Saturday, 27 September 2008

The "Eleanor" Plate

Remember when I stencilled this plate? It was inspired by Eleanor Hendriks' snowflake tutorial and I'm very happy how this turned out. The pattern doesn't look as smeared as I assumed and the contrast of the colours works so well.

The dark parts are a bit streaky, so I guess the slip should be prepared less diluted when I try this again and I'm itching to give it another try!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

More Pinching

I skipped my class again this week, because I feel so bad. Nevertheless I've got something done at home.

At the moment I can't get enough of pinching small bowls. Let's hope I've managed to get all the air pockets out of the clay. Usually the clay is prepared so it is free of air bubbles but I often use scraps or start all over when I'm not pleased with my creations and then I try to wedge the clay before I use it by slamming it on the table repeatedly, but I'm not good at this. Wedging and kneading clay with my hands is quite like hitting a ball with the head while having a concussion of the brain.
I also sculpted a little tree (and hope it's not too thin) that I want to fill with glass. I mentioned this idea in class two weeks ago and obviously it is liked as the first one was made last week, so it's time I try my idea myself!

In The Woods Again

I like to take walks in the woods to relax, to avoid people and to pick mushrooms. There's one forest I know really well. I know my special places where to look for chanterelles and never be disappointed. So I was quite unhappy some days ago when I came to "my" forest and found it massacred like this.

One of my best places for chanterelles seems to be completely destroyed, the ground poached up and covered in fragments of felled trees. It's such a sad sight! I read on Wikipedia that among other factors encroachments like this let chanterelles decline.

That day I also found a feather of a jaybird.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Green Bowl

Finally some pictures of finished items! This is my first homemade piece.

I like it very much, but somehow I'm not really satisfied with my choice of glaze. Usually I love this green, but to me it feels too dark for this bowl. Too many details are lost compared to the unfired and unglazed state. Maybe I try something like this again and glaze it just transparent so it would have the ivory tone of the clay. What do you think?

Sea Urchins

Many, many beautiful sea urchin shells from the Croatian seashore. The fabulous Juliane collected them in her holidays and gave them to me.
I'm in wonder!

This one still has what I think must have been its mouth or maybe the opposite.

An inside view.

She even brought along some that still have their spines.

The spines are attached to joints.

Some broken sea urchins.

Sea shells with iridescent mother of pearl inside.

She also gave me heaps of wonderful big broken and quite smelly snail shells that look like they're a thousand years old. I haven't taken pictures of these yet.

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Jule and Katja who dived for and collected these treasures!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Yesterday I didn't do much else than refining the edges of the clay leaves I cut out last week. I was terribly slow sanding and carving the outlines and just couldn't stop until I was pleased with the result and the swing of the lines looked quite alright and everything felt smooth to the touch. I guess it's not visible in the photo how much time I spent on this.

In the last couple of minutes of the class I made some glaze and glass tests and ran out of time to finish them. Today I'm feeling awful and I'm under the weather. The chilly cold makes all my bones ache and I feel like I need to sleep for a week. To cheer myself up here are pictures of my pottery in use.

My mother's birthday flowers in a vase I made.

Very yummy king boletes I found on the lawn behind the building I live in. All the other sorts of mushrooms growing there (There are also some really huge ones, but I don't know if they're edible.) have been run over by a lawnmower today. In my opinion these incredibly annoying machines are one of the most stupid inventions ever made. Why burn fuel and make such a horrible noise for hours just to cut some grass?

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Clay Leaves

Here's what I made last week at the pottery. (I know, I know, I'm behind posting pictures of my finished stuff, but I just couldn't find the time so far to sort my photos and my newest items still wait for their shooting.)

On my way to the studio I collected some leaves. I had to make do with the ones I found on the ground. All the big and perfect ones were out of reach. (Good for the trees!) As usual I had to ask for a helping hand to roll the clay and then I imprinted the leaves and cut them out, which is a very fiddly task. I've seen my fellow crafters make very pretty things this way, so I wanted to try this myself. The impression of the maple leaf should become a platter. That's why I let it dry in a mould.

Those clay leaves are really popular; just for themselves, as ornaments and pendants as well as on bowls and pots. Yesterday I went to a pottery market and saw them everywhere. Maybe they attract my attention because I just tried them myself.

Since our claymate Marion enjoys to make pottery so much she came round for a spell with two bottles of champagne and her husband to celebrate her 60th birthday with us. Isn't this just lovely? The glass of the bottles will surely be recycled in combination with our ceramics.

Monday, 8 September 2008

My First Glass Experiment

It cracked!
Still I think it looks great. I expected something like this to happen, as I used a lot of glass in a vessel of complicated shape, so I'm not surprised, although I hoped it might come out of the kiln in one piece. Glass is powerful!

Here's another major crack. I'll see what I can do with a bit of glue.

Nevertheless I'm very satisfied with the result and look forward to new attempts. It's so fascinating! I'm amazed by the crackle and the glow of the glass.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Glass and Glazing

In last week's class...

... I painted this bowl with manganese dioxide...

... glazed this one dark blue and wiped away the glaze, so it stays only in the carvings...

... glazed the lotus bowl greenish grey and added some clear and green shards of glass to some of the indentations...

... used the same colour to glaze the double rimmed little bowl (So far I only used it on dark clay.) and added some green glass to melt at the bottom.

Now they are ready for firing and I'm very curious how they'll turn out!
(Pictures of my first glass experiment are coming soon!)


I wanted to try and pinch a vase and had a slender design in mind. The thing I ended up with bears no resemblance to it, except it's a vase. I got carried away pinching and sculpting and finally piercing the clay and I'm amazed how alive it looks.

In the Woods

Some impressions...

These are lichens.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Against Cruelty

I have to catch up on blogging (and I finally took pictures of my finished pottery), but I'm not feeling very well, so it has to wait. For the moment here's a link for German readers of my blog to a perspicacious text by Roberto of ad sinistram (one of my favourite blogs) about the incessant and increasing defamation of the unemployed and poor as spongers and parasites. As I'm one of those people, that gets bullied by the inflammatory propaganda day by day, I can relate to every single word he writes and I can affirm that the propaganda works. It makes no difference that I'm in this situation because I'm disabled and ill. I'm accused of laziness since the first day. My rights are restricted and all these insults haunt me.