fever). 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I purchased a new house yesterday.






Ann Ferguson makes these wonderful little houses, along with various factories and trees.
I plan to own a new neighbourhood before the end of the year; I love them!

The Real Estate agent I'm using is SMALLpieces.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cobalt brushwork.






I find it a little risky adding cobalt brushwork to a bowl.
An off day with the brush can leave the previous weeks work of throwing and bisque firing wrecked*. So after a 48 hour glaze firing, opening that kiln door to see the results can be quite inspiring or a real downer.
Luckily I found this bowl greeting me when I opened the kiln this morning.

*cobalt intensifies after firing. So the results can't really be seen when raw (unfired).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pink everlasting.






Here comes the sun.
As the days sun strengthens, the rhodanthe chlorocephala (pink everlasting) unfurls its petals.


Rewards from scattering seeds a few months ago.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Orange glaze test.






Can I have your thoughts on this glaze.
The grey patch near the top is from a spot of ash, which I quite like.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Greenware-bowl foot.






The foot of a pot has to be the bit I struggle with.
For me, it's the bit that makes or breaks a good pot.
So I will continue to work on perfecting this part, along with the rim and the rest of the pot.
Perfection is forever just over the horizon; So the journey continues.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New test tile style.





Rough and ready, but I think it has some style.

Easy to make. I drilled into plaster with two different splayed (drill) bits. The first drill is the wide base. The the hole is continued with a thinner bit. The guide points make a coddle to catch the glaze.
Soft clay is pressed into this (first one should be thrown away as it will have plaster dust on it) and when it's leather hard it will easily fall out.

This glaze test is 100% iron bark (eucalyptus) ash from my studio fire place; fired to cone 10 in oxidation.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Flat plates.





I went the whole month of August without a single post. Have been keeping a low profile in front of the studio fireplace.
First day of Spring here, so I expect to be more active photographing and posting.
Here are the latest items out of my kiln. Flat plates, in entree, main and large platter sizes. coated with a satin gloss stark white glaze.
I think they're going to be just perfect for Summer berries and thick cream.



White satin gloss glaze recipe:

KAOLIN:20
SILICA:32
WHITING:19.6
POTASH FELDSPAR:27.4

ZIRCON:10

WATER:110ML

Summer berries and cream to finish.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kiln sitter.






My kiln sitter cup.
Fired probably 20 times now. It feels so fragile, but has a wonderful deep gloss as a result.
I suspect the glaze has become well and truly part of the clay body.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A floating platter.






I've been away from the studio for a few weeks. 
This platter was one of the last pieces I made and it sat on the bench  for weeks waiting for its glaze fire. It's a rare thing for me to leave a piece glazed but not fired.
I've been otherwise distracted by the renovation of my old home, in need of some structural work to an external wall. The local council have a heritage overlay on it so it has required a site visit, followed by engineers report, building plans and building permit.
I'm not sure that I'm ever going to tackle an old build again. Besides the heritage requirements, it's almost impossible to get a builder interested in an old building. I've heard it said a few times now that builders are only really interested in assembling new houses. It all arrives in sections on a truck and they put it together on a nice new concrete slab.
Seems like ceramics, building is a dying skill too.

PS. The smell of those coffee beens to the left of the platter had me thinking of little else than how quickly I could pack up and make a double, double shot espresso. Which I've unfortunately just finished; perhaps another.

This piece; Hand thrown (potters wheel).





Sunday, June 3, 2012

Clay for sale.





Do you need some clay?

I have way too much stuff in my studio, in my shed and outside the back door. Time to start off-loading.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Glaze request.

Mamo glaze outside, subtle iron glaze inside.




Green (no copper) glaze request.
Trading for Mamo glaze below.


I made a full batch of glaze that was supposed to be a subtle green.
I was so sure I knew how to make a green glaze (oxidation atmosphere) with iron oxide (no copper) that I didn't test it before using it on a desired piece.
I understand the basics. Alkaline glaze should make iron green instead of brown.
So I simply replaced potash feldspar with soda feldspar. Didn't come close.
So now I have to do some research and many line tests.


Hoping you can give me a head start with an iron oxide (no copper etc.) cone10 ox. glaze.


I'll trade you my favourite Mamo glaze.
Cone 10. Oxidation.


Whiting 5
Kaolin 25
Dolomite 20
Potash feldspar 50

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chawan.


Simple bowl form thrown then scrapped from foot up to middle with a kidney tool on four sides, to make indentations. Vessel was then cut off the wheel head with a stretched spring, and roughly pulled off (see lifted/distorted foot to right side of base) wheel head.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Small tenmoku bowl.





A favourite little bowl I made about 18 Months ago. Not sure if I've posted it before, but as I came across it again today (as I was looking for another piece (that I of course can't find)) I thought I would share it with you.
It's when I find an old piece that is so different from what I'm currently doing that I'm glad I save pieces that I particularly like.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flat batteries.




I've spent the week trying to get my camera to work.
Camera kept saying "charge" and I had just charged it, and charged it again and again. So Yesterday I ordered a new battery. Guess what; last night I decided to disconnect the charger lead and insert again with full force and try one last time. Today my camera is working without incident.
Guess I'll have a spare battery now.
Pity I can't find the energy to work in my hot (29°C) studio.

The bowl in the image is one of many I made this last week. Will be bisqued tonight.
Am enjoying throwing at the moment (when the studio is cool enough); not so happy with my range of glazes though. Think I'll work on a dry white outer glaze over the next few weeks.




*blogspot have changed the post "compose" layout. I hope they don't start to change things as often as Facebook.
Where do I put the "tags".
Found it. It's now under "labels" though I like its new suggestion list.
Now what do I click to "publish".

Eek! I have to manually change the font colour now. 
Seems default is now black. And black on black does not work so well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trim free bowl.





Yesterday I made some bowls from a stoneware clay. As I was doing this as apposed to throwing it out, I decided to experiment. I decided to make some mixing bowls; and to make them with the least amount of work; and the least amount of water.
I have a direct drive wheel that has a keypad that allows me to dial in  the speed. So from stopped through just going and all the way to propelling the clay off the wheel. I've found that at a rather slow speed I don't need to keep dowsing the clay with water. In fact, I only need water for centering, coning up/down and first pull. Then it's just a matter of making sure the dampness of the clay is consistent/even. The only other steps I need water for are leathering the rim and sliding the bowl of the wheel head at the end. Also with a slow consistent speed it's like using a kick wheel, and so gives you the ability to really pull the clay around and even throw it off centre like a wabi sabi or tea ceremony vessel.
To minimise the work, I've basically eliminated trimming, by shaping the foot with a curved stick end as the last step of throwing.
I've trimmed the inside of the foot so that it sits properly. I used the scoop part of a bamboo wooden spoon.
When leather hard I just thumbed the foot to close the open clay.


Added: 26/02/2012



Distorting the bowl and photo. Somewhat interesting result.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition.

"The evolution of Vietnamese ceramics parallels the course of Vietnamese history, reflecting how people lived and how they related to neighbouring cultures. The vocabulary of ceramic shapes, glazes, and decorative motifs allows us to read the development of a culture that now has little remaining in the way of physical artefacts by which to trace its history.

The Chinese potter aimed for and frequently achieved perfect technique, characterised, for example, by the colossal and almost mechanist productions of the Longquan and Jingdezhen kilns. The Japanese tradition may be characterised by its consciousness of accidentally achieved beauty. The aesthetic appeal of Vietnamese ceramics, which combine informality with great technical skill, lies somewhere in between these two extremes.

It is the interface between art and technology that gives ceramics their flavour. Yanagai Soetsu, founder of the Mingei movement in Japan, was awed by the beauty achieved so casually by Korean potters. He wrote of the unconcerned manner in which a Korean would set up his wheel. If the wheel was slightly off-true, the potter would compensate in a very skilled way. Nevertheless, the results would probably not be straightened the potter simply would not care. The imperfections resulting from such an attitude can give great vigour to a vessel, yet they cannot be calculated, or the piece loses its quality of spontaneity.

It is this same serendipitous combination of spontaneity with technical excellence that makes Vietnamese ceramics so attractive.

The combination of skilled potting, rigorous shape, casual finish, free and calligraphic painting, and accidental glaze effects # all features typical of Vietnamese ceramic tradition # is powerful indeed. Perhaps the son of the former head of the Hue museum may be allowed to characterise the freedom and individualism of the Vietnamese ceramic tradition: "Chinese pottery is good for the eye; Vietnamese pottery is good for the heart."

The evolution of the ceramics of northern Vietnam over the last two thousand years reflects the links between a culture's artistic expression and its socioeconomic and geopolitical environments.

Editor's Note:

This above text is a very short and incomplete excerpt from a wonderful... book which is the first definitive study of the Vietnamese ceramic tradition in any language."

Vietnamese Ceramics by John Stevenson and John Guy, Art Media Resources, Ltd., Chicago, 1997.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White bowl.




A bowl with character. Not too much, just enough.
Getting the throw line just right. The transition from foot to bowl, then the rim. I find the rim to be the tricky part at the moment.
Then there's the glaze. You think a white glaze would be quite simple. Just a gloss with a heap of tin. Sure, that's a white glaze, but dead. I like a glaze that you can look into. So just enough tin or zircon to opacify, but still give a rich white.
I'm tending to like a sloppy glazing finish at the moment. Complete with marks from where I held its foot when dipping in the raw wet glaze. A thicker run spot adds character too I think.
So a simple white bowl with character is not all that simple to make.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Square platters.




It's February already...
I didn't realise it was way back in December that I last posted until my Brother surprisingly said "it's been a while since your last post" I didn't even think he took an interest. So I've made a special effort just for you Charlie.
Hope your flight back to Denmark was hastle free. I bet your feeling the cold after spending Summer on the beach in Australia.