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Friday 30 November 2012

His wish was granted.

Hello everyone. It was a cold day. We had heavy frost this morning. Winter is with us. I shampooed Topaz at lunch time, and forgot to have a lunch, About two o'clock, I started feeling hungry and wondered why. Suddenly it occurred to me that I skipped a lunch!

I have worked on this head for several evenings. Yesterday evening I made a body for him, but he didn't like it. I tried to coax him by putting a bow on the head, adding eyebrows, removing eyebrows, adding them again, adding hair, removing hair and giving him a paper crown. But he just flatly refused it. So his wish was granted. I made another head for the body today. (I took photos of it, but they are all blurred so I will show you it next time.)  What did he get, then? This sac.      

Paper crown

Thursday 29 November 2012

Pear tart, missing painting and blue 'white slip'

Hello everyone. Last night we let Pearl sleep on the landing. I ended up tucking her twice and got woken by her sleep barking once. In the afternoon, we shampooed her and washed her bedding, we let her sleep above a hot pipe on the landing so she wouldn't catch a cold. Today she went back to the lounge next to Topaz. We hope we can have a good nights sleep tonight.

Yesterday Mike took the afternoon off, and baked another pear tart. He bakes twice a week. It is so delicious that we finish it over a couple of days. It's not good for our waist lines. But who cares. : )

Mike's delicious pear tart
 From six to nine yesterday evening we did a peer critique. In the room I found these. They are amusing.

Did the painting go for a walk?

Very blue eye

And this rabbit is not amusing. I painted slip from a container labeled as ' White vitreous slip' in the studio. Look at this!
Very Blue white slip...
I can only guess that white slip was not white. It is rather blue 'white slip'. Aghhh. Making rocks, but the rest of ceramics (glazing, firing and all) really sucks!  I might try to paint underglaze on top. It can't make it worse, I suppose. Tears.


Tuesday 27 November 2012

Ready for the second firing!

Hello everyone  I have been in the studio this evening. I did some glazing. Lots of people say they don't like glazing. I have to agree. Glazing too often disappoints me. I used to anticipate a beautiful finish on my pieces. But not now. It is almost my routine to fire my work a couple of times. I add more and more as I each time.

This is the rabbit I showed you the other day. As I had expected, the oxides got burnt out. This time I added underglaze and rutile oxide. I feel this won't be the last firing.
He is ready for the second firing. 
On Tuesday evenings, I often share the studio with the third year undergraduates. I like looking at their work. They often give me inspiration. This is Lenka Bellova's work. She is going to put the deer head on her large urn. How wonderful! I am looking forwards to seeing the finished article!

A deer head by Lenka Bellova


Sunday 25 November 2012

Into the woods.

Hello everyone. I had a relaxing day today. I took a day off from ceramics, and walked in the woods, and listed my work on Etsy. Listing used to be somewhat stressful, but now I can just do it with BGM.

I wanted to see the beech tree that I saw last weekend. I also wanted to feel the air and the smell in the woods. I chose Mike and Topaz as companions again. He was worried that the woods would be very muddy after last night's rain. But off we went.

Rare blue sky in England in November
 We went about noon. We hoped that there would be fewer people, so we could park. We were right.

Coppiced area
 I love this silvery tree barks.

This beech tree is large. It is bigger than it looks. So to get a scale, I asked Mike to stand nearby. He decided to hug it. Three men would be able to hold the tree.
An old beech tree, a man and his dog
 What makes my heart trill is a fallen rotten tree like this.

I couldn't find the path we took last week, so I couldn't see the beech tree. This oak tree looked to me pointing the direction I should take. But we became hungry, so we walked back towards the direction we thought we parked.
Oak tree is expanding its arm

You must go between the 'U'.
Topaz couldn't find any squirrels today. They were having naps after lunch, I guess. She is a good dog. She runs around, but she will come back to check on us when she hears my command. She also understands another command, which means I am changing directions, so she will come back.
'I ran a lot today'
This particular tree looks like a somebody's house. Look, there is a little chimney on top of it. I remember those houses where Peter Pan and children live in Neverland.

Who lives here?
 The public side of woods has evergreen trees, too.

Blean woods
 We came out of the woods near the parking area. It was full by then, and the path to the entrance was muddy.
Mike and Topaz
We much prefer to walking in a private land. It is so quiet and we meet nobody else.

Friday 23 November 2012

My new whippet and the rabbit matching mayonnaise containers

Hello everyone. One of the new whippets was completed. It is larger than any of the previous whippets I have sold. This time, I used milk white glaze. It is white with a hint of warmth. It reminds me of white marble. What do you think?

Milky white whippet
Milky white matt glaze whippet

In the meantime, 'Waiting for the next BANG' got some oxide treatment. I added more oxide on him before sending him for firing. Usually I have to refire the figures with oxide finish due to most of oxide being burnt. So this is just the beginning.  He, sort of, matches the containers in the background, which makes me laugh!

A student told me that she likes the abstract way oxides were painted on him. Although I explained her that a large amount of oxides would be burnt out during the firing, I feel I should paint one of my figures with bold underglaze colours. I have Japanese calligraphy brushes with me, so I could make strong strokes with them.      

'Waiting for the next BANG!'

Monday 19 November 2012

Double act

Hello everyone. Here are photos of Double act taken this morning. The head and body are not attached; I just placed the head gently on the body.
Putin head  
First, Putin head just appeared. Then I had to think a lot while I made the rest. I tried to make a cat head at the back, to start with. I thought about Russian girl band, Pussy Riot; three girls were arrested after a protest against Putin at a cathedral.
Serpent side
But clay had a different idea. It became lion, and then this serpent with a small horn. The body came naturally, as if it had been all planned before i knew I was going to make it.

As you can see the head part is stoneware white and the body is grey. I am going to reduction fire the body part. So It's a bit of anarchy. I guess it would be most suitable for this double headed monster.

Sunday 18 November 2012

The body, the Blean woods and a pear tart.

Hello everyone. How was your weekend? I went to the studio yesterday; I spent four and a half hours washing glazing tools and sieving glazes I made three weeks ago. Today I made a body for the head I made earlier in the week.
The body for Putin head
I am experimenting three things with this. First, I made a body from a slab. It is a common way to make ceramic figures, although I prefer pinching. But I think I will use slabs more often. Second, I will fire the body and the head separately, and will attach them afterwards. This idea came from Charlene' blog, Clay & Persimmons, which is not only beautiful, but also informative. I love the tempo of her blog. It reminds me of an old Japanese tea room where the time flows at a different speed from the outside. Until I read it in her blog, I hadn't even considered the option of firing body parts separately. Third, I am using different types of clay for the body (grey) and the head (E/S40), as well as different firing (oxidation and reduction) for them. I hope they will dry nicely without any cracks.

I had been longing for walking in the woods, for a while. There are a lovely woods near here, just 3-4 minutes by car, but because either it was raining or I had a class, I could not manage it until today. I chose Topaz, the loyal pooch, and Mike as walking companions; Pearl got lost several times, so we won't risk it again.
The Blean woods

I am definitely a woods person rather than a beach person. I get so much inspiration in the woods. I like walking alone, or with a dog. That is the moment all magic appears. The Blean woods are large. I used to walk with Topaz for two hours without being seen by anybody. I taught her a special sound for changing direction. So I don't have to talk and be recognised by other walkers. What fun to walk like that!

The Blean woods
This beech tree called me. I walked past it despite the call because it was a bit away from the path, but I had to go back to it. The call was too strong to resist.
Beech tree

Close-up, Beech tree
Topaz had a good run.

The Blean woods
Mike baked a lovely pear tart. Mike was given delicious Comice pears at work. It is one of my favourites. It uses creme fraiche, eggs among other things. It was so moreish, that we ate most of it!


Thursday 15 November 2012

Autumn walk

Hello everyone. Mike and I went to our favorite restaurant Michael Caines at ABode for my birthday dinner this evening. They have a very nice atmosphere and very good service. It is so nice to be welcomed back. The main course was an ordinary amount, but my desert, panna cotta was so much. I loved it so I ate it all. I feel as if my seams are bursting. There were double layers; panna cotta on raspberry mousse. I think I had an enough dose of double cream for the rest of the year.  

Here are more photos of yesterday's walk. These are refreshing and good for digestion. : )
Silver birch

 Mike has also taken photos this afternoon. He found a beautiful Japanese acer on campus.

Japanese acer
In the meantime, I was decorating the monkey with underglaze. I am going to dip him into a slip-glaze and a glaze, so I covered the decorated part. I hope it works!

Protection; ' Awww, I can't breathe!' 

Wednesday 14 November 2012

It's my birthday, but lots of Pearl's pictures!

Hello everyone. Price Charles and I share the same birthday, not the year, mind you. We both also studied social anthropology. I wish HRH the best birthday.

These gifts are from Mike. He delighted me by waking me up with a pretty card this morning. Thank you, Mike.  

My birthday, today. 
We usually go out on the birthdays, but alas, I have a class to go to this evening. We had to postpone going out. Mike took an afternoon off. so, we took Pearl to a long walk this afternoon. (Topaz went to the post office with me yesterday).

Above the walking path
Because I was taking the photo above the path, Pearl also looked up. Of course, she was looking for a squirrel.

Where is the squirrel?
 She is fully alert. I could tell from those ears!

Look at my big ears!
One foot up. 
 Here is the photo of three shadows. Daddy, mummy and Pearl!
 Where is the squirrel? 

How beautiful the trees are! The late fox used to come from this way. I wish there were Narnia beyond this lamp post.  
Orange and copper coloured leaves in the late afternoon sun


Monday 12 November 2012

A whole day of whippets.

Hello everyone. How was your Monday? Mine was as productive as any Monday could be. I made six whippets today. I was fulfilling an order, but carried on making more.  It takes one to two hours to make one whippet. So literally I have spent a whole day and evening carving these beautiful dogs out of the clay lump. It was so absorbing that time flew.

Far right is a puppy.

We are all whippets!
When I went to feed our parrots, Beaper was inside his feeder ring with his head down and the tail up. It was very funny. When I fetched the camera, he stood upside. He looks apprehensive in this photos. He doesn't like the lens. But after this snap, I praised him. He became more relaxed and started doing all sorts of dance. I hope I could take better shots to share with you next time.    

Musical Beaper

Sunday 11 November 2012

A face looks like Putin, a bit.

Hello everyone. We had a sunny day today, but the air was definitely of late autumn. Our Pumpkin is still in a sad stage. She can't find the reason to live during moulting. We tried to give her all sorts of goodies, but she doesn't show any interest in them. We don't know how to cheer up our girl.

Today I did some tidy up, and watched half-heatedly a rugby match on TV. In the evening, I made a strange face. I call it a face, not a mask because I think I will make its body.It reminds me of Putin. The eyes will be blueish grey.

A face similar to Putin!
The sagger I made the other day is getting drier. I beat it more while it was soft, so it has a straighter wall now. Its lid is a simple slab.  I will take it in for firing this week, and hope to do some sagger firing soon.