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Visual Research and some sneaky Lustres

February 12, 2015

Some pieces from my visual Research session, mainly focussing on using the forms of my urns as inspiration…

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A few weeks ago I borrowed some gold lustre from my wonderful friend Alison, and was experimenting with it on top of some of my pieces. I put some of them back onto the wheel to get some nice thin lines, which I think has worked well. The three photo’s below are before the final firing (They are painted on top of the glaze then fired to around 750 degrees).

The pieces before the lustre is fired on (At about 750 degrees)

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I’m really pleased with how they have turned out, although they are not as bright as I intended – I may need a slightly thicker layer next time. I really love the gold over the deep blue barium glaze and I think I will be using a little lustre on some of the final barium pieces.

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I also made some small pendant shapes, as I may make some small jewellery pieces to accompany an urn or two. Last year a few people said they like the idea of me making memorial or remembrance jewellery, and I love the idea of them relating back to the urns, but being a wearable, comforting reminder of a loved one, but one that is subtle and beautiful.

Like my urns, I intend to make beautiful tributes, but pieces that are not so obviously urns – they will be a reminder but not an obtrusive, painful one. An essence of a missed friend or family member.

I did a resist Raku firing recently too, so I will be putting up images of those pieces soon too.

I also had a really great group tutorial session with Matthew Raw (A member of Studio Manifold, check the group out here; and Matthew’s work here; ) He was really helpful and surprisingly told most of us we need to get out of the studio, look at what’s out there in our field, and research deeply what we are interested in so we can bring it into the studio and into our work. Investigate, discover and find out and record why were are making the choices about our work that we are. So more research and trips planned for the next few weeks!

Dream-catchers and Amethyst Blankets

February 4, 2015

As a little break from uni work, I made a dream catcher last week! I was trimming one of my big vessels and the circlet I cut off makes for a nice frame instead of the traditional willow branch. I’ve made a dream-catcher once before, but I was only about seven, so I probably had a lot of help! You can see my first dream-catcher in the photo of my room (Below) from when I moved into my first house at uni – Its moved with me everywhere!

My first year room at uni - with my old dream-catcher.

My first year room at uni – with my old dream-catcher.








I started following a howto guide online, but then just started to make it up as  I went along, and the middle somehow became a star shape! I’m pretty pleased with it and I hope I’ll be able to replicate it! Unfortunately SOMEONE accidentally broke it before I could photograph it properly, but I managed to wedge the broken piece back in. I’m planning on neatening up the hanging threads and maybe adding to it too.


















I have also been knitting a massive, what started of as a scarfy throw thing, and now is pretty much a blanket, when I first got to uni. I’m not a slow knitter per say, its just that I forget about it for ages then pick it up when I feel like relaxing and having a little knit. My nanna taught me to knit when I was younger; she is a diamond lady and an amazing knitter.

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As you can see it is pretty big! Its made of Alpaca wool and it is super thick and snuggly! The colour is beautiful, sort of heather/ amythest purple and blue.










Experimental dual urns and the private view!

January 27, 2015

So I’ve had a pretty busy week; developing new forms and ideas, testing out new glazes and the private view for the show at Gallery 31 in Brighton! This is the first show in the new gallery space in the centre of the North Laines, and it was quite a new experience for me – getting the work framed and ready to hang, delivering it to the gallery and organising the drinks!

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There were two other artists, one of them being my Dad! (You can see his gorgeous wood block prints here; ) and the other was Ben Musitano (See him here; It was a great first little show and thanks for everyone who came down to support us! The work is all for sale so pop down and see it and get in touch if you are interested! It is open for the next two months, at 31 North Road, Brighton.


I’ve also been working on dual urns – I am throwing a single bottle form, and then slicing it in half and adding a slab on the back of each. They are from the same piece, the same structure. they are one; yet they become a piece by themselves. They complement each other perfectly. During the drying process. the neck and rim slightly curves away which I really love. I really like the new barium blue glaze as well, which I’ve been developing based on the Mexican colour Azul Anil, which is a deep matt blue thought to ward off evil spirits (lots of mexican homes use this colour, as well as the home of the famous artist Frida Kahlo). I am going to be making these much bigger soon, and will be experimenting more with the finish and the glazes!

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New (Bigger) Pots….and my first upcoming show!

January 15, 2015

So recently I’ve been trying to throw and make bigger pieces for my urns project. I’m making single and dual urns, and they need to be pretty big as a typical single urn holds around 3500 cubic cm!

I have been working up towards throwing bigger, but for now I have been making them in sections and then adding them together once they are leather hard. Here are the latest pieces…


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I am really pleased with the outcomes and the forms that are coming through so far, and I if I keep working on my throwing and finishing skills, I’m sure I can produce some beautiful BIG urns soon!

I’m also still working on the forms and the surface patterns and here are two smaller ones that I’ve been experimenting with this week! The taller one i hope to test out in a naked Raku in a few weeks!















I have also been asked to have some of my work in a small show in a new Gallery in Brighton! The private view is only next weekend, on the 24th January! So not long to prepare but it will be an exciting opportunity to show some of my work. I will have a few of my scatter urns, some colourful test tiles and some hanging paper works too, so please feel free to come and see it! Here is a link to the event page on Facebook or contact me for more details. Photos from the show to follow!

Work in Motion

January 2, 2015

So far on this project, I have been behind (as usual) with uploading it. This is a new year and so I am hoping to get a bit better at keeping up to date.

I’ve been mostly experimenting with throwing bottle forms and trying to throw on a larger scale, in multiple sections to begin with.


ready for firing














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Small thrown bottles in various sprayed earthenware blues.

















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This piece was coiled with a thrown top attached and incised with cobalt and clear earthenware glaze. It was then smoke fired. This piece was a test to see if I like the effect of the glaze and smoke firing. It needs a bit more work as it looks clunky, but I am going to be throwing these pieces soon, rather than handbuilding, which I find a bit tricky and time consuming to get right.


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This piece was thrown in two pieces with a lid. It was spray glazed and then smoke fired and I am much happier with the way the glaze and the smoke effects have blended together. This form still needs a little refinement and needs to be much bigger, but I want to work on making beautiful forms that complement domestic spaces.


Backdated! – Last years creativity

November 16, 2014

I have been quiet for far too long. So much has been happening that I’ve gotten so far behind, so this post is just a blitz of last years happenings so I can get back on track! Here’s a short(ish) list of what I’ve been up to for the past year…


Schmuck Jewellery Fair, Bratwurst and beer, Art previews, Dachau Concentration camp, and my first Tequilla shot…





Pinacoteka Moderne

Augustine Pilsner Brewery

My urns at Dachau

Tequilla Bar




smoked jewellery at Schmuck



Moving rings at Schmuck














The work of Eric Gill and Dunstan Pruden, Antique lace, London underground signs and holding a LUCY RIE pot!!

Ditchling museum


Kim Elwood Brooch

Ceramics at Farnham

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Smoke firing, Raku firing, ash glazes, enamelling, Decal making and a ton of glaze experimentation

Earthenware Glaze Tests

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Test tiles for this year















THE annual event for Design and Craft, Punch, Fancy dress, music and decorating the ceramics department – Superstitions theme

Sou and I

Adi, Stefano and I

Even lecturers party - Gareth












My Book - Urns







Setting up the show, private view, the whole years work in 3 metres of space
My studio space at uni


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Urns – each for a different culture or tradition.

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From the Beginning… The Mexican Inspired Urn Series

April 5, 2014

For the past two years or so I have been creating work around the theme of death. I think death should not be something we fear, but we should celebrate the beauty of someone’s time here on earth, to help cope with their leaving. Dia de los Muertos is now a famous Mexican holiday celebrated all over the world, with sugar skulls and bright coloured clothing, and for Mexicans, it is a time to honour their ancestors.

Early earthenware glaze tests, inspired by the colours of Mexico.

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I was inspired by the patterns and imagery on Mexican fabrics. They are so bright and cheerful, and to me they are the perfect embodiment of life, happiness and celebration.

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These are some very early test pieces. I threw some in two parts then attached them together, another one I slabbed in two parts. These are just tests, and so they were useful to try out some ideas and experiment with glazes, but ultimately I wasn’t happy with the forms or the glaze quality; they looked too messy. I also wanted to incorporate more a.pattern over the top of the glaze, so  I wanted to tone down the background, but keep the strength of colour.

I decided to use the spray gun to glaze them. I threw two of them, but in one piece to test out the spray glazing; I had to thin down the glazes so they would spray better. I also developed colour palettes – by choosing only 5 or so colours for each piece, I could then add more pattern without it looking over the top or making it too difficult to look at.

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Rachel Lemon Finished Mexican urns


Throwing bowls

February 20, 2014

A side project of mine this academic year, is to improve my throwing skills. I find bowls to be a perfect starting point for me when throwing, as they are so versatile. All shapes can be functional, from dip pots to carrot stick holders, medium soup bowls to big pasta bowls, all different proportions are useful and beautiful.  Bowls are also a great surface for decoration and glazes testing; whilst a test tile is convenient at a glance, the curved face of a bowl can offer a greater insight as to how a glaze will perform on the round. Here are a few of my thrown bowls, and yes, commissions welcome!

All bowls are thrown in either Modelling clay or Crank (Raku bowls) Earthenware and Raku glazes.

All bowls are thrown in either Modelling clay or Crank (Raku bowls) Earthenware, stoneware and Raku glazes.

Some are turned, but most are just cut from the wheel and fettled. The extra one here is a smoke fired bowl with a tin glaze on the inside!

Some are turned, but most are just cut from the wheel and fettled. The extra one here is a smoke fired bowl with a tin glaze on the inside!

Too Long…

February 10, 2014

I’m deep in third year work now, but that’s no excuse for not keeping up to date! I’ve decided to continue with the themes I was working with last year, with death and celebration being the main focus of my endeavours. I have been super busy, with making incredible amounts of glaze tests – from ash glazes to raku and smoke firings, to earthenware and tin glazes. Below is my presentation statement, so you can get a feel for my ideas…

“Death is something we are often faced with in our lives, and it is one of the most challenging and difficult experiences we have to endure. However, through the pain and sadness, beauty and relief can still be found.

Clay is the perfect material for exploring these concepts; it has warmth, beauty and comfort. Clay has a memory and malleability; it remembers its past, which enriches its future.By exploring these material properties, and how people would like to be remembered or treated in death, I have created a collection of cremation urns designed for a single person to be scattered by many people, in different places.

The way in which the urns are finished reflects different inspirations; how other cultures respond to death, what the ashes can be used for, how the body itself goes through the same process through cremation, as a pot does in a kiln firing, and my own personal response to the notion of my passing.”

Back-tracking and lots of images and posts soon to follow!

hand decalled plate


April 21, 2013

Following on from making Canopic Jars, I decided to make urns. As I was only close to my Grandfather who has died, I thought He would be the best person to make an urn for. I decided to make a drop out (One piece) mold in plaster, so I could make a few variations on it, using different designs and colours. I wanted a basic round shape for the urn, so I turned a form out on the plaster lathe.

plaster lathe plaster lathe

After making the form, I made a mold from it, and dried it out in the drying cabinet. Then I used semi-porcelain casting slip to make my first cast. I kept my first cast for decorating with coloured glazes later. For my next piece I mixed up some of the casting slip with coloured body stains to paint into the mold, so that when I then cast with the ordinary white casting slip, the outside would have a layer of colour on it. Its much more cost effective to colour slip this way as body stains are quite expensive.

painted mold carved writing

aeroplane urn















I used aeroplane stencils that I hand cut in paper to make a pattern, and then painted over than with a blue casting slip – so that it would have white aeroplanes on a sky blue background. Then around the rim I carved the words I wanted to use and filled them with cobalt oxide, which I then scrapped back with a metal kidney when it was dry. I really like this way of mark making as it is quite sharp and detailed.

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I used the same technique of painting into the mold before casting on another urn, but this time using some abstract patterns I had been working on – I wanted them to be colourful and happy and so that anyone could use them as they are not person specific.



Colourful UrnsThe left urn is decorated using coloured casting slips which I mixed myself, and which were painted directly into the mold, and just has a transparent earthenware glaze applied after the bisque firing.

The right urn, was my first cast, so I bisque fired it plain, and used my own glazes to decorate it in a similar style.


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For my final urn, I decided to use more imagery relating to my Grandad, and my memories of him. I always remember him giving me the first chocolate from his birthday cake when I was a child, as well as him being an avid photographer. He would drive us on days out in his ford. I remember watching Tom and Jerry on TV with him as it was both our favourite cartoon.  The two hands are very important to me as when I was six, I was holding his hand as he died, at home in his armchair. I am always glad I was with him when he passed and that he wasn’t alone. I used stencils painted inside the mold to get the basic outlines of the pictures, and then hand scored and painted oxides into the detailed parts. I then used oxides and my coloured casting slips to add the other colours and details.

The shape of the urn with no bottom and a hole in the top, is so that the ashes are placed inside the vessel, and the ends plugged with raw, unfired clay, so that when it is buried somewhere, they will return to the earth, the decorated ring a sign of who was there. The more decorated urns could be tributes placed on the grave, and a simpler version could be buried.