New yarn bowls, new techniques and why I don’t blog very often

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Science Museum SingaporeLamp Post at Wat Pho, BangkokHubby's leg and Giant Ray

Ughhh I just spent the last 2 hours writing this blog post only to have wordpress lose it even after making multiple saves….

Ok, why don’t I post very often? I’m too busy DOING to have a lot of time or oomph for blogging. Why do I bother with a blog? I’m an artist, I need to get what I’m doing ‘out there’ for people to see. How else will the right person fall in love with one of my pieces? So I tell peeps I have a blog, and say that’s where you can see my work.

Anyway, I’m going to be at the http://www.bristolwoolfair.co.uk/ in September selling my yarn bowls and buttons. So I really won’t be on here much at all as I will be as good as living in my studio for the next 3 months trying to make enough for the 3 days. Luckily I only work 2 days a week now. Just enough to pay for my studio while I get making. Besides, it’s all my boss’s fault, she’s the one that picked up the flyer for the fair. Just as well I gave her a yarn bowl!

 

What have I been doing since my last post? Well, apart from having been to Oz and back for the first time in 12 years and having a massive shopping spree in Phahurat Market in Bangkok on the way back for loads of gorgeous lace and lace fabric and embroidered fabric to use in my studio, I’ve been busy working out a few ideas for various projects.

Lace imprint buttons

Thanks to my visit back to the land of Oz and the brief visits to Thailand and Singapore, I’ve been really feeling that Asian zen influence, especially after our visit to Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. So I’ve been making tea mugs, sort of like the ones you get in Wagamama’s made in that nasty plastic that makes the green tea smell weird. Well, I’ve been making them out of porcelain, flecked stoneware, my mixed up reclaim made of the different clays I use and most recently the Vulcan smooth (a sculptural clay that looks and feels like a stiff-ish dark chocolate fondue that throws well, but does go to slip a little too easily).

Tea Mugs

And of course I had a go at making yarn bowls out of my porcelain reclaim. That was fun, but they did slump a little, but that’s ok, they gave me a chance to try out my wonderful new ceramic tissue transfers. These you can use on fresh clay, leather clay, bisq – under or over the raw glaze. The only time I don’t think they will work is on-glaze. I’ve had such excellent results that I’m going to look into making my prints.

Porcelain Yarn Bowls

As well as that I’ve been tackling my avoidance of making lidded vessels. So far I have a few little pots with lids, and hope to be making teapots in the coming months, it’s my own silly fears that have held me back from that, so I’m now going for it, every time I have some reclaim to muck around with I WILL make lids!

One last thing, Bath Artists’ Studios where I have my space, are now doing open days 10.30 am to 12.30pm last Friday of the month. There is even coffee and nibbles. A chance to come see what we are all doing!

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Porcelain Bowl

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Porcelain Bowl

This is one of my favourite pieces. I painted some hi-fire stains on the raw clay just after I turned it. Then I used just a clear glaze over the top. I think it got a little over fired as the glaze moved a little giving that gorgeous blurring and creating a landscape effect. I only glazed the bowl to the inward curve, so there is a ‘pooling’ of the glaze that exaggerates the curve. Inside is simply glazed with a trasparent cobalt glaze. I used the Audrey Blackman porcelain for the bowl which IMHO is one of the best affordable porcelains avaliable.

This bowl will be for sale in the pop-up shop in 2 weeks time along with the yarn bowls I have featured already. After this next selling event I will be starting an Etsy shop as well as various markets.

Yarn Bowl

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So I finally got studio space about a year ago, two years after graduation. I feel I have remembered how to throw now (thanks to my treasure, the Shimpo RK3D).

One of the nicer clays I have been working with is the Scarva Flecked Stoneware. If you want to throw thin, that’s the one to do it. It seems to want to BE thin and I found it tricky at times to throw thickly enough for something as weighty as a yarn bowl like this one.

It is a lovely clay to work with and is especially lush under a tin white glaze where the speckles show through making the glaze appear to be a natural extention of the clay as opposed to being a cover.

Anyway, this bowl was glazed using one from the Botz range, cheaty I know, but as yet I don’t have a huge amount of time to make many of my own glazes yet. On the inside I used the BPS light blue matt S/W from Bath Potters. The bowl fired to around 1280C, maybe a little higher. I do use cones, but this was several glaze firings ago, and my kiln is a converted E/W that can be erratic. Sometimes spot on, sometimes it give heatwork for 1300C. I don’t mind, makes the whole glaze process more exciting.

What is a yarn bowl you ask? Its a bowl that lives at your feet and holds your ball of yarn. You tuck the end into the curl/hook and away you go. It prevents the ball skating around the room collecting lint and also gives it a place to roll around freely. The best ones are made from clay, as it gives them weight.

Well, I cound just stick a bowl inside a plastic/fabric bag tie it shut!! you cry, sure, you could, but it’s noisy (plastic bag), and it causes friction on the yarn(cloth). Plastic tubs are too light, and then of course there’s the little holes in your travel knitting bags. Sure, you thread your new ball through that, but then you stuck with it in there untill you have finished that ball. Do you really want to be stuck like that?

That is why ceramic yarn bowls are the best ones to have. A freind recently told me that it has even improved her tension when knitting and crocheting.