Thursday, 26 March 2015

February and March - Tamsin and Helen

It's late March already! The last couple of months have been super busy and exciting here in the Helen Beard studio.

Preparations for the Chelsea Art Fair and Ceramic Art London are well underway. Helen has reached the decorating stage of the process so all of her blank forms are turning into beautiful stories! I'm helping out by doing a bit of glazing and loading and unloading the kiln etc.

Another major part of the preparations is all of the planning for the stand display, marketing materials and general logistics of a show like Ceramic Art London. This is particularly useful for me because my big news is that I got into Ceramic Art York in September! So in a few months I'll be doing all this planning for myself!

My work has been mostly focused on making mugs both for my mum and for Adopt A Potter. My mum's mugs are safely delivered and the Adopt-A-Potter ones are almost ready...

I've also been making little espresso cups which are a bit fiddly but very sweet when finished!

Once they're finished my next project is lidded jars!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Simona February

February at Tythegston Pottery

We decided to take a day off in February and create something useful for a Shimpo wheel.. Well, it was not really a day off but this is what we made...

"Crab" top for Shimpo wheel
It is all another story working on the Shimpo with this improvement. Well, if you like it one for yourself, please contact us through Joanna's web site (link below):

Then more plates to throw...

The new table is amazing!!!! I can find the tools that I need straight away and it is much more comfortable and I have much more space!!! I love my new table. Thanks to Joanna who had such a brilliant idea!!!

Done a lots of more throwing and worked on my own project as well.. Few oven dishes created with a new technique (new for me).

Not fired yet!! I have used a different clay as well. I really like it and I am thinking to use it to create some of my own production. It is a white stoneware with porcelain.

We also done about three firing, so keeping busy busy. I have booked few markets in Wales to sell my own ware. As well as carry on doing my classes on Wednesday evening.

In February, we also had a new entry at Tythegston Pottery, Isa a student from Cardiff University, who is coming to help us once a week.

Monday, 9 March 2015

                   We had another Seasalt order to complete this month, with the month being shorter and some members of staff being away it was more of a challenge. The order was slightly smaller.
We visited the new Seasalt store in St Ives, which was good to see all of our work in a local shop.

 I made some different shapes this month,
including honey jars. They were good fun
to throw and the type of lid was something
I have never tried before. It was a bit more simple
and saved time.

The finished pieces were successful, they have now
been shipped off to a gallery.

I have also thrown some larger jugs. Pulling the handles was more of a challenge, as they were so much bigger. But I got better as they went on and became more confident.
We had a lot of glaze firings in order to finish the pieces.

I have spent a lot more time working on my own pieces this month. I have fired 2 glaze kilns, which were successful and I have made a lot of new pieces.

 Here are a few pieces from my most recent firing, including some lizard mugs, an oven dish and a carved platter.

I have also had some feedback from glaze tests, some of which were successful and I plan to use them in my next firing.

I spent some time updating my website with
images of new pieces, and also preparing for Hatfield in various ways, including ordering price stickers etc.

feel free to take a look :D

Monday, 2 March 2015

Niklas Preukschat - February

February is over and I must say that it was very much characterized by getting everything ready for March. Winter lies in the past and the last couple of weeks gave us a glimpse of the action that’s waiting for us this spring. There will be two firings going on within a week and not long after that a bunch of German students are coming to stay with us for a month making pots, building and firing a kiln.

scallopshellflowers enjoying the sunshine

So what happened in February?

Well, first at all we were desperate to do some wood work otherwise we wouldn’t have dry, seasoned fire wood for when it’s needed. And trunks were waiting all winter long to get sawn, splitted and stacked… We certainly didn’t want to let them wait any longer.

our secret glaze ingredient: rat poison (not!)

Then after having that finished, we moved back into the workshop. There were plenty of empty glaze buckets which needed some fresh filling and clay had to be mixed to keep the supply fluent.

The third week blessed us with proper sunshine and temperatures were jumping up into the blue sky, 
giving us the opportunity to continue with: the compost toilet. Though still not finished, we managed to build the main frame around the toilet before rain was coming in again. Getting that finished will be a priority next month. We surely don’t want to disappoint the German students…

ARRR, treasure!

Another job regarding to that course was to get the base ready for their kiln they’ll build. There was still the floor that needed to be straightened which also meant that I had to shift soil and stones around it. But by doing that I exposed loads of well needed whole fire bricks, buried and preserved in there for years! What a pleasant surprise that was. And so it happened that a more or less unspectacular job turned into an exciting archeological hunt for treasure!

And some of those bricks found a new home in Nics’ kiln straight away! Under instruction of Nic I built a tunnel system in the fire box, allowing air getting underneath the ember bed to get a better control of how it’s burning down.

 I also did a general cleaning up in and around the kilns as well as cleaning kiln furniture and getting everything ready for the packing next week.

And all that happened in between my throwing time! ;-)
I really enjoyed throwing small stuff in series and seeing how the process was improving over the time.
And I spent some time on mixing my own slips. Testing them in the next firings makes me feel even more excited about the firings!