Friday, November 5, 2010

'Tis the sell, sell, sell!

Whew its been a busy couple of months! I've had my head down making work for the summer/festive season but at last I think I have enough stock for the markets and some for the shops too. I love doing the summer markets, its a great opportunity to meet lots of lovely people and get some direct feed back on my work, there's always a great atmosphere, great food and often great music too, and if the weather is fine all the better. Last weekend was the Mount Barker Waldorf School Spring Fair which was a great start to the season even though I managed to lose the beautiful bunting that I had made to attract people to my stall. This weekend its the Whitmore Square Artists Fair in Adelaide and at the beginning of December I'm doing the Art at the Hart 2 day Artists Fair and Celtica Festival at Port Adelaide with Ang and Rose, we're sharing a big stall and doing throwing demos too so I'm really looking forward to that, last year was a great success with beautiful weather and an added bonus of a perfect view of the dolphins frolicking in the Port river.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Erin challenged all the potters she knows to a 'throwathon' which meant we all had to throw as many pots as we could on one particular day, it was a great idea as it got everyone very motivated and boosted out Christmas stock nicely. I managed 70 pieces but came no where close to Erin who threw over 140! ( But I did run out of clay).

I have developed some new lines this year which are proving popular already so I've decided to concentrate on them next year (and not get to distracted by trying new things!), I'm going to set up a new website that features my new cups, then I'll link it to my other website ( so that customers have the option to purchase from either or combine items from both as a special gift.
The best piece of advice I've heard this year is that one should never say, " I hope to...' or 'plan to...' or 'try to...' do something but instead say 'I'm going to..' So now I'm going to get a glass of wine!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Unsprung and Under Water

The 1st of September is the first day of spring in Australia and I'm not quite sure why as pretty much everywhere else the change of season follows the equinox and therefore falls on the 21st. But it seems that nature knows best because it doesn't feel ready for spring just yet. The cherry blossoms have started to pop and the wattle is in frothy splendour but it just won't stop raining! I think we have broken some records for August this year, the wettest or coldest or both since... well, since the last time....and we will be grateful that the dams and tanks are full in a couple of months time when it is 40 degrees and we can't remember the last time it rained.
Meanwhile, in the studio, I have a new toy, after years of trying various print making methods with limited success and more recently having a frustrating time with detailed decoration aggravating my tendonitis I felt that I could finally justify the purchase of a Gocco machine (you can follow the link for a detailed explanation of the process) but basically this little orange box is allows me to create screen prints from any image that I draw, photograph or scan and creates endless possibilities for decoration. It has taken a bit of trial and error to work out what type of images work best and how many I can fit on a screen to be economical without compromising the images but I have some first results which I'm quite pleased with, here unfired...
....and one from the first kiln load
I'm really enjoying the retro look that these have so I'm looking forward to scanning some images from a 1950's collection of Australian Womens Weekly Magazines that I have been trying to find an application for for ages

Lastly, I just have to show off my new wombats, the photos aren't great but hopefully you can get the idea, when I put the eyes on they just made me smile, which is always a lovely surprise! I've just put some for sale in The Urban Cow and I'm hoping they will be as popular as the little birds...Bilbys next.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SALA on Sale

SALA Festivals annual art sale 'SALA on Sale' is on this weekend
Sunday 22nd August 10am - 4pm

Art for sale - street market - entertainment

at King William Road, Hyde Park, Adelaide

For one day only!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

GPS or Tea leaves?

New work for this month includes these 'pathway' mugs, I was thinking about how many decisions and choices we make every day, most we don't even notice, some make grocery shopping a nightmare but just as many are about the type of people we are, or think we are and where we want to go in life. I started to imagine having a morning cupppa that helped make some of those decisions for the day, perhaps I should make some for those smaller choices as well...cereal or or train...heels or flats...

I also finished those vases, these
2 worked well

...this one looks good from the outside, however inside is a different story, it's covered in what I can best describe as 'boils'! I must have not let the slip settle enough before I poured it, another hard lesson learned!

I've been making brooches for a long time but have recently though that I would develop some more jewelery designs, partly because it gives me access to different markets, I can sell more through places like Etsy as the postage costs are not as high as for pots, and of course there is always space in the kiln for small pieces so firing costs are minimal. These dragonfly brooches are the first step down that road and I have lots of ideas for pendants as well, so watch this space!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicken Teacup Disaster

Firstly here's a sneak peak at the work I'm entering in the South Australian Ceramics Award show which will be held at the Adelaide Central Gallery from the 2nd to 24th July. It showcases many of the fabulous talented South Australian ceramic artists we have here and will be judged this year by Gerry Wedd. This work is inspired by all the festivals and events we have here in Adelaide every March.

Otherwise its been a slow month in the studio, I've been suffering from that frustrating condition called Potters Elbow (sometimes mistakenly referred to as Tennis Elbow) I won't bore you with the details but it makes decorating very painful, as a result I have lots of work made but unfinished. I have however been working on some new forms including these vases...

...and as my little bird forms are proving very popular at the moment I've added little a wombat and bilby to my range of Australian fauna. I've made the moulds and have begun casting the wombat, I can't wait to start decorating them

I also managed to very carefully make some tea cups and put handles on them and they were all ready to be decorated when disaster struck...
one of our the chooks accidentally got locked in the studio overnight (and yes I was the person responsible for putting them away that night but it was dark and I didn't count my chickens). She must have put the radio on and had a little party in there because when I discovered her she had danced all over the freshly made cups!

I managed to rescue all but 5 of them and they're all safely in the kiln now which is firing up right now so I'll have lot of newly decorated forms next time!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Etsy and Old Birds

I've decided to give Etsy another go, and I'll probably try Madeit (an Australian verson) as well, my current marketing plan involves getting my work seen in as many places as possible (is this targeted or scattergun marketing?). I've also worked out how to add the Etsy widget to this blog!
We've recently put up a bird feeder on the deck and had lots of visits from Galahs, Lorikeets and Cockatoos, including this one who seems to have escaped from a home for very senior birds, poor old fella, at least he had a good feed whilst he was here.

... here's his younger and better looking friend.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mad March Review

Like everyone else it seems, I was inspired by ron pilbecks video on making lidded jars, full of enthusiasm I made half a dozen late one evening, but assigned to them my recycling bucket the next day, I hadn't made the indents when they were wet, doh! After watching the video again and giving myself more time the second batch were more successful throwing wise but because I was making circus tent shapes the tops were too tall to be inverted and trimmed, double doh! Nevertheless I managed to trim them and here they are with some coloured stripes.

I have been inspired by this shape, combined with thoughts about all the activity that happens here in Adelaide during March (Festival, Fringe, Womadelaide, Car races, horse races...) to make some taller versions and decorate them with imagery relating to the sights and sound of these events, if they work I'll enter them in the South Australian Ceramics Award show.

The Skatellites a Womadelaide 2010

I made up some new glazes to try with the plaster stamps that I made from the dessert dishes, this is my favourite, it needs to be a bit thicker but I'm happy with where its going, I'll also pinch the corners of these noodle bowls a little tighter so that the chopsticks can be rested on the inside.

What happened to those eggplant leaves? With a bit of copper wash and a little chintzy bug they have become these plates, perhaps for a fancy starter or sushi...the same with these fabric inlaid plates, I think the curled up edges provide a convenient place for thumbs, making them easier to hold in a buffet type situation perhaps..

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pumpkins and Trifle

After working with the chintz patterns I'm starting to see them everywhere, even my little mini pumpkins look like they might work well incorporated in some plate decoration. When I was photographing these I pinched a few leaves from the egg plant to roll onto some slabs, nothing new about this idea but I thought they might make nice little sushi plates, I'll use them to test some new coloured transparent glazes on them too.
I bought some glass dishes in an op shop last week to make some slump moulds from but then realised that I could use the cut surfaces to make plaster stamps. I think I'll use them on the sides of some thrown bowls this week, I'd better get on with those glaze test then...and maybe make a trifle?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gotta keep movin' on

Sometimes I think ceramics has a lot in common with depression, there are days of excitement, and anticipation, bursting with creativity and hope that are often followed by disapointment and bleak negativity and it seems that we are perpetually setting ourselves up for a fall....or maybe thats just me!! No, its ok, I love what I do and feel very lucky that I can work in my own space, with a material that, generally I can do anything with and can to express myself every day through work that I can sell, you can't get much better than that. But the downside of working alone is that just as there is often no one around to share the elation of successs, there is also no one to help disperse the feeling of disapointment when things don't turn out the way one had hoped. Its easy to think that you are the only person that this happens to, especially when we see such fantastic work on other peoples blogs and websites, but I know that this impression does not reflect reality and that behind the scenes we are all working very hard to realise in material form something that starts as a vague notion in our heads. Its a constant challenge and often a struggle but we all know that we love the successes and that failure is part of the process, and often we grow to love the 'failures' too!

So, to cut a very long story short, I'm glad I photographed those plates before they were fired because that was the last we saw of all that detailed brushwork, some of the colours burnt out, which I knew was likely but I'm going to rework a couple of them with some onglaze colours which will, I hope add some depth and to them.
Some, I'm happy with, black is always good but I'm also thinking that I need to use some better quality colours so I'll get some body stains and make up my own to suit the palette that I'm looking for.
I've just put this one in to a bisque and I've got some new shapes in there too.
ps can anyone tell me how to get photos in the right place within the text on blogger, it takes me ages to get them to move to where I want them?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bowls, Birds and Indian Princes - sorry - Chintzes

After a very busy Christmas and too many home renovation projects going on at the same time I'm back in the studio and I've got that new term feeling - thats the one you get when you have a brand new pencil case filled with sharp pencils, coloured felt tips and a couple of fruity erasers - not when you've forgotten everything you learned last term. Thankfully it comes with lots of new inspiration and surfaces to decorate. The surfaces are my slip cast birds along with some larger plates and bowls made on some slump moulds that I made a couple of weeks ago. I had a lovely workshop day at Rose's studio, Ang and I went up there to make the moulds and Rose made a 4 piece mould of a little plastic sumo figure. The decoration is inspired by my visit to the Chinoiserie exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria last year, I have always loved that style of rich, colourful, over the top decoration and don't need much encouragement to get my fine brushes out. I'm using Indian Chintz designs as a source, which at first I pretty much copied on to the plates but as I'm getting more involved I am realising that anything goes as long as it resembles a leaf or a flower and I can be a lot looser with the designs. I like to break up the surface a bit before the design goes on so I've used some wide brush strokes of slip as a background or dipped fabric into slip and laid it on the surface to create some interest. These photos are of the unfired work, I've put these up at this stage because they look good now but that could all change when they are glazed!