Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to make it much more than just a pitiful list of the relentlessly mundane minutiae of my daily existence but if you feel that I have failed try to imagine all the stuff that I haven't posted.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

That old un-conformist Hutton

Edinburgh can be seen as the birthplace of the science of Geology, where Hutton first published his controversial theories, challenging the orthodoxy that the Earth was only a few thousand years old. He was inspired by numerous geological features, but one of them can be seen in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, home to the extinct volcano Arthur's Seat.

Here a section of older sedimentary rock can be seen curling up into a massive vein of intruded basalt above it. It is called Hutton's Section, or Hutton's unconformity, after he persuaded the quarrymen at the time to work around it and leave it intact.
Behind this feature is Arthur's Seat - the basaltic plug from an ancient volcano. Using this rock as the base for the glaze and every other material, including the clay, I made this 'Edinburgh' pot.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Polar opposite

The 'polar' part of the title does actually refer to the siberian conditions of my workshop, where the glazes have solidified and my hands seem to have become a permanent shade of blue. I fired the big gas kiln on Friday and the gas bottles are STILL frozen. Not a very pleasant experience, despite the arctic beauty and excellent beer, but the firing was very good.
Along with various components for my display at CAL and further tests on some of my most stubbornly difficult materials, I had some samples for a Japanese restaurant that is being opened by a 3 michelin star chef in London. After months of grinding and crushing and coping with smallish amounts of unusual materials I went back to the porcelain to make functional pots again. these three are lidded containers for a particular starter. Apologies for the poor photo but I have to pack them now to go + haven't time to set up the photography equipment.
I have nearly everything for CAL (still can't quite believe it) and will post some images v. soon.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Into the white

Well, the firing I did in my gas kiln proved quite an ordeal - having to repeatedly swap gas bottles that were frozen to the ground as the temperature plummeted to minus 10C.....but, the next morning....aaaah isn't it beautiful.

This is a view along the canal, or 'lode', that gave the village its name. The white building is the mill. It was used to grind various things including coprolite that was exported as a fertilizer. it's one of the things I have been hunting for to use in a glaze, but so far without success.

Lovely as it is I hope it's all gone by my next firing on Friday!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

THIS is where crawling around on my hands an knees got me....

With Ceramic Art London coming up in three weeks 2012 is proving just as busy as last year. Still making and preparing all the bits and pieces that I will need for my display. Pint in hand with good reason to celebrate, I have finally had some success with my local materials. Just a quick snap but here it is...

This little beauty is made entirely from materials collected near my home village of Lode. The 'clay' is very dark and high in iron, but incredibly stands up to glaze melt temperature. It is a glacial deposit rather than the fen clays, which all melt at stoneware temps. The glaze is developed along the lines of the early Chinese glazes, which later gave rise to the famous celadons. It is of relatively simple composition but still involves much crushing, grinding and sieving.
Also, the site at which I have collected samples of various fen clays, courtesy of the Cambridge University Archaeology Dept. has become a major discovery. Finds include Bronze Age swords and various boats. Images can be seen here.