Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Autumn gold

It's been far too long since I've posted. The beautiful summer has faded to a distant memory replaced by stunning colours and an ever increasing urgency to batten down the hatches for the impending winter. Needless to say things have been busy here, with the new undergraduate and postgrad. cohorts bedding in well. Work is progressing towards my next firing. I now have a wood shed brimming with split Oak and Ash, and 16 pallets of pine slab wood covered and weatherproofed. Work is well underway on pieces for the  firing which is notionally set for January again, although I've not fixed a firm date yet as I want to have time to make enough work to fill the kiln tight. I'm also test firing some new glazes in our gas kiln, part of the body of work for this firing will be fully glazed. Below is a sneaky glimpse of some of the pieces.

As well as new pieces, mugs and bowls etc. I'll be re-firing some older box pieces to build up another layer of ash and flame markings, so all in all it's lining up to be an exciting firing. Applications are being prepared for next years shows and work wrapped and dispatched for pr-Christmas orders. I'll post up a few more work images soon. Cheers.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Preparations have started

It may still be a long way off until I fire next, but far away from that winter date; on a beautiful hot summer's day, I've just had the soft wood for the firing delivered and have stacked it close to the kiln. It's a good feeling, knowing that the kiln is all ready to go. :-))

Friday, 12 July 2013

Back from Hatfield

Last weekend I was down exhibiting at Art in Clay at Hatfield house. Excellent event and great to catch up with folk and spend some chilled evenings with friends.The weather was fantastic which made the whole event even better.

 The Stand at Art in Clay

Sunset over the campsite and show on Saturday night.

I'm off down to Stratford-Upon-Avon this Sunday to demonstrate as part of Warwickshire open studios with Claire Brierley http://www.claire-brierley.co.uk/. The weather looks fine and warm so should be a great day. Yesterday was spent collecting another van load of seasoned split ash for the next firing which is now neatly stacked in the wood store.

Hopefully the firing's soft wood should be arriving next week and then all I have to do is start making . Saving the best bit till last :-)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

I recently returned from this years Earth and Fire event at Rufford Country park. As usual there was some fantastic work on show and great to catch up with folk. The weather was a little better than the forecaster's had predicted although the wind had to show up (Something which I would normally embrace), and make all our nerves jangle for a couple of days. It's now preparation time for Art in clay at Hatfield House 5-6-7th July

Earth and fire stand looking a little wind swept

Home for the duration :-)

I few examples of the new work which I'll be showing at Art in Clay. Hopefully see you there.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Well, it's been 4 weeks since the firing in the Wysing kiln which went very well. We were lucky enough to have some fantastic dry and warm weather which made it even better, my last 3 firings its been rubbish, either pouring with rain or snowing.

It's been a bit chaotic here over the last few weeks as undergrads set up for degree shows and post grads for assessments, but I've finally managed to take and sort out a few images from the firing. 2 weeks ago I also took part in the Ceramics in Charnwood Ceramics market in Loughborough town centre which is in its 3rd year and is organised as part of craft and design month.

 This body of work was made specifically for this firing and are all lidded boxes. They range in size from around 65cm tall to about 30cm tall.

 I'll be exhibiting some of these at Earth and fire at Rufford Country park on the 21st to 23rd of June and at Art in Clay at Hatfield house on the 5th - 7th July.

 All pieces have been handbuilt using a course high iron crank body and then either a semi porcelain casting slip or a black engobe applied.

Here are a few images of the packing:

 A nice domestic scene of the night shift. Kitchen on the left and some comfy chairs.
 The first glimpse of the pack!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Firing next week!

All the new boxes are bisqued and ready to transport down to the Wysing Arts Centre kiln next Thursday. Looking forward to this firing. Lovely kiln site in the middle of the country side. We are extending the fire box slightly for this pack to get larger coaling area. I am not wadding these boxes in the conventional way but instead the feet will sit on squares of plaster board which works very well as wadding, this should give them a little more even support. We will be packing the kiln on Thurday and then firing from early Friday morning through till Sunday afternoon. If you're in the area pop in and say high.

Friday, 1 March 2013

This morning i'll mainly be splitting Oak!

I've already begun to plan for the next firing of the Loughborough anagama, hopefully late autumn. I've managed to find a supply of Oak offcuts from a chainsaw sculptor working locally, and collected the first load last week (probably enough for a firing!). The wood is green (which I'm thankful for as it is far easier to split that way), and in large pieces, so this morning it was out with the log splitter and made a start splitting and stacking it to dry in the wood shed. I'm getting another load on Tuesday so needed to make some space. The images below don't really give a good indication of how large some of the pieces are but it took a good couple of hours to produce the stack in the second image.



I've also started making work for the next firing of the Wysing anagama which I'm hoping to do in late May/early June. Having recently fired the Loughborough kiln and had a lot of work that I'm happy with from it, I've decided to make a new body of work specifically for the Wysing firing. They are all lidded boxes hopefully with the same flavour as my thrown work but all handbuilt. Some will be black and some white with whatever else the firing bestows. :-)

To give some indication of scale the tallest of these is about 75cm.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Grab the popcorn

A short film which documents the last firing.

(There is no sound associated with this film).

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Exciting opening!

We unpacked the kiln on Friday and what a day of revelations. I had peeked through the door late Wednesday and unbricked on Thursday removing some of the denser pack of mugs at the front of the kiln to save time. We knew that time was at a premium on Friday as Steve was coming from Norfolk and Lisa coming up from London and nobody wanted to get caught in the heavy snow which was forcast. There was a lot of great work which came out. The damper in the chimney had definitly worked with some great body colour. A little bit of oxidation at the front which we put down to the height above the fire box and plan to pack tight up to the edge of the fire box for the next firing as well as tumble stacking to side stoke on. We had a bit of melon skinning on some of the glazed and unglazed surfaces spread around the kiln and usually localised to one small part of a pot; on the same pot there could also be very fluid areas so more research needs to take place to try and determine at what stage of the firing this happens. I have my own theories. Below are some images of the unpacking.

and some of my work which came out :-))

I will be showing at Ceramics in Charnwood in May. Earth and Fire at Rufford Country Park in June and Art in Clay at Hatfield in July. But more about those closer to the time :-)

Monday, 21 January 2013

The waiting game begins

We finished the firing at around 1.30pm on Sunday with cone 15 tipping at the front and cone 12 at the back. We had been stoking cedar logs and pine through the front and pine slats through the side stoke for most of the night with the damper pushed quite far in and strong back pressure.

At about 4am the active damper was pulled out about 6", and the passive dampers put in. The undergrate air opened and Steve began quicker stoking as the coals burned down faster. At about 11am we sealed the back side stoke and concentrated on fast stoking through the front to bring the temperature up, still with good back pressure until about 1.30. We then sealed the undergrate air and lower stoke holes, pushed the damper right in and filled the firebox for the final time. As the flame started to recede in the chimney I capped it with a large kiln shelf. Job done!

 Many thanks go to all those who helped Steve and I with this firing:

Jim Gladwin
Carl Gray
Ed Penn
Lisa Hammond
Sarah  Villeneau
and my fab daughter Georgia for being patient while Daddy stoked the kiln.

Snow fell heavily last night and this morning I was treated to an ornithological treat with Fieldfares and Wax wings in the hedge visible through my office window.

Fingers crossed until the unpacking on Friday :-))

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Going into the 3rd night

It has been another good day today. Many thanks to Jim and Carl for doing a great job over last night and to Ed. one of our students for helping out side stoking for a good part of the day. The kiln has responded well and we now have cone 13 (1350 C) over at the front and cone 10 (1280 C) at the back. The chimney damper has now been closed a little to soak the kiln and increase the reduction for the first half of the night and will start to open it up again to push for the final temperature in the early hours with a view to finishing in the early afternoon tomorrow.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snowy firing day 2

The firing is going well, lit the kiln early yesterday morning and built the fire gently over the day.The damper which I built into the chimney is working great and giving much  more control over the reduction and we are reducing the kiln heavily. The front of the kiln is around 1260 now with the back in the mid 1100s still with 2 night and 2 days to go. It's been snowing pretty much since the kiln was lit but has been heavier today which makes stepping out from the kiln shed pretty refreshing

We are now going into the second night with Carl and Jim taking over the stoking, giving Steve and I the night off for an early start tomorrow. My van is now covered in snow so hoping this adds a bit more insulation for a good nights sleep. Slept pretty well last night in minus figure temperature with 3 duvets and a sleeping back. Think another beer may help.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Packed and ready to go!

The packing began late Thursday morning and as if by magic the temperature plunged. We finished the pack at about 8pm on Friday night with just a last few pieces to place this morning (Monday). The kiln is now fully packed. As we are having a gap between packing and firing I have put a small heater inside the kiln to keep the frost off and dry everything out. I'll keep this in until Wednesday morning and then brick up the door and put a gas burner in to continue the drying. I'll light the kiln first thing on Thursday and then its heads down untill probably mid Sunday. Forcast is looking cold but more importantly dry as there are few things worse than trying to cut 10 pallets of wood in the rain :-(

First stack of shelves

 Second layer behind the back side stoke grate.

Back and front middle sections packing good and tight around the arch.

The completed pack.

To top it off the snow started to fall, and there is more forcast over the next few days.

Unfortunatly the streaming will not be happening. However we are hoping that some parts of the firing may be filmed and uploaded at a later date. I'll update this blog as the firing progresses.