Monday, November 29, 2010


I have just sent off my 'Forever' piece of clay. What an interesting concept - I couldn't resist being part of it. Still not getting out to the pottery but it can wait - lots of glazing to be done.

I was inspired by the beautiful sculptural pieces from Burnt.Normal Church Pottery - mine are definitely not as free and expressive but they are family inspired and will eventually find their way to my special loved ones. I think I will have to do more when time permits but be a little less controlled and see where the clay takes me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

These words sang in my heart!

This beautiful post really touched a chord in my heart. Life is often busy and takes us away from our passions but even in stress it is still worth experiencing and we grow from these hiccups along the way. Euan Craig writes such wonderful posts and this one did sing in my heart. There are a lot of us who do like the simple, but incredible things life offers to us - I am hopeful more of us seek to take a step back and rethink our insatiable appetite on our fragile world.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chickens and a firing at last!

Our chickens are growing and are such a hit we have to make miniatures so this is the little flock sitting on the table. Sadly a few have hit the tiles and not survived. 'More clay' is the afternoon's catch phrase and these little bits of nothing are easy to make and not as breakable as the 'dines'.

Just a couple of things from this small kiln load - managed to unload and then head to the shops and had a few sales - paid for gas - so it was worth it. Tourist season is upon us but they are reluctant buyers as they have to traverse rough roads and worry about breakages and space - a premium when you come to these out of the way places.

I loved these low bowls. I have to think about what I sit on the bottom shelves as they never get the heatwork like the rest of the kiln so I usually use my Derek Smith glazes and throw a few extras to experiment. I will do a few more like this I think.

This was one of the favourite beakers (yunomi's - now I read a blog where a potter said he wasn't Japanese so didn't feel he had the right to call them this - so I think I will stick to calling them beakers as well!). I did intend to match a lot of the beakers from the last firing with these pressed plates but of course time was short I decided I just couldn't stand the time and effort thinking about glazing but this result proves that you should sometimes stick to what you originally planned. The pressed plates all ended up with bauxite and shino but they beautiful too. I will make more pressed plates now as I decided not to take the beakers down to sell because I think they deserve the accompanying plate. Now I need time to play in clay............

Friday, June 4, 2010


We have 20 of these fluffy little things much to someone's delight. Day old they endured a full day of plane travel to reach here and all survived and are growing rapidly. Is there pottery happening at this house......???

I will have to break from watching chickens and get outside and throw some glaze around - need another gas bottle and keep using that as an excuse as well - I do lots of procrastinating these days.......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lithium/bauxite disc and yunomi

This is the little glass disc I used on a previously glazed pressed plate and it produced beautiful swirls in a myriad of colours. I was hoping I could be the lazy potter and not have to crush them up but I now know it has to be used sparingly to produce a good result with other glazes. Didn't have enough time to do a line blend and I doubt it will happen before the next glaze but I think I will get some surprises. I did find out it eats shelves when it seeps through a cracked tray! That little tray in the previous post didn't quite like another firing!
A big part of my two days glazing was spent on these yunomis mixing the glazes with the shino in all sorts of thicknesses over the bauxite and mixed clay body. The two outer yunomis are from local clay, not sieved so there were iron particles which created interesting fractures. I haven't tried firing this clay as is before and didn't expect the wonderful results. I will be using this a lot more now and still in its natural state, impurities and all. One thing I will be more diligent with is compressing the bottoms as the right yunomi has a crack on its base and it does leak - testament to my throwing on the hump and not paying attention to its base.

This dilly is made with the unprocessed Weipa kaolin and an addition of potash. It threw beautifully and although a fairly white body the firing process certainly bought out the iron in the natural kaolin. I am still happy that I can use it and get a really thin form - I lost a couple of pieces just moving them around as they are very fragile in the dry state. The varying thickness of the clear glaze gives interesting responses from the clay.

I had a bit of a run with the pressed plates - an easy task while watching a little two year old paint and play in clay - means I can stop and run when I am called!!! and it requires little creative thinking. I think I perhaps could have been a bit more adventurous in my glazing of this little set - there are six of these - but they are growing on me the more I look at them. This size plate is prefect for a snack and ideal for the fridge - I have one in my cupboard and its use proves its versatility. We are rice wrap junkies and these are perfect for finger food and the accompanying sauce.
I am always tired after glazing and firing and marvel at all those wonderful woodfirers who labour through long nights of firing. I love the results of the fire and ash but wonder how long it must take to recover from those labour intensive hours spent stoking. The woodfire community seems to be growing worldwide and I am glad there is such appreciation for the work produced.

I have to neglect clay for a little while as we are getting chickens - they are spending a whole day flying to live in our remote climes so hope they survive the trip - we are assured they will be ok. At least our Winter nights only go down to 23C+ and the days are still hitting low 30's. Nona and Mum have to try their hand at converting a steel frame canopy into a snake proof chook house - we have lots of pythons around so I'm sure chickens would make a tasty morsel. The things we do for little ones.......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How well do we care for our environment???

We have achieved a place in the Top 10 rating - I wonder when we will wake up and start looking at our environment through different eyes.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I don't use glass with my pottery but I have access to a quantity which contains bauxite so would really like to use it in some of my pieces, especially the handbuilt trays. This one I threw into the bisque and I vaguely remember glass should only go to 800C so this was a little higher and the crazing is wonderful but it would not make the piece user friendly as I can feel the edges of the larger crazes. I am hoping someone out in blogger world or on the ceramics discussion list will be able to give me an idea of the firing temps and cooling to make the pieces useable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Glaze making to pass the time???

Had a busy day yesterday but I'm glad I managed to get all these buckets of glaze replenished while a bisque was happlily firing away. I hate, hate making glazes but once I start I quite get into the swing of it but wearing a mask makes it a hot job. I even decided I would make a couple of new ones up. I have never had a chun or good celadon so here's hoping they will turn out - testing in the next firing. I rarely sieve my glazes - don't think I'd make so many up if I had to face that the next day.
Here's proof my little shed needs replacing, its barely holding together and the chimney has really suffered in the past couple of months. We had light rain on and off and luckily I only had to divert water once away from the damper and that was in the earlier stages of the firing. I am glad the wet season is all but over as I wouldn't attempt firing with the leaking chimney. After such a long day the dog and I decided we would take a walk on the beach. I haven't been down to the actual beach in ages and have missed the sand and salt air. Midnight couldn't believe we were actually going down the hill to his favourite place and kept running doing his doggie checkout thing. A lone jabiru was out on the edge of the sandbar 'fishing' - that majestic loner seems to typify the peacefulness and solitude of the beach at dusk.

The paperbark are all in flower and the smell is sickly sweet but such an attraction to flying fox - we had a noisy night in the backyard with the continual squabbling over the blossums and tonight I can hear our night visitors back again.
A little someone was happy in this big sandpit planting his sticks and exploring with plenty of chatter about this new place.
We were all out here so I could film my shedbuilder (No. 2 son) practicing for the Finke Desert Race (the shed building has to wait until the wet and this event is over). I am definitely not a bike person but here I am perched on the back holding his huge camera being ferried slowly to a good vantage point. The little person in the pit crew loved all the noise and greeted our return to the car with clapping and a wide grin.
Unloading tomorrow so the week will be busy glazing and reloading but I have my one annoying burner to take off and clean - another job I try and avoid but I couldn't get it to light even at high pressure so it will have to be cleaned properly. This is what happens when months lapse between firings so it pays to keep the kiln functioning. I have a few pieces in a rich red clay and two pieces in the local porcelain so I hope they survived the bisque along with the most important pieces - the dinosaurs!!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

340 grams Exhibition

My two dilly made it to Gulgong in one piece for the 340 grams Exhibition and are sitting beside two delicate translucent bowls made by John Tuckwell. He certainly managed to use his 340 grams well as his bowls look as if they are paper thin and large in comparison to what I ended up producing. This is why I love the net - I can sit so far away from John yet enjoy his beautiful pieces and read another interesting blog.

Clay Energy would have been great to experience and I did want to get down there this year but now I will have to plan ahead and really make sure it happens in 2 years time. Hopefully there will be lots of images posted by all the visiting potters on blogs and facebook sites so those of us who couldn't make it can trawl our way through and enjoy the experience from afar.

Finally loaded my kiln today and maybe I will get those burners going tomorrow. There are a few dinosaurs and some other very strange pieces to excite one little potter. We were out there again today making a 'long neck' - it had a few modifications and little additions of kaolin so I'm not sure if it will survive the night!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pots and 'dines'

We are getting some late storms and the sunsets accompanying these downpours have been spectacular. A late afternoon drive to Rocky Point boat ramp caught some keen fishermen with a golden backdrop I just had to capture. In the few minutes it takes to get home round River Drive the light changed and the skies lit up with the most incredible pink hues.

I played a little with the camera in between trimming pots today- yes I am easily distracted but sometimes my eyes see things I just can't ignore. I was explaining to my favourite little person in the house how you can see through ice and then what did I see!!!
Finally the clay is forming - I hate recycling but it just had to be done. I throw in a little local red dirt and I get excited thinking about the results under glazes so it makes the task less tedious. I just hope I stay on this roll and keep the hands working but life often throws us the odd curved ball so who knows. I seem to spend a lot of time skipping from one pottery blog to another and not actually getting outside into the heat and pushing that clay about but I did catch the video on making seals and decided I might just do that in between recycling clay..... but as you can see there are things drying so I did manage to do a little bit of work yesterday and trimmed today.

A lot has changed in my life the last couple of years so I thought maybe a change in my mark making might also be due. The three little people who make me look at the world in a fun carefree way and remind me that family is all important have merged into my new mark and I like its look and what it means to me.
And here are two little hands having fun with clay - he loves 'dines' so we had our own little version of 'Ice Age' happening - now this is potting at its best.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pot, Pot, Pot!!!

"Pot, pot, pot" - my smallest fan just informed me when he came to check out what Nona was doing. The porcelain made from the raw kaolin and a little addition of potash feldspar is beautiful to throw but we shall see what happens in the drying and firing. I decided not to add silica as there is a lot in the raw kaolin and I ground a little extra retrieved from the sieving process just to see what it would do to the final body. There are still a lot of little iron speckles in the body and I really don't know if I want to eliminate these. Now I have to go and make more and this time I will let it age a little longer than a week.

I am surprised I could get anything done out there as we had a big downpour with lots of thunder so there were four dogs milling about me, tails flailing trying to vie for my attention. One form suffered an injury but it was still soft enough to fix.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

That local clay!

I should be throwing saleable items but instead I'm sieving clay - pretty basic sieving process! I did make things easier making a slurry and sieving through a small 60 mesh sieve so that might be a better throwing body - time will tell.
The dogs love the lemon grass - have to grow it outside the fence as they won't leave it alone if its within their boundary but where there's a will there's a way. That brown tail belongs to one of their next door friends - yes we now have a gate in the new fence between us so the two brown dogs can visit the two black dogs with ease and they, too, like the lemon grass, and they all love clay.....
I just had to show what these two little hands made. The small jug was to be a goblet but little fingers created the perfect pourer and the bowl was made with Nona's help - he loves to 'poh' as he says and today the red clay was the attraction. I can see lots more 'pohing' coming up.

Environmental influences surface so much in my work so I couldn't resist adding some images. I marvel at these beautiful jellyfish left high and dry with the tides with their dotted patterning and delicate edges and of course the sunsets are always full of the most incredible colours.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Summer Rain

The Cooktown Orchids are out again. Pennefather Beach north of Weipa will be a blaze of colour - the orchids are on the low shrubs beside the beach growing unnoticed until they flower.

Firing today - looked like a hot rainfree day but we are getting the odd shower just to make my life difficult with a leak down the chimney right above the damper. Not fun sitting there redirecting the flow but at least its only for a few minutes while the downpour lasts. Fingers crossed it doesn't get any worse later this afternoon - don't fancy the flames and water mix!
............well that didn't quite go according to plan - kiln is choking and I can't blame the burners so phone call to my helpful kiln man thousands of miles away and he, like me thinks maybe the flue has collapsed inside. 800C after 9 hours is not normal so its pointless wasting more gas until I can peer down that flue. He assures me its quite simple taking the back off so I am quite the fixit kiln-woman these days. Hopefully I can get it up and running and meet the Wednesday deadline for a local parting gift to make the removalists.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I hate cleaning burners......and I have two to pull apart and clean before I can get my glaze firing done. Was hoping the pressure would blow the rubbish out but it didn't happen so the bisque firing took longer then normal. Haven't fired since November so no wonder the rust etc has caused problems. At least its not all four I have to tackle so I shouldn't complain. I did complain though about the gas going up in price - so expensive up here - bought my last bottle in November and there was a price rise then and now its gone up again.

Have been sieving kaolin for my porcelain and putting the little bits of coloured kaolin and rock aside. I should have been cleaning but out came the mortar and pestle to grind it to fines so I can hopefully get a glaze. Kept some of the sand and ground it as well so perhaps I can have a play with it all and get some surprises - or disappointments.

I wonder will he sleep through tonight!!!