Tuesday, February 24, 2009

American Teapot

Shira - one of last year's graduate students - sent me this sample of her current work; she's living and learning in the States,and it shows.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last One...

By Oded [2nd year],who was Gareth Mason's devoted assistant during the Symposium, as is apparent in this piece. The students showed us a good and varied selection of their work; the crit went well,though it is always a gruelling process [some 12 hours for 23 students over 2 days] - as usual on such emotionally-charged occasions,there were a few tears [and quite a few laughs].

See Anything You Fancy, Guv?

Round Two

The pink-spiked confection was made by a shy,quiet first-year student [they're the ones you need to watch].

Tel Hai Bikoret/Critique

Yes,it's that time of year again- the end of the first semester. Here's the first batch of students' work...

Friday, February 13, 2009


For a while I have had both the urge and the clay to make some flower-pots - the clay a gritty Spanish earthenware made for sculpture of which I bought 50kg,which turned out to be just enough to throw 8 big pots and to fill the kiln. The flower-pots I see in shops are either boring, concrete or imported,so I decided to make myself a few. With lead glazes out of fashion [and their replacements unimpressive],unglazed pots like these seem to me a legitimate use for earthenware clays. It's also a great way to practice throwing larger weights without needing to factor in glazes and high temperature firings.
Note in passing-a few days ago [Feb 9th] was this blog's 4th anniversary.Thank you all for your 18000 visits! Shabbat Shalom!

Three Golds

Sydney dug out a couple of tiny bottles of gold lustre [English spelling]- one with a ragged but distinctive Potclays label,dating it back to the days of Leumi Chemicals and Hamashbir,two ceramic suppliers that closed down a decade ago.The gold lustre itself is from Matthey,but there's only a smear left.It's the top one [see the M?]Gold lustre,as you can see,is tricky to photograph.
Next up is the house gold for quite a few years- Colorobia from Keramicon.It doesn't altogether thrill me [I think I've had better over the years] but I've got a lot left.Bottom picture is Sydney's bottle of Hanovia lustre [a respectable amount left]- nice and dense,but very coppery-coloured,whereas we want our gold to look like gold. Fired in the trusty test-kiln to some indeterminate temperature in the high 700's. Yes,we're back in the wonderful world of pyrometer issues again. I'll spare you the details.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

First Firing

At last- a glaze firing.It went reasonably well,but I lost sight of one of the cones at a critical period and consequently fired to cone 8 instead of cone 9,so everything came out a bit underfired [but still acceptable]. I have long believed that it's not so wonderful to have a good first firing of a kiln- you learn so much more when you encounter problems,and it's better to leave room for improvement in subsequent firings. This was a fairly classic example. As you can see,I made mainly bowls to fill up the kiln quickly,and used apprentice Goldie's beads as fillers.


It's nice to be greeted by the sun when I open the studio in the morning.The last few days have been foggy and wet- that's nice too.