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New Clays, Old Ways

December 17, 2015

I’ve been a super busy bee recently, but that’s no excuse for not making anything! Besides my “Day job” at a wonderful coffee house, I am also starting to run CLAYPLAY sessions at The Painting Pottery Cafe in Brighton! I demonstrate, teach and assist in Throwing and handbuilding techniques as well as guiding people through various ceramic projects they bring to the evening. check out the website for more info here;

I also had a show at the Candid Arts Trust space, in Islington, London, (The Islington Design and Craft Fair – IDCAF) where I was selling my work among other lovely crafts people. It was my first solo show since uni in terms of setting up and organising the stand as well as applying for the show itself. I had a great time and was quite happy with the look of the show, although I did pick up some tips for next time! Thanks to all who came to support me across the private view and weekend, it was great to see some familiar faces! And a super big Thank You to my parents for helping me to set up, pack down and for keeping me company and supplied with tea and biscuits! I also met a truly lovely couple who gave me some great advice and support over the weekend, who run an amazing knitted textile business (Check out JULES’ work here! )


As I don’t have access to my own studio at present, I have been making a few simple pieces at my new flat. I’ve found it quite therapeutic to just sit and spend a little free time making some pinch pot vessels. They are also a great way to test out how the new clays I’ve recently acquired perform and if they can mix well together.


I’ve been experimenting with three different clays here; Vulcan Black Grogged Stoneware (A kind present from my good ceramic friend Souzana!), Scarva’s Special Porcelain and Potclays Premium Craft Crank. All of these clays fire to Stoneware temps (1170 – 1300) so I have also tried combining the vulcan black and the porcelain, and they are a little difficult to combine as they are polar opposites! I like the combination of textured black and smooth pure white especially when hand building. When throwing them (after light wedging) the black tended to hide most of the white, whereas there was more control when making the pinch pots. After sanding them off a little, the colour’s really stand out against each other! In the photo’s none of the pieces are fired yet but I had a little test of the two clays thrown together, and the vulcan black fires as dark as its name suggests, with a nice grogged texture, and the porcelain adds splashes of crisp white.


I’m quite keen to test out a nice glaze or two over these different clays, but perhaps only on the interior, to allow the textures to be enjoyed more. I really love the celadon and dark blue stoneware glazes I was using earlier this year, which would be interesting to test out and hopefully develop some new glazes too!


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