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Monday, 27 April 2009

Coloured clay! Results are in!

I must confess, I've had these results for some time now, but just hadn't gotten around to posting them!

As you may recall from previous posts, I went ahead and added three concentrations (2, 5 and 10%) of stain to my semi-porcelain body to see what results I would get...

Here is the lilac, which I don't think really looks lilac at all...

The green which I thought was best from the two I tested:

I thought this green was a bit too mint gum looking!

Here is the blue. Oh, the different finishes on each bowl were two differnt glazes on either side with coloured clay exposed in the middle, which honestly is my favourite part on all of them! No glaze, no hassle!

Shame that I like the mandarin so much, as 100grams is THREE TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE than the other stains. Damn!

Out of all the tests, I settled on these particular shades for each colour to make up my pastel pallet.

Now that I have tried adding stain to this clay, I am very intrigued and excited to explore this further. However, looking at the price of the stains, I now realise my my instructor never wanted us to go near them!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Round Two: Piggy Banks with stained clay and glazes

Well - my first go at using coloured clay in an actual item finally came and went . It was so exciting getting the coloured piggy banks out of the kiln! As I made them, the percentages of stain in each clay body didn't really look like much but once fired with a clear glaze over them - they looked fab!

What was really upsetting about the entire exercise was the costing of the pigs with stains inclusive! After punching through my numbers, pigs with NO stain cost 3/4 less to make than those with stains!

As Joe and I had already agreed a per pig price prior to use of stains, my profit margin shrunk by a third when I added them in! No good for me!

Luckily, the results of some glaze tests with stains in them also came out of the kiln at the same time as the pigs! I had tested 2, 5, and 10% stain additions in two white base glazes. One didn't take the stains at all, but the other really reacted!

I tested green, a pink, blue and yellow - here are the results! I LIKE!

When examining the costs of adding these to the glaze instead of the clay, it worked out to be a far cheaper alternative! Joe ended up liking the results as well, so to save costs we decided to go forward with the coloured glazes.

The only thing left to do now is see how my new ceramic transfers with Joe's company's logo that I ordered from Ceramic Digital will look on top of coloured backgrounds!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Visit to Lacock Village and Pottery

Over Easter Weekend, Joe and I planned a trip to Bristol, hitting various National Trust sites (click here to see my blog about the cool properties we have visited) along the way.

We rolled up in one village arguing that it sounded vaguely familiar but not sure why.

Lacock, voted the prettiest village in England at some point (or so Joe told me!).

Then it dawned on us - we had been here before with my Grandparents when they were visiting around Easter last year! Before, our visit was on a very unforgiving day weather-wise and we had collapsed into a fabulously warm, welcoming pub all toasted up with roaring fire and drool inducing homemade dishes. It was dark and rainy that day, but I remember seeing a pottery sign which upon further inspection, revealed a quite gallery space closed for that day.

So, little did we realise that the National Trust's Lacock Abbey was indeed in the same place as that fab pub and village we stumbled upon before.

This time, full daylight with cloud greeted us as we drove in, but the village was buzzing with littl-in's and parents on an early Easter Egg hunt through the streets and businesses in the village. And guess what, that pottery was open!

Take a look at this grand and beautiful property! Believe it or not, it is David McDowell's pottery, gallery cum bed and breakfast all in one!

As we stepped into the gallery space, David was walking up the back steps from his pottery to greet us visitors. After introducing myself, he graciously offered to show us around!

David was so busy, but spent over an hour showing us around and making us feel so welcome. We found out that over 20 years ago, he had to apply to the National Trust to live in this building, taking it over from the previous dweller, Robert Fournier (yeah, the man who wrote that awesome Pottery Dictionary that I love)!!!! Most of it was is in shambles and he restored it during every bit of limited free time that he had while running pottery classes to make the dosh! (Forgive me if I got this wrong David!!)

The location is superb, across from this amazing church, just at the end of the village road.

His kiln building out back was derelict when he moved in and it now houses a handmade massive gas kiln and quite an impressively organized wall system of props and shelves (the envy of any potter really!).

The icing on the cake for me was his big ole pottery in the lower ground of the house (under the gallery which the steps lead up to in the photo below) and all the fab pottery scattered around his B&B. He has Wally Keeler, John Maltby, and many others all just hanging out together on shelves - cool, eh?!
Here's Joe, David and the rhubarb!

He showed us around the house and then asked if we wanted to come to his allotment to pick up fresh rubarb and rocket for dinner that night. Well, if the set-up wasn't making me drool already, come on - how much more idyllic can this get!

It can! The allotment happened to be at the end of a path winding around the church beyond a lovely stone wall and locked wooden door. And check out that rubarb! My Aunt Rose would be so envious!

Needless to say, I had effectively died and gone to heaven in that afternoon. I had found my utopia....Joe was a little giddy too, although not convinced about my sudden desire to be a B&B owner...

I just cannot thank David enough for being so great to us! His pots, rhubarb and B&B are all fab!

Anyone interested in staying, here is his website. Well worth the visit! Lacock itself is pretty much smack between Bristol and London, close to Bath and very lovely countryside.

Did we even make it to the Abbey - nah, but who cares! What an afternoon!