Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Is It?

Today's mystery object. It's not a row of hooks,nor is it anything Jewish [but nice try]. I'll leave you in suspense for a few days. Please don't send me your guesses.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thumbstops - The Movie

A final flourish to the jug handle: a well-placed thumbstop is a big help when lifting a jug holding a liter or more. Note finger-print in slip on jug. When will I learn? Click title to view.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flat & Dry

Part of a batch of dishes [the rest are loaded in the bisc kiln] I made on Friday afternoon,an hour or so before packing up for Shabbat: I find that time conducive to all kinds of creative ideas and experiments - this week there wasn't time to start 'proper' throwing,so I slung some clay on the wheel and threw it dry,slicing up various shapes to make these flat Japanese-inspired serving dishes.Will they dry flat? I doubt it [some have small feet].

Friday, April 23, 2010

Benjamin's Bowls 2

Here's one of my son Benjamin's latest creations. I'm waiting for him to send me some glaze recipes...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pulled Handles

Another title to click,another Youtube movie. Pulling handles directly from pots is the most difficult handle technique to master,but undoubtedly gives the best results on bigger pots like these. In the movie I refer to the slip I'm using,which doesn't require scoring of pot or handle,doesn't crack on drying,but does smell a bit. I call it 'Slippo" and will try to find time to blog the recipe.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shallow Bowl,Shallow Foot

A short video [click on title]. I thought I might have to scrap these bowls because they were too thin on the bottom,but remembered the pushed-in foot I usually do on goblets; I think I might have got away with it,but will only know after the bisc.


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Two pots from the T.H. anagama and one from Meir's: bottom picture shows same clay,different kilns- left is Meir,right T.H.: I want to study them more,but it's obvious that the T.H. firing is more heavily reduced. The top pot is a mixture of Meir's clay with Coleman porcelain,and has some nice dry pinks- worth remembering for next year.

Fitting Handle

Someone asked,so click on title to watch v.short video. I didn't exactly intend it,but I like the way that the colors of the teapot from Meir's anagama] match the handle...By the way,I just noticed that I forgot to add the link to Youtube for the slipping video a couple of posts ago - it should work now.


Friendly Fire

I arrived at Tel Hai on Tuesday to find the salt kiln still awaiting firing - too long to my mind [over 3 weeks] so decided to fire it with some students [Ofri stoking salt in bottom picture]. The firing went well-9hrs,4 1/2 kg salt,cone 10 would have fallen if the students had put it in. Ofri sent me some pictures from the opening - some shot cups I had in the kiln came out better than the last few firings at Sydney's [as I suspected] -now I have to work out what's happening. The silicon carbide kiln shelves look a bit frothy,and seem to have dripped on pots,but students seem happy with results.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Slipping Away

The first rule of pottery - if you want to sell,make it blue. My version [I've been using it for 25 years] is a blue slip,which I find more interesting than a blue glaze; it's inspired by David Frith's wonderful blue slip,which he makes using mixed cobalt waste from an old Welsh tin mine. My slip is coloured with cobalt oxide and red iron oxide [which is why the unfired slip looks reddish],added unreliably and by eye to the Hopper slip,and adjusted over the first few firings of a new batch 'til it comes out looking more-or-less like I think it should. There's a video to be watched if you click on the title. The astute among you will note that the bowl in the picture above is not the same one I'm decorating in the movie,for obvious reasons [if you're astute].


Sunday, April 04, 2010

More ...

One that survived the front top shelf
Fired on its side [obviously]
Meir left the last four stacks [about 1/3 of the kiln] to unload next week,when more of his customers have returned from holidays; for a change,the back of the kiln looks really nice,so there may be some more pots in a couple of weeks. Tel Hai unloads next week [I had a couple of pots in there too] and I believe the students have fired the salt kiln [with,you will recall,its new door] so there should be something to see there too. Meanwhile...Pesach Sameach!

The Crop and its Cream

Here's the teapot that I had in mind when making those handles.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Unloading the Anagama

A good firing - every anagama firing seems to come out well in the end,each with its own set of lessons to be learned. We succeeded in getting the top of the kiln hot,using less wood,firing in 4 instead of 5 1/2 days,and getting the very back of the kiln up to temperature - all conclusions from last year's firing,the second in this rebuilt kiln. Good dry and varied wood is clearly an important part of the mix,also a more serious damper than last 2 years'. A dedicated team is another vital element - you can never predict who will turn up at critical moments [especially the last 8-10 hours,when normal mortals are exhausted and have crept off to sleep]- but they inevitably do. The general emotional state was 'more than happy,less than ecstatic' - lots of good-looking,clean pots came out of the kiln,and the excitement of pots pushed to the very edge of their capabilities, or beyond [which was lacking] will have to wait for next year. The first two firings,looking back,were groping in the dark with a largely-unknown huge new kiln;this year was about applying lessons and learning the basics of control,next year is time to push it a bit further.
Can you spot five of my pots in the pictures,children?