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A Visit to Southwold

I had the pleasure of popping along to the Buckenham Galleries in Southwold, Suffolk yesterday to drop off some new work for their summer show.
It's always enjoyable and I had a nice chat about art with  curator/owner  Graham. I've been lucky to have work with them for over 10 years now. So a celebration of sorts!
Recent posts

Pottering in Cornwall - the Leach Pottery

A recent holiday trip  to  St Ives - meant I could at last visit the Leach Pottery. This was  25 years after I had first tried visiting as a student when it was closed. I think it was just after Leach's wife, Janet, had died, so I remember feeling really disappointed.  To finally get there after so long, since my halycon  student days, was somewhat of an emotional experience. Leach is not someone who has particularly influenced my style of work, I guess I pitch somewhere within  mid century- modernism, (I was always a Rie- Coper  fan back at Uni)- but you cannot deny he is a giant of pottery- with a tremendous legacy.

A few years back I developed some problems with high blood pressure and it caused me to pause and reflect and  re evaluate my own work. You tend to work within a specific narrow field, to shut out "other" stuff- perhaps I was a bit arrogant, stubborn even - but I was prone to dismiss the grand- father of British Studio Pottery as just "old brown pots!…

Some recent firings

It's taken me some time to get my act together and start doing some new raku firings. I've had to overcome one or two problems regarding smoke- from a neighbour who was concerned. It's one of the issues with raku or smoke firing I guess- especially living in North Essex, which is getting increasingly built up.

To this end, I sunk two post reduction bins into the ground, so that they might be lidded, and double sealed on top by a larger dustbin- to which I have grafted on a tall metal funnel. I was concerned this might add to the "draw" in the reduction bin and cause a burn out- but this fear proved unfounded. Apart from the usual initial burst of smoke before sealing- the ongoing post reduction smoke is piped - well - up up and away from the neighbours direction. I would say it's cut down on about 75 percent of the smoke. Of course I now put out the second hand wood shavings out  with water- rather than letting them smoulder away. I think this was a big fact…

Early days with volcanic and crater glaze part 2....

I glazed a couple of volcanic/crater glaze tapered bowls recently. They almost "half" work- but I'm still not convinced I've got it right- although it's promising. I layered combinations of glaze but I'm having a slight problem with the thick layers of silicon carbide glaze crawling. Sticky fingers maybe?

Lots more to come over the next few months, probably with the next recipe- Pinnel Strontium Crater- with a variety of glaze stain additions . It's a pretty reliable recipe so fingers crossed.

Experimenting with sodium silicate textures and bronze glaze

Over winter I've been testing out the sodium silicate technique, which yields a typical cracked looking textural surface. It's fun to play around with. I've ended up with an absolute stash of bowl forms- loosely inspired by ceramics from the Iron Age- Belgic period, after visiting various collections in Essex and Suffolk museums.

I'm still figuring out exactly how to finish these pieces glaze wise- I've opted for a rough texture on these ones with a manganese wash over porcelain slip applied at the making stage. Interiors are poured over with a thin coating of Stephen Murfitt's bronze glaze recipe. I've used a blue turquoise glaze to highlight the rims. Do they work ? I guess they're the best yet and I managed to sell all three of these to a collector from Hastings- which is a nice start for this range. So yes - another nice change to Raku- and we'll see how it progresses with time.