Last week’s bisque firing went well… now I just have to get everything glazed and back into the kiln. I’ll post some images once they’re finished.
It’s been another busy few days trying to get work ready for Potfest in the Pens, and this week I’ve been making large breakfast cups. I’m still getting used to the process of making larger quantities and trying to get some kind of uniformity. I enjoy the repetitive nature of the relatively straight forward elements, like pulling handles (see above). However I’m finding trying to throw twenty cups the same more of a challenge. I don’t want them to be identical as they would no longer be unique, but I do want them to sit well together in groups. This means that they not only have to be the same height and diameter but have the same thickness of lip; height of turned foot; and shape of handle.
The one thing I am learning is that I need to trust my instincts. For example: I felt that the clay I was using on Monday was too soft but I just kept on going regardless. As a result had a terrible morning of collapsed and wobbly pots and finished feeling totally demoralised. Later in the day I tried a different bag of clay with much better results. It’s times like these I have to remind myself that I’ve only been doing this for just over a year (with five months of no throwing) and that I can’t run before I can walk.
Hasn’t put me off yet though…
First firing in five months.
Keeping fingers crossed.
Now that I’ve started throwing again I’ve realised I’ve still not figured out a few things to do with the whole process of throwing pots in a home studio. It’s times like these I realise how much of a novice I still am…
Firstly, I’d like to ask people’s advice about clay traps and dirty water. I have no running water in the new studio, but a utility room close by. At the moment I have two large buckets outside for washing up my wheel tray and tools at the end of the day. The first bucket gets the worst of the muck off; with the second cleaning off any residue. My plan is to let the clay settle to the bottom of the buckets and, once there is too much, drain off the remaining semi-clean water and let the residue dry out. Is there a better system than this? I don’t have the money, or space, for a proper clay trap. Also what should I do with the dry remains? I can’t recycle it as it will contain a mixture of clay, pigment, glaze etc.
Second, is what to do with all my dirty aprons, towels, rags etc. For the time being I have been washing these in the machine but I know that this is not a good idea. What do you guys do? As I increase the amount I am making the amount of cleaning up increases too. I don’t want to block up my drains or damage my septic tank.
I welcome any thoughts you might have. Thank you.
After twenty weeks the builders have gone… There are still a few things to be sorted and acres of painting for us to complete, but the work they have done has revolutionised our home. My new studio is also here, only eight stressful weeks late. It too needs further painting inside and out, but today’s priority was to get throwing again.
It’s strange, I’ve been wanting this day to come for ages and the anticipation was more than I could stand at times. However, as the day neared I found myself preferring to think of all the other things I needed to do around the house, rather than making pots. I think I was worried that, after nearly five months, I wouldn’t be able to do it well any more. That, combined with the pressure of the studio being so late; my first show being only a few weeks away; and having no stock made me prefer to take the ostrich approach.
Well, today has been a good day with steady progress. After throwing thirty pots in my lovely new workspace I feel the rhythm returning.
This is it. I’ll post further images once it is properly finished.