Ceramics Workshop

21/04/2016 and 03/05/2016

I have started a 3/4 week workshop in ceramics. This workshop is lead by Sheffield potter Emilie Taylor, and I will be using and trialling various ceramic methods and clays including; Earthenware, slip, Stoneware, Porcelain and throwing.


Week 1 – 21/04/2016

This week, we used Earthenware to create a plate/dish. Earthenware is a form of clay, often used to make jugs, pots and plates as when slip and glaze is applied, it becomes impervious, so liquid won’t effect it. Earthenware is fired at 1000-1200 °, and will result in a solid, resistant outcome.

Below are some photos documenting my steps in creating my plate, I wanted to relate it to my current artwork, and so impressed a space/galactic/constellation design into the plate, relating it to my void paintings. I have used slip to create a background, and this will create various tones on the plate, contrasting to the colour of the clay.

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My plate now needs to be bisque fired to 1000°. I will then add further decoration by using coloured glazes, this will then be glazed fired to 1080-1200°, where the plate will then be finished.

We also trialled Throwing this week. This is the process most people associate with potting/ceramics and involves the use of a potters wheel. I don’t have any documentation of this but will upload a photo of the pot I threw. I believe we used porcelain clay for this, which is the brilliant white clay, often adorned with decorative blue drawings/patterns, it is fired 1050-1250°. I actually really enjoyed throwing, it’s a very difficult skill to grasp and I ended up spoiling 4 pots before I caught a grasp of the throwing skill, but I was determined to do it and I did. Throwing is a skill that needs to be mastered in order to achieve the results that are so often overlooked, below I have attached a video that is a similar technique we were taught today, but we made a pot/bowl on a smaller scale:

 

Week 2 – 03/05/2016

Stoneware

The second ceramics workshop was used to work with Stoneware. This is a clay that when fired at 1200-1300° turns into stone. This process creates a durable material and is often used to create jugs and pots. As I wanted to incorporate my practice into these ceramic workshops, I made a casket shaped box, since my practice surrounds my fear of death. Stoneware requires precision and measurement, as you make each individual side of what you’re making separately, and then mould them together. I was making a rectangular box, so required 6 pieces. I made the box first, which was tricky as you need to make sure all sides are sealed. After this I made the lid and added a lip so it would fit into the box and be secure. I then applied a cocoa coloured slip to the box to add colour, when dry I placed both pieces together, separated by newspaper. This needed to be done because as the clay dries, it shrinks, so in order for the lid to fit the box, they need to shrink with each other.

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At this point, I’m not too pleased with my piece. I think it looks good, but in hindsight I should have made a jug or vase, I feel as though I’ve wasted a chance to use the material for what it is for. My box will now be fired, and I will do a post when it is complete.

 

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