Sunday, 15 February 2015

January 2015

bit late but it has been a busy busy January...

I have started giving pottery classes, so there was a lot to organise. On top of that lots of throwing which I am pleased with. Learning new shapes and keeping the production of Tythegston Pottery going on...
My first plates  and few more to come.... more than expected

Then I moved to bowls

Oooopppsss...missing something....Mugs... all those mugs and handles. My arm was too painful after pulling all those handles and I forgot to take photos....

Could not miss a firing....we managed to squeeze few more...

Ready for a glazing firing

Some of my own throwing

Study for olive dish

January's colours at Tythegston.....

Snow storm

Found it while cutting wood

Thursday, 5 February 2015

January - Hitting the ground running

It's been a busy start to the year in the Helen Beard studio!

As well as completing a couple of commissions, we have been planning and preparing for two shows that Helen is exhibiting at in April, Ceramic Art London and the Chelsea Art fair. It's been really fun and useful to be involved in this process from the beginning of the idea through the making of the work to the planning of the exhibition stand. Helen is making great progress and the throwing is nearly complete - soon the decorating will begin!

I have also been planning and making a collection, one to photograph for applications to this year's shows. It is the first time that I have planned specific pieces to sit together as a coherent group for something like this and I have found it very satisfying and inspiring. See pictures below.

I have been working on making bigger and bigger pieces and while I'm nowhere near Helen's biggest pieces I'm quite happy with my progress. I have also developed a little obsession with tiny little pots so I've made quite a lot of those too! I'm working on developing my decorating style and for the moment I'm working on hand-painted patterns inspired by textiles. I have focused on a monochrome blue and white colour palette while I develop the designs, but I want to start introducing more varied colour soon. I am also interested in trying some different glazes.

This year we've started experimenting with a new porcelain which has opened my eyes to the benefits and problems of different clays.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a research trip to Maison et Objet in Paris which was a fantastic experience. It was a HUGE show but it was fantastic to see the range of excellent work on show.

February is looking to be just as busy - more planning and making for Helen's shows and I have a commission (from my mum!) to make some cups and I need to work on defining extending my range so that I'm ready in case I get into any of the shows I'm applying to!

More news soon!

Sunday, 1 February 2015


January has been a funny month because a few of us have been home for Christmas, so people have started back at different times. We have had a big order for Seasalt, so this month we have
made a lot of mugs and statement pieces.

I have helped with the brushed slipped mugs, which involves dipping the mug in slip, then brushing the slip whilst it is still slightly wet. My job was to clean the bottoms and sponge the edges of the handles to prevent cracking of the slip.

We have also had a video made for St Ives Tv, which is an online
source for local information and films of events. Alban Roinard
was the film maker and he did a really good job of representing the processes involved.

I have spent a lot of time working on my own pieces recently, as I am preparing for Hatfield and for my showcase in the shop at the Leach Pottery, which will be the start of June, just before I finish.

I have made oven dishes, bowls, mugs and decorative platters.

This weekend I glazed a lot of my pots, so I will soon be doing a glaze firing, which is always exciting!

Niklas Preukschat - January

So folks, January is over now which means it’s time for a first review.

shed for storing clay AND dogs. Perfect

As I mentioned earlier that month we were planning to go ahead with some outdoor reorganization. So we started with building a clay shed, which did go well due to mostly dry weather in the first couple of weeks. Having the shed built, we were able to move our pallets of clay out of their plastic covers into the dry. 

That left us just a perfect place for realising our idea of a compost toilet. And after tidying up a few pallets of kiln props and covering the ground with some proper gravel, we finally moved the toilet to its destination.
Our - litteraly - public toilet (not finished yet)

That was the point when some changes in the weather condition reached us.

So the project had to be paused and we followed the call of the workshops’ warmth. It was time to make some pots.

It can't be too long
And some pots we’ve made indeed, I can tell you. Everything started with a big, coiled dish which has been build in a mould made of sand. Though it looks more like a sandbox. However, under instruction of Nic I assisted him in making the coils he needed. So he showed me his way of doing it. A technique he’s also using for throwing large jars. Very impressive and after a short while I managed to roll some nice coils.
That is now two weeks ago and the dish is still drying.

After the dish was finished, Nic moved onto his wheel and I had a go with making some slabs for his slab bottles. On the basis of the smaller bottles Nic showed me how to join the slabs together. I have worked with slabs before but only on lower temperature. So by firing the clay on such a high temperature (around 1360°) and such a long time (4-5 days) the clay is much more likely to crack. So I had to be really, really cautious about how to join them. I hope they'll survive the firing…

And in-between the workshop adventure I managed to start taking down a small anagama type kiln which served well as a charcoal production facility but had to come down to make space for a new kiln, coming in spring.

after (still a bit messy)


And I fixed a hole in the arch of Nics’ kiln effected by half a brick which fell down during the last firing. I had to cut a hole into the 3” thick insulation to get the other half out and to fill the hole with some castable.


And I made loads of pots for myself in the afternoons, working on my skills and the shapes. But more on that next time.


Well, you see it’s been a busy but exciting month...